Thursday, August 2, 2018

CONGRATULATIONS DOUG AND TERESA MOORE: 2018 FLORIDA OUTSTANDING TREE FARMERS OF THE YEAR


For Doug and Teresa Moore, forest stewardship was an opportunity to begin a new life after many successful years in agriculture. Dairy farming had been the family business for three generations. Doug had a farm with 2,000 head of dairy cows in Duval County, as well as 600 acres of corn in Putnam County and a landscape tree nursery. However, Jacksonville’s growth, together with increasingly restrictive regulations led him to quit the dairy business in 2004. It had long been a dream of his to own timberland that he could live on and manage for timber and wildlife, so Doug began looking into timber tracts.
In 2002, he purchased timberland in Baker County from the International Paper Company. He chose the land because it was close to his farm in Duval County, and most of all, because the property was diverse. Doug explains: “I had a large amount of pine plantation to provide the needed future income, but also had a 400-acre hardwood swamp that is the beginning on the South Prong of the St. Mary’s River. It also consisted of several old homesteads (including moonshine stills). We have also found many Indian artifacts on the property due to the creek that runs through it.”
A True Working Forest
South Prong Plantation encompasses over 2,400 acres of pine flatwoods, cypress swamps and hydric hammock that is home to a wide variety of wildlife.  While Doug’s primary objective is managing for high-quality wildlife habitat, the plantation also produces timber and is a great example of integrating intensive timber management and wildlife habitat management. 
Doug’s management objectives are a combination of timber income and recreation for the family.  “I would like to set it aside for conservation so it would be used after I am gone for the same purpose as it is now,” he says. “But I still want the family to be the managers, not the government.
Outreach
Doug also offers the property for use to the University of Florida / IFAS Extension service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and other partners for educational programs. He’s an FWC certified Youth Hunt Master and leads youth hunts on the property. He also leads camping and merit badge programs with the Boy Scouts.
“I offer and encourage many organizations to visit my property, from hunters to the tree huggers,” he says. “I think the more people understand that a working tree farm like mine can provide a renewable resource while enhancing wildlife and conservation for the future, the better the industry will be.”
“Plenty of Help Out There”
With a background primarily in livestock management, Doug needed a bit of a primer on forestry and wildlife management when he got started.  He found help through courses provided by the University of Florida’s Cooperative Extension Service and the Florida Forest Service.

“When I purchased the property, I took every course offered by Extension to learn about wildlife management and forestry,” Doug explains. “I took the Master Tree Farmer level 1 and 2, Master Wildlifer, Preparing for the Next Owner next owner and other courses.  I became a Certified Burn Manager, and I now have a business, Flatwoods Management LLC, in which I contract prescribed burning, timberland maintenance and wildlife management. “With management planning and practice I’ve had assistance though the Forest Stewardship program, cooperative Extension service, UF, FWC, Florida Forest Service, National Wild Turkey Federation, my friend and consulting forester, Leonard Wood, and many others. There is plenty of help out there.  I’m very surprised that more landowners do not take advantage of it.”

Join us for a Tour
The Moore family; along with the Florida Tree Farm Program, Florida Forest Stewardship Program and other partners; will provide a tour of South Prong Plantation on October 19. Mark your calendar and stay tuned to Florida Land Steward updates for details.
*****




Friday, July 13, 2018

FLORIDA LAND STEWARD UPDATE 7/13/18


CONGRATULATIONS SOUTHERN REGIONAL OUTSTANDING TREE FARMERS OF THE YEAR, JON AND CAROL GOULD OF FLORIDA

The Goulds own four Tree Farm properties, totaling 655 acres in the panhandle of Florida. A big focus of their work has been on restoring and growing native longleaf pine – an important tree species for at-risk wildlife. They are proud to have gopher tortoise burrows across much of the property, and in the past few years have seen the reappearance of the bobwhite quail on their land. Read more about the Goulds.

Cast your vote for the National Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year on the American Tree Farm System's Facebook page: https://poll.fbapp.io/2018otfy/jRGRO7jc 

Voting ends July 27.


LONGLEAF PINE PROGRAM FOR LANDOWNERS
Apply by July 13, 2018

The Florida Forest Service's Longleaf Pine Landowner Incentive Program is accepting applications from eligible, non-industrial private forest landowners. The application period is open through Friday, July 13, 2018.

The goal of the program is to increase the acreage of healthy longleaf pine ecosystems in Florida by helping non-industrial private forest landowners make the long-term investment required to establish and maintain this valuable ecosystem.  The program offers incentive payments for planting Longleaf pine, prescribed burning, native plant understory establishment, invasive species control, timber stand improvement, and mechanical underbrush treatments. The program is offered for private lands in Florida counties located west of the Aucilla River to the Choctawhatchee River, and several counties near the Ocala National Forest.

Application forms and more information on program requirements and procedures can be found by visiting FreshFromFlorida.com or by contacting your local County Forester. The program is supported through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation with funding from the Southern Company, USDA Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.


2017-2018 ORGANIC CERTIFICATION COST SHARE PROGRAM

Florida Organic Growers (FOG), in cooperation with Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 Organic Certification Cost Share Program. Certified organic operators in Florida can now apply for reimbursement of up to 75 percent of certification costs from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018, for a maximum of $750 per scope of certification. The deadline to apply is October 31st.

Please visit the FOG Cost Share webpage to learn more about the program, and how you can apply: http://www.foginfo.org/our-programs/cost-share/

If you have any questions regarding the program, please call Rylee Daddio at 352-231-7116


INTERACTIVE MAP SHOWS ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE FOREST INDUSTRY AND FOREST-BASED RECREATION IN FLORIDA IN 2016

This UF/IFAS study analyzed the economic contributions of the forest industry and forest-based recreation activities to the state of Florida in 2016.

View the Interactive Map of Florida Forest Industry Impacts here.


CAMP KIDS IN THE WOODS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA'S AUSTIN CARY FOREST

It's not too late to get your middle schooler signed up for Camp Kids in the Woods! Campers will conduct field explorations with scientists from forestry, wildlife, water resources, and entomology, and will take a journey to a local spring. Additionally, campers will go fishing, camp out one night at the Austin Cary Forest, participate in a service learning project, and engage in interactive games and scavenger hunts. Camp Kids in the Woods summer program is a collaborative effort between the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the USDA Forest Service.

When: Session 2: July 16-20, 2018

Ages: Rising 7th graders to rising 9th graders

Hours: 8:30 am -4:30 pm ET. Early drop-offs and late pickups available to help fit your schedule.

Location: Austin Cary Forest, 10625 NE Waldo Rd, Gainesville, FL 32609

For more information and to register visit: http://sfrc.ufl.edu/outreach/camp-kids-in-the-woods/


AIR POTATO PATROL CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECT

The Air Potato Patrol Citizen Science project is looking for volunteers at https://airpotatobeetle.com/. This collaborative project between University of Florida IFAS Extension and Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services seeks to educate residents on how to identify and better control air potato vines, and to gather data important to current research and air potato leaf beetle tracking.

The website contains educational videos and a blog to educate the participants and keep them updated. Volunteers will be asked to complete surveys to evaluate the level of air potato infestation and the presence of the air potato beetles in their test plots. For more information please visit the website or contact William Lester, UF/IFAS Extension, at wlester@ufl.edu.


USE WEB MAP TOOL TO FIND RESOURCE INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE AT THE WATERSHED SCALE

The Florida Land Steward Partnership continuously strives to provide better outreach and information on programs that can help landowners achieve their goals while improving the many environmental benefits they provide to society. To that end, the Partnership, in conjunction with the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PFLCC), have launched a web-based map that allows landowners to identify specific programs available at the local level. The PFLCC website provides access to natural resource information, including an on-line, web tool that can be used to identify resources at a local watershed scale.


FAMILY HEIRS PROPERTY IN FLORIDA: "CLOUDY TITLES" PROGRAM BY FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY

In awareness of the continual loss of property by African Americans in rural communities due to complicated legal hurdles, FAMU Cooperative Extension Program office has created the Family Heirs Property Program Workshop Series. The series is designed to show what happens to property that has been granted to either children or relatives of the original owners through heirship or by a will, and how families can clear the title of their family heirs property.

The course continues August 28. Register here for the next Session.

FLORIDA TREE FARM PROGRAM PREPARING FOR 2019 AUDIT

The Florida Tree Farm Program is preparing for a 2019 audit. The purpose of the audit is to verify that certified Tree Farms are compliant with the 2015-2020 Standards of Sustainability. The Program has been audited twice since 2010 without any issues. A relatively small sample of Tree Farms will be selected for the audit. The audit team will visit selected Tree Farms to review the landowners' management plans and conduct a brief interview. The inspector of the property and a Florida Tree Farm representative will accompany the auditor. We will begin the audit process in January 2019. Selected sample Tree Farm landowners will receive a phone call in early January 2019.

The Florida Tree Farm Program wants to make sure this audit goes well so it is extremely important for ALL certified Tree Farms in the state to have a current written management plan. Current means updated in the last 5 years. Contact your Florida Forest Service County Forester, consultant, or your Tree Farm District Representative if you need an update to your management plan, or if you have not been inspected since 2014

Find your County Forester here.
Find your Tree Farm District Representative here.



ONGOING INITIATIVES / OPPORTUNTIES
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
REPORT 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:

NEED A LOAN TO FUND CONSERVATION PROJECTS? CHECK OUT THE USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY'S GUARANTEED CONSERVATION LOAN PROGRAMThe 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.
The FSA provides several types of farm loans. For more information on these opportunities, see the Florida FSA Website or contact your local FSA office to speak with a local representative

SOMETHING BUGGING YOUR TREES? - CHECK OUT THE NEW 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 latest videos are on the Florida Forest Stewardship Program home page:
GOT AN INVASIVE SPECIES PROBLEM?Go to floridainvasives.org for information, assistance and partnership opportunities.
LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ON A PARTICULAR TOPIC?Check the vast array of extension publications available through UF/IFAS on the EDIS publication site:  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/  Wow, there’s a publication about that?
FWC REQUESTS REPORTS OF WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS:
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
See http://sref.info/ for the latest news, tools and offerings.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

FLORIDA LAND STEWARD UPDATE 6/29/18


IT'S LIGHTNING AWARENESS WEEK

When thunder roars, go indoors! Florida receives more lightning strikes than any other state, over 1,170,000 per year. Each year in the United States, there are about 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes and about 300 people struck by lightning. Of those struck, about 10% are killed and others suffer lifelong disabilities. Most of these tragedies can be prevented.


When thunderstorms threaten, get inside a building with plumbing and electricity, or a hard-topped metal vehicle. Lightning often strikes outside the area of heavy rain and may strike as far as 10 miles from any rainfall. Many lightning deaths occur ahead of storms before any rain arrives or after storms have seemingly passed and the rain has ended. If you can hear thunder, you are in danger. Don’t be fooled by blue skies. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to pose an immediate threat.

See the National Weather Service's Lightning Safety page for information and tips: https://www.weather.gov/safety/lightning-safety



MAY/JUNE ISSUE OF SOUTHERN FIRE EXCHANGE FIRE LINES NEWSLETTER NOW AVAILABLE


This issue of the Southern Fire Exchange's bimonthly newsletter has the following articles sharing research results, resources, news, and upcoming events from around the Southeast region and nationwide:  Two new factsheets from Southern Fire Exchange, Burned Forests Impact Water Supplies, New Video on Florida Scrub Pine. New Issues of Two International Wildland Fire Journals, and more.

Current and back issues of Fire Lines can be accessed here: http://southernfireexchange.org/SFE_Publications/Newsletter.html


FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS TO HELP LANDOWNERS COMBAT SOUTHERN PINE BEETLE
Apply by June 29, 2018

Last day to apply for the 2018 Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program. The program is limited to 44 northern Florida counties, the known range of the southern pine beetle.

The Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program, supported through a grant by the United States Forest Service, provides incentive payments for landowners who conduct a first pulpwood thinning and offers partial cost reimbursement for activities, such as prescribed burning, mechanical underbrush treatments, and the planting of longleaf or slash pine rather than the loblolly pine, the beetle’s preferred species. Qualified landowners can apply for up to two different practices per year, and funding requests may not exceed $10,000. All qualifying applications received during the submission period will be evaluated and ranked for approval.

To obtain an application or to learn more about the Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program, visit FreshFromFlorida.com/SouthernPineBeetle/Prevention.


FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE ANNOUNCES LONGLEAF PINE PROGRAM FOR LANDOWNERS
Apply by July 13, 2018

The Florida Forest Service's Longleaf Pine Landowner Incentive Program is accepting applications from eligible, non-industrial private forest landowners. The application period is open through Friday, July 13, 2018.

The goal of the program is to increase the acreage of healthy longleaf pine ecosystems in Florida by helping non-industrial private forest landowners make the long-term investment required to establish and maintain this valuable ecosystem.  The program offers incentive payments for planting Longleaf pine, prescribed burning, native plant understory establishment, invasive species control, timber stand improvement, and mechanical underbrush treatments. The program is offered for private lands in Florida counties located west of the Aucilla River to the Choctawhatchee River, and several counties near the Ocala National Forest.

Application forms and more information on program requirements and procedures can be at FreshFromFlorida.com or by contacting your local County Forester. The program is supported through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation with funding from the Southern Company, USDA Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

The Florida Forest Service manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres.

To learn more about Florida Forest Service programs, visit FloridaForestService.com.



CAMP KIDS IN THE WOODS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA'S AUSTIN CARY FOREST

It's not too late to get your middle schooler signed up for Camp Kids in the Woods! Campers will conduct field explorations with scientists from forestry, wildlife, water resources, and entomology, and will take a journey to a local spring. Additionally, campers will go fishing, camp out one night at the Austin Cary Forest, participate in a service learning project, and engage in interactive games and scavenger hunts. Camp Kids in the Woods summer program is a collaborative effort between the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the USDA Forest Service.

When: Session 2: July 16-20, 2018

Ages: Rising 7th graders to rising 9th graders

Hours: 8:30 am -4:30 pm ET. Early drop-offs and late pickups available to help fit your schedule.

Location: Austin Cary Forest, 10625 NE Waldo Rd, Gainesville, FL 32609

For more information and to register visit: http://sfrc.ufl.edu/outreach/camp-kids-in-the-woods/


AIR POTATO PATROL CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECT

The Air Potato Patrol Citizen Science project is looking for volunteers at https://airpotatobeetle.com/. This collaborative project between University of Florida IFAS Extension and Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services seeks to educate residents on how to identify and better control air potato vines, and to gather data important to current research and air potato leaf beetle tracking.

The website contains educational videos and a blog to educate the participants and keep them updated. Volunteers will be asked to complete surveys to evaluate the level of air potato infestation and the presence of the air potato beetles in their test plots. For more information please visit the website or contact William Lester, UF/IFAS Extension, at wlester@ufl.edu.


USE WEB MAP TOOL TO FIND RESOURCE INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE AT THE WATERSHED SCALE

The Florida Land Steward Partnership continuously strives to provide better outreach and information on programs that can help landowners achieve their goals while improving the many environmental benefits they provide to society. To that end, the Partnership, in conjunction with the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PFLCC), have launched a web-based map that allows landowners to identify specific programs available at the local level. The PFLCC website provides access to natural resource information, including an on-line, web tool that can be used to identify resources at a local watershed scale.


FAMILY HEIRS PROPERTY IN FLORIDA: "CLOUDY TITLES" PROGRAM BY FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY

In awareness of the continual loss of property by African Americans in rural communities due to complicated legal hurdles, FAMU Cooperative Extension Program office has created the Family Heirs Property Program Workshop Series. The series is designed to show what happens to property that has been granted to either children or relatives of the original owners through heirship or by a will, and how families can clear the title of their family heirs property.

The course continues August 28. Register here for the next Session.

FLORIDA TREE FARM PROGRAM PREPARING FOR 2019 AUDIT

The Florida Tree Farm Program is preparing for a 2019 audit. The purpose of the audit is to verify that certified Tree Farms are compliant with the 2015-2020 Standards of Sustainability. The Program has been audited twice since 2010 without any issues. A relatively small sample of Tree Farms will be selected for the audit. The audit team will visit selected Tree Farms to review the landowners' management plans and conduct a brief interview. The inspector of the property and a Florida Tree Farm representative will accompany the auditor. We will begin the audit process in January 2019. Selected sample Tree Farm landowners will receive a phone call in early January 2019.

The Florida Tree Farm Program wants to make sure this audit goes well so it is extremely important for ALL certified Tree Farms in the state to have a current written management plan. Current means updated in the last 5 years. Contact your Florida Forest Service County Forester, consultant, or your Tree Farm District Representative if you need an update to your management plan, or if you have not been inspected since 2014

Find your County Forester here.
Find your Tree Farm District Representative here.



ONGOING INITIATIVES / OPPORTUNTIES
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
REPORT 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:

NEED A LOAN TO FUND CONSERVATION PROJECTS? CHECK OUT THE USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY'S GUARANTEED CONSERVATION LOAN PROGRAMThe 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.
The FSA provides several types of farm loans. For more information on these opportunities, see the Florida FSA Website or contact your local FSA office to speak with a local representative

SOMETHING BUGGING YOUR TREES? - CHECK OUT THE NEW 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 latest videos are on the Florida Forest Stewardship Program home page:
GOT AN INVASIVE SPECIES PROBLEM?Go to floridainvasives.org for information, assistance and partnership opportunities.
LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ON A PARTICULAR TOPIC?Check the vast array of extension publications available through UF/IFAS on the EDIS publication site:  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/  Wow, there’s a publication about that?
FWC REQUESTS REPORTS OF WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS:
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
See http://sref.info/ for the latest news, tools and offerings.