USDA-NRCS now accepting drought assistance applications

From the USDA-NRCS

The USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting drought assistance applications from farmers and ranchers impacted by ongoing drought conditions in 128 of Texas’ 254 counties.

NRCS in Texas is making funding available through the agency’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for qualified agricultural producers to assist in conservation practices that help to sustain the lands natural resources during drought or assist during recovery.

“Farmers and ranchers in Texas are no stranger to drought which is once again slowly creeping across the state,” said Salvador Salinas, NRCS state conservationist. “Across the entire state drought conditions range from abnormally dry to pockets of extreme drought. In an effort to assist landowners during these difficult conditions, we are offering additional funding opportunities through EQIP. I encourage producers in impacted counties to reach out to their local NRCS field office.”

The sign up deadline for agricultural producers in the 129 counties is August 30, 2018. Funding decisions will be made by September 6, 2018.

Eligible counties are: Archer, Armstrong, Bailey, Bandera, Baylor, Bell, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Bowie, Briscoe, Brown, Carson, Cass, Castro, Childress, Cochran, Coleman, Collin, Collingsworth, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crosby, Dallas, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Delta, Denton, Dickens, Dimmit, Donley, Eastland, Edwards, Ellis, Erath, Falls, Floyd, Foard, Franklin, Gaines, Garza, Gillespie, Glasscock, Gray, Gregg, Hale, Hall, Hamilton, Hardeman, Harrison, Hemphill, Hill, Hockley, Hood, Hopkins, Howard, Jack, Johnson, Kendall, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Kinney, Knox, Lamar, Lamb, Lampasas, LaSalle, Leon, Limestone, Lipscomb, Llano, Lubbock, Lynn, McCulloch, McLennan, Marion, Martin, Mason, Maverick, Menard, Midland, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Morris, Motley, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Real, Red River, Robertson, Runnels, Rusk, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Somervell, Stephens, Sterling, Sutton, Swisher, Tarrant, Terrell, Terry, Titus, Tom Green, Upshur, Uvalde, Val Verde, Webb, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Wise, Yoakum, Zapata and Zavala.

To learn more about NRCS and available financial and technical assistance visit www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov or visit your local USDA Service Center.

Filing continues for Nov. 6, 2018 HPWD Director election

Candidates for Precinct One, Precinct Two, and Precinct Five District Director of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) may file applications for a place on the general election ballot until 5 p.m., August 20, 2018.  The filing period began July 21.

An application for place on the ballot may be requested by contacting the HPWD office, 2930 Avenue Q, Lubbock, TX 79411-2499 during regular business hours.  The district office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
 
The Board will order a Nov. 6, 2018 election at their August 14 regular meeting. This allows residents in HPWD Precincts One, Two, and Five to choose a District Director to represent them in groundwater matters for the next four years.

Precinct One

District Directors’ Precinct One consists of the portion of Crosby County above the Caprock Escarpment and all of Lubbock and Lynn Counties.  Dan Seale of Lubbock is the incumbent District Director.

Precinct Two

District Directors’ Precinct Two consists of Cochran County, most of Hockley County, and all of Lamb County. Brad Heffington of Littlefield is the incumbent District Director.

Precinct Five

District Directors’ Precinct Five consists of the portion of Floyd County above the Caprock Escarpment and all of Hale and Swisher Counties. Ronnie Hopper of Petersburg is the incumbent District Director.
 
Additional election information is available at www.hpwd.org/election2018 or by calling the district office at (806) 762-0181.

AgriLife Extension offers water wise tips for turfgrass

COLLEGE STATION – Lawn owners may be second-guessing their regular maintenance practices, especially in the hottest and driest months.

Dr. Becky Grubbs, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service turfgrass specialist in College Station, has published a Water-Wise Checklist for Texas Home Lawns and Other Turfgrass Areas to help with lawn maintenance this summer.

“We know this is the time of year when Texans become particularly concerned about their lawns,” Grubbs said. “As our weather grows hotter and dryer, it’s increasingly important to find a balance with water use.”

She said many lawn owners tend to overwater, which is evidenced by runoff seen accumulating on neighborhood streets and sidewalks. This overwatering can lead to problems, but a few simple management changes can optimize water use and lawn health simultaneously.

Some of the points made on the checklist are:

– Mow at the upper end of the appropriate mowing height range for your species of grass. Taller grass equals deeper roots, which can improve overall infiltration and access to water deeper in the soil. For more information on appropriate mowing heights per grass species, visit the AggieTurf website at https://aggieturf.tamu.edu/.

– Follow the “1/3 Rule.” Mow frequently enough to never remove more than 1/3 of the total grass mowing height at one time. Scalped grass is stressed grass. Stressed grass will be less tolerant to heat and drought, and more vulnerable to other pests or fungal pathogens.

– Water deeply and infrequently. Try to water to a depth of about 6 inches each time you water. Watering this way encourages deeper, denser root growth. Again, this can improve infiltration and access to water deeper in the soil.

– Wait to water until visual wilt is occurring. Water late at night or early in the morning to reduce evaporative losses, improve water-use efficiency and reduce length of overall leaf wetness, which reduces disease potential.

– Use the “Cycle Soak Method.” Because sprinkler precipitation rates usually exceed soil infiltration rates, cycle soaking improves soil water infiltration and reduces runoff by “pulsing” water onto the lawn in small amounts over several hours.

The complete checklist is available at https://tinyurl.com/lawnturfwater.

Grubbs wants to remind homeowners not to panic.

“Grasses that are well-maintained the majority of the year will go into summer dormancy when drought becomes particularly severe,” she said. “It may lose color much like it does in winter dormancy, but it’s important to remember that when water becomes available again, the grass will recover.

“The trick is to give it everything it needs to grow a healthy, vigorous root system when those resources are available and appropriate.”

Grubbs said summer heat and drought stress can invite other issues as well, which are easy to misdiagnose. These issues are also discussed in more depth on the AggieTurf website under Publications.

Also, the local AgriLife Extension county agent can be contacted if a lawn owner is unsure about a problem, she said.

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