Taking Care of Texas for Tomorrow
Dee Ann Littlefield
Temple, Texas, April 19, 2013 – Earth Day, April 22, is a day to appreciate and celebrate what the Earth provides us and what each of us can do to help sustain the planet’s resources for future generations. Just like homeowners in Dallas or Houston can make a difference through energy and water conservation, private landowners across Texas are also making a positive impact.
Over 150 million acres of Texas are privately owned. How private landowners use and protect their natural resources affects every Texan.
“When people think of farmers and ranchers, they think of the crops we eat or wear such as corn, cotton, or beef,” says Salvador Salinas, State Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “However, their contribution is much more: water for drinking, air for breathing, and wildlife for recreation. The ultimate fate of our quality of life – our ability to feed ourselves and the quality of our environment – is decided on private lands through resource conservation decisions that are made every day.”
The NRCS, in partnership with soil and water conservation districts, local, state, and federal agencies, as well as community based organizations to achieve environmental benefits on the land. Born out of the Dust Bowl, the NRCS has spent over 75 years developing one of the most advanced sources of local-based conservation experts who provide professional services across the Nation.
Through science-based technical assistance from the NRCS, Texas landowners currently have over 10 million acres voluntarily enrolled in NRCS conservation plans. Their ultimate goals are conserving natural resources, while providing products for our country. Over 60,000 landowners are currently participating in NRCS programs, installing conservation practices that benefit the land, the community and the Nation as a whole.
NRCS is also helping landowners be more efficient with their water use. Over the last four years, agriculture producers over the Ogallala Aquifer have annually saved enough water for 9.6 million people per year. Thanks to more efficient water pumping over the Ogallala Aquifer, over 18 million gallons of fuel are being saved annually, which is equivalent to taking 21,000 vehicles off the road. The reduced pumping has also greatly reduced NOx emissions, not to mention cost savings to producers.
NRCS is helping landowners be stewards of our resources today and for tomorrow.
More information on NRCS can be found at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov. For more information about the Earth Day initiative, visit: www.earthday.org.
Note: Photos of conservation work in Texas are available at http://nrcsphoto-gallery.smugmug.com/.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).
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