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Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.


Conservation Program Budgets Set For2006

Friday, December 23,2005                       By Shawn Wade

      The USDA Natural Resources ConservationService (NRCS) in Texas has announced the availability of $72.37 million 2006conservation program funds for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program(EQIP), the EQIP Ground and Surface Water Conservation Program (EQIP-GSWC), andthe Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP).

      Producers and landownersinterested in submitting applications for 2006 funding have until February 17,2006 to prepare and sign their applications.

      Following the end of thesign-up period all applications will be ranked based on a predeterminedcriteria set. An NRCS conservation planner will develop contracts andconservation plans for each successful application. Producers with approved2006 contracts can begin implementing the approved conservation practices inSpring 2006.

      For 2006, Texas fundingpriorities were developed with the assistance of local input, the NRCS StateTechnical Committee and Texas State Conservationist Dr. Larry Butler and hisstaff.

      The initial $72.37 millionallocated for Texas will be used to solve locally identified resource problemsin individual counties and will also fund special statewide resource concernsrecommended by the Texas State Technical Committee such as water quantity,water and air quality, wildlife habitat and control of invasive species.

      A breakdown of the initialallocation amounts shows $66 million is designated for priority addressedthrough the EQIP program. A total of $34 million will be used to provide countybase funding throughout the state and an additional $32 million will betargeted to specific needs conservation concerns including brush and invasivespecies management, irrigation water conservation, water and air qualityrelated animal feeding operations, water quality, assistance for limitedresource farmers and ranchers, reforestation and wildlife habitat.

      The EQIP-GSWC programreceived an initial 2006 allocation of $5.5 million. The EQIP-GSWC program isdedicated to water conservation measures in Texas counties that utilize theOgallala Aquifer.

      An additional $4.5 million infunds will supplement the EQIP-GSWC in Ogallala counties. Total funding forirrigation and water conservation in the Ogallala region of Texas will total$10 million in 2006.

      The WHIP program wasallocated $870,000 in 2006.

      Funds for EQIP, EQIP-GSWC andWHIP are authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill as tools to enhance voluntaryconservation activity on U.S. farms and ranches. The programs offer technicaland financial assistance to eligible participants to install or implementstructural or management practices on eligible land.

      Local NRCS field offices willhave complete details of individual county and state resource concerns.Additional information, including ranking criteria, eligible practices andcost-share rates for these and other NRCS Farm Bill programs is also availableon the Texas NRCS website at

      NRCS, through invitation oflocal soil and water conservation districts, is the federal government'sprincipal agency for providing technical and financial assistance to landownerson privately controlled land. NRCS also encourages voluntary efforts to protectsoil, water and wildlife on private lands.


2006 Texas Funding Allocations

Program/Resource Concern

FY 2006

Initial Funding



Water Quantity - Brush Management


Invasive Species


Water Quantity - Irrigation


Wildlife Habitat


Water Quality - South Central Texas


Water Conservation - Ogallala


Limited Resource Farmer or Rancher


Plant Condition - Reforestation


County Base (approx. $133,000 per County)


EQIP Total


EQIP-GSWC (Ogallala) Total


WHIP Total


2006 Funding Total







Extra Care With Module CoversProtects Cotton, Allows Gins To Provide Quality Service


      In the field, the 2005 crophas impressed many a West Texas traveler over the past few months. Now that themajority of this year's field activity is complete, the focus for crop watcherswill be tracking how quickly the tens of thousands of modules waiting to beprocessed move from field to gin yard.

      Module storage has been thestandard across the Texas High Plains for more than twenty years and does anoutstanding job of protecting cotton quality during what can be a lengthy waitfor ginning.

      Earlier this season, PlainsCotton Growers joined forces with the Texas Independent Ginners Association toremind producers how important the creation of uniform size modules was tokeeping ginning costs down and to increasing the efficiency of a gintransporting modules from the field.

      A critical component of awell-formed modules ability to provide a high level of protection is the moduletarp. Typically gins provide tarps for their producer customers and it is up tothe producer to make sure that each one is properly installed and ultimatelyreturned to the gin to be reused.

      As High Plains ginners pushpast the halfway point of the ginning season, keeping track of module tarps canbe a significant challenge.

      This year's frequent highwind events have multiplied this challenge even more. Growers are encouraged totake the time to ensure that module covers are properly installed and to adjustloose or improperly fitted covers. This will ensure that they are able toperform as designed and have a reduced risk of loss or damage during a highwind event or during transport from field to gin.

      Module covers are asignificant investment for gins and taking the time to make sure they areproperly installed can also keep ginning costs from being adversely impacted byreducing the number that have to be replaced because of loss or damage.