Farmers and ranchers have until March 15 to submit applications for the 2013 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). This program assists agricultural producers protect natural resources, such as water, wildlife habitat and soil. Applications can be picked up at the USDA office on Technology Parkway in Hollister. The Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency in USDA, will work with farmers and ranchers to develop conservation plans and EQIP contracts to conserve water, improve soil health, restore wildlife habitat and protect water quality. Applications will be ranked according to conservation benefits addressed in the conservation plan. Approximately one million dollars has been allocated for assistance to San Benito, Santa Clara, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz and San Mateo. For more information contact NRCS at (831)637-4360. More information is available at www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/