Growers’ incentive programs, funding will be reviewed
WESLACO–The Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board have scheduled a meeting April 25 to update agricultural producers on state and federal incentive programs, according to an official with the Texas Water Resources Institute.
The meeting will be held from 9-11 a.m. at the Harlingen Irrigation District pump house on Trevino Road, south of Military Highway 281 in Harlingen.
“The focus of this meeting is to give an overview of incentive programs and funding that is currently available for agricultural producers,” said Ashley Gregory, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service assistant in Weslaco. Gregory works with the partnership for the water institute.
“These programs provide financial assistance to agricultural producers to help them implement best management practices that mitigate water quality impacts from agricultural production,” she said.
Gregory said some of the programs that will be discussed are the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board’s Water Quality Management Plan Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Conservation Reserve Program.
The Arroyo Colorado runs through the center of the Lower Rio Grande Valley from Mission to Arroyo City and eventually flows out to the Lower Laguna Madre. It is the primary source of fresh water to the bay and is essential to its health, said Jaime Flores, the institute’s Arroyo Colorado watershed coordinator.
Erasmo Yarrito, the Rio Grande watermaster for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Harlingen, will give an update on the water situation in the area.
“The Valley is currently experiencing record drought,” Flores said. “Yarrito will discuss the status of water available to agricultural irrigation for the upcoming season.”
Flores said he will give an update on the implementation of the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Protection Plan and associated grants.
“There are more and more opportunities to improve the Rio Grande Valley every year,” Flores said. “These grants give us the opportunity to really make a difference.”
The partnership is administered by the institute in cooperation with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The institute, located in College Station, is part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.
For information on the partnership, go to http://arroyocolorado.org/ .