With the help of technical and financial assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Texas farmers and ranchers put conservation practices to work on 3.1 million acres in 2015. That’s the encouraging message NRCS State Conservationist Salvador Salinas delivered at the 2015 Texas Commodity Symposium at the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show last month.
NRCS State Conservationist Salvador Salinas presents the annual conservation update at the Texas Commodity Symposium in December 2015.
In the Texas Panhandle alone, private landowners signed conservation assistance contracts covering 700,750 acres. This includes 13,000 acres under Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative contracts, and 13 new conservation plans on 47,300 acres under the Working Lands for Wildlife program.
Addressing the symposium’s many agricultural producers, Salinas said, “It’s a testament to the good conservation work that you producers have done over the past several years that the population of the lesser prairie-chicken is growing.”
Aerial surveys of lesser prairie-chicken leks (breeding sites) conducted in the spring of 2015 showed an estimated 30% population increase since the previous year’s survey in the Mixed Grass Prairie Region of the northeast Panhandle of Texas, northwest Oklahoma and south central Kansas.
Salinas credited farmers, ranchers, and other partners for natural resources conservation implementation across the state. He explained how Farm Bill programs are the producer’s programs.
“To remain successful in our efforts to serve the farmers and ranchers of Texas, I continue to ask for your input to help NRCS tailor the conservation programs we administer to ensure we address all natural resource concerns for the state,” Salinas said.