PREPARE YOUR PROPERTY FOR HURRICANE SEASON
The official start of hurricane season is this coming week, June 1 through November 30. As we have learned in recent years, powerful hurricanes can make their way inland and do considerable damage to forest and agricultural lands and enterprises. There is no way to fully prepare for major devastation in advance, but there are some strategies and steps you can take to prepare yourself and your land for a major storm and recover more smoothly. Get the tips in the Spring-Summer issue of the quarterly Florida Land Steward newsletter (direct link)
EMERGENCY FOREST RESTORATION PROGRAM DEADLINE FOR HURRICANE MICHAEL EXTENDED THROUGH OCTOBER 30, 2020
The USDA Florida Farm Service Agency State Committee has authorized an additional six-month extension to the April 30, 2020, Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) and Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) late filed period. This allows producers impacted by Hurricane Michael to apply for assistance under EFRP and/or ECP and be considered timely if application is made by the new deadline of October 30, 2020. Contact your local FSA office to set up an appointment. Find your local FSA office here.
State Block Grant Negotiations are Ongoing
Negotiations on the details of the federally authorized State Block Grant Program for Hurricane Michael timber losses are ongoing between the United States Department of Agriculture and the Florida Division of Emergency Management and Florida Forest Service. We will share the program details as soon as they are finalized. Florida Land Steward partners are planning a forest recovery webinar series when this assistance is available.
SIGNUP FOR CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM BY JUNE 1, 2020
The application deadline for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is June 1, 2020. Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service helps agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages adoption of new technologies and management techniques. While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by the deadline to ensure their applications are considered for 2020 funding. For additional information about CSP, contact your local USDA service center.
Florida Panther CSP: Ranchers in Southwest Florida are encouraged to apply for CSP so they can be paid to help the Florida panther. Apply by June 15. Contact District Conservationist Mitchell Aman at 863-674-5700 for more information.
CONSERVATIION ASSISTANCE FOR FLORIDA FARMERS AND RANCHERS IN 11 WEST FLORIDA COUNTIES
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications from agricultural producers until June 15, 2020 for a Regional Conservation Partnership Program project that improves climate resiliency. NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to eligible farmers and landowners toward conservation practices that improve natural resources in 11 Florida counties through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Producers in the following counties are encouraged to apply: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla, and Washington. The Climate Resiliency for Alabama, Florida and Georgia project in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint and Ochlockonee River Basins is led by the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District. The project area covers more than 15 million acres in eastern Alabama, western Georgia, and the Florida panhandle. For more information contact your local USDA service center
CONSERVATION ASSISTANCE FOR FOREST IMPROVEMENTS
Agricultural producers in Florida can apply for financial assistance until June 15 for a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project to improve forested lands from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers and landowners for conservation practices that improve forest ecosystems through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). For more information contact your local USDA service center. Contact Chakesha Harvey, 352-338-3425
ANNOUNCING STATE ACRES FOR WILDLIFE ENHANCEMNT (SAFE) INITIATIVE THROUGH USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY'S CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM (CRP)
State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement allows producers to install practices that benefit high priority State wildlife conservation objectives by using targeted restoration of vital habitat. This effort is based on locally developed conservation proposals that address highest priority wildlife objectives. SAFE proposals may be developed and put forth by a Federal, State, or local agency, or by a private organization. Ideally, all partners will develop proposals under a cooperative and collaborative agreement. For more details see this USDA fact sheet about the SAFE initiative. Submit proposals by June 19, 2020. Please direct questions to Amy Roller, Agriculture Program Specialist, Farm Service Agency, firstname.lastname@example.org, 352-379-4520.
TAX TIPS FOR FOREST LANDOWNERS FOR THE 2019 TAX YEAR
The extended tax filing deadline is July 15 . The Federal income tax laws contain forestry-specific provisions that are important for those managing and conserving timber. This publication provides forest owners, foresters, loggers, and timber businesses a guide to the applicable Federal income tax laws, including the latest tax law changes, for filing 2019 tax returns. The information is not intened to render legal or accounting advice and is current as of September 30, 2019. Access the 2019 timber tax tips and more related information at https://www.timbertax.org/
FUNDING AVAILABLE TO COVER CONSULTANT FOREST STEWARDSHIP MANAGEMENT PLAN PREPARATIONThe Florida Forest Service has received funding to help cover the costs for private natural resource consultants to write Forest Stewardship plans covering hurricane resiliency and/or longleaf pine management. Eligible Stewardship plans must include information and recommendations related to: forest resilience and recovery following hurricanes, forest and landowner preparedness for hurricanes, and/or resources available to assist private forest landowners following hurricanes and/or longleaf pine establishment, restoration, improvement, and management for landowners with longleaf stands or those who want to establish longleaf pine on appropriate sites.
Compensation rates and additional information are provided in the Forest Stewardship Program Consultant Plan Preparation Agreement available at: https://forms.freshfromflorida.com/11268.pdf. This form also serves as the application for reimbursement. All applications that meet requirements as described above will be considered in the order in which they are received. Please contact Jennifer Tucker-Jenks at Jennifer.Tucker-Jenks@FreshFromFlorida.com or your county forester for more information. Find your county forester at https://www.freshfromflorida.com/CountyForester
PRESCRIBED BURN ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FROM ATTACK-ONE FIRE MANAGEMENT SERVICES, TALL TIMBERS RESEARCH STATION, AND ALACHUA CONSERVATION TRUST
These organizations are available to meet onsite with landowners to discuss their goals and assist with prescribed burn prescription and implementation.
Attack-One Fire Management Services is grant-funded to assist landowners with current NRCS contracts with prescribed fire planning and implementation throughout Florida and Georgia. We can also assist landowners who have former NRCS contracts with prescribed fire consultation, planning and implementation with active Gopher Tortoise habitat present. For more information email Kevin Carter, email@example.com or John McGuire, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (850) 926-6534
Tall Timbers Research Station is now funded by a Longleaf Legacy Landscape project to provide fire consultation, planning, and implementation to private landowners in the Florida Panhandle from Pensacola to Lake City and in west Georgia as far north as the Chattahoochee Fall Line (Columbus, GA). Contact Jeremiah Cates, email@example.com, (850) 381-8707
Alachua Conservation Trust has a prescribed fire specialist available to assist private landowners with burn planning in Alachua, Putnam, Marion, Levy, Bradford, Clay and portions of Flagler, Volusia, Lake, Sumter, and Citrus Counties. Contact Barry Coulliette at firstname.lastname@example.org
FLORIDA LAND STEWARD PARTNERS WEB MAP TOOL
ONGOING INITIATIVES / SERVICES / OPPORTUNTIES
FLORIDA LAND STEWARD PARTNERS WEB MAP TOOL
REPORT BOBWHITE QUAIL AND OTHER WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS
To help restore the state’s northern bobwhite quail populations, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking private landowners to report sightings of bobwhite quail on their land. Report northern bobwhite quail sightings at MyFWC.com/QuailSighting
The FWC also seeks reports of these species:
- Report chipmunk sightings here: https://public.myfwc.com/hsc/chipmunk/getlatlong.aspx
- Report panther sightings here: https://public.myfwc.com/hsc/PantherSightings/getlatlong.aspx
- Report mink sightings here: https://public.myfwc.com/hsc/mink/getlatlong.aspx
- Report black bear sightings here: https://public.myfwc.com/fwri/blackbear/getlatlong.aspx
- Report southern hognose snake (Heterodon simus), short-tailed snake (Lampropeltis extenuata), and Florida pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus) here:
SOMETHING BUGGING YOUR TREES? - CHECK OUT THE FOREST AND TREE HEALTH DIAGNOSTICS FORUM
Hosted by a group of forest and tree health specialists with Southeastern universities and agencies, we are here to help identify pests and diseases in your forest or your backyard, and to recommend a solution, if appropriate. Join the group and report your tree health issue!
Visit the new Forest Health Diagnostic forum on Facebook:
FOREST STEWARDSHIP VIDEOS - VIEW AND SHARE!
All the videos are on the Florida Forest Stewardship Program home page:
LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ON A PARTICULAR TOPIC?
UF/IFAS SCHOOL OF FOREST RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION EXTENSION PROGRAMS
FORESTRY AND NATURAL RESOURCES WEBINARS
For a calendar of upcoming webinars in a variety of land management topics see:
SOUTHERN REGION EXTENSION FORESTRY
NEED A LOAN TO FUND CONSERVATION PROJECTS? CHECK OUT THE USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY'S GUARANTEED CONSERVATION LOAN PROGRAM
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) guarantees loans to promote conservation practices on farms and ranches that help protect natural resources. The goal of FSA’s Conservation Loan (CL) program is to provide access to credit for farmers who need and want to implement conservation measures on their land, but do not have the “up front” funds available to implement these practices. For more information see this Conservation Loan Program Fact Sheet. Also see this table summarizing FSA farm loan opportunities.
The Conservation Contract Program is a program for eligible landowners that protects important natural resources and other sensitive areas while providing a debt management tool. A conservation contract is available to people with Farm Service Agency (FSA) direct loans secured by real estate. These individuals may qualify for a reduction of their FSA indebtedness in exchange for a conservation contract with a term of 50, 30 or 10 years. The conservation contract is a voluntary legal agreement that restricts the type and amount of development that may take place on portions of the landowner’s property. Contracts may be established on marginal cropland and other environmentally sensitive lands for conservation, recreation and wildlife purposes. For more information see this Conservation Contract Program Fact Sheet.