So far this year, Texas has lost more than 256,000 acres and 147 structures, as well as livestock, to 511 wildfires.
Fortunately, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas is now making $400,000 available through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program to those who have suffered from the year’s wildfires to help them reestablish conservation practices on Texas rangeland.
NRCS provides technical help, and in some cases, financial assistance, to install measures that reduce post-fire damage and aid in the rehabilitation process, restoring plant health and preventing erosion.
For some, this will be the silver lining in that lingering black cloud of smoke. It will enable producers to rebuild fences, defer livestock grazing and bring stability to their operation. It will also help the land to heal.
Irion County Rancher Mike Elkins recently lost over 3,000 acres of rangeland and 19,000 feet of fence to a west Texas wildfire. The same fire engulfed more than 21,000 acres total and threatened the rural community of Barnhart.
“At one point the fire was clocked at moving 60 miles per hour,” Elkins said. “The work of over 40 volunteers helped save my livestock and home.”
When the smoke cleared, Elkins approached the local NRCS office for assistance getting his operation back on its feet.
“NRCS went to bat for [those of] us who lost a lot of fence and incurred a big expense.” Elkins notes.
“They worked quickly to get us funds and technical assistance; because of that effort I have already restored two pastures totaling 6,000 acres.”
Wildfires can wreak an incredible amount of destruction in very little time, but for farmers and ranchers, recovery time can be aided by the swift delivery of NRCS assistance.
Find out more about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
Check out more conservation stories on the USDA blog.
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