SEASON'S GREETINGS FROM FLORIDA LAND STEWARD PARTNERS!
APPLICATIONS FOR USDA NRCS CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM DUE JANUARY 17
The USDA Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014. Starting today through January 17, 2014, producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS.
“Through the Conservation Stewardship Program, farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners are going the extra mile to conserve our nation’s resources,” NRCS Chief Jason Weller said. “Through their conservation actions, they are ensuring that their operations are more productive and sustainable over the long run.”
The CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards with taking their level of natural resource management to the next level to improve both their agricultural production and provide valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat.
Weller said today's announcement is another example of USDA's comprehensive focus on promoting environmental conservation and strengthening the rural economy, and it is a reminder that a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is pivotal to continue these efforts. CSP is now in its fifth year and so far, NRCS has partnered with producers to enroll more than 59 million acres across the nation.
The program emphasizes conservation performance — producers earn higher payments for higher performance. In CSP, producers install conservation enhancements to make positive changes in soil quality, soil erosion, water quality, water quantity, air quality, plant resources, animal resources and energy.
Some popular enhancements used by farmers and ranchers include:
·Using new nozzles that reduce the drift of pesticides, lowering input costs and making sure pesticides are used where they are most needed;
·Modifying water facilities to prevent bats and bird species from being trapped;
·Burning patches of land, mimicking prairie fires to enhance wildlife habitat; and
·Rotating feeding areas and monitoring key grazing areas to improve grazing management.
Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP through January 17th to be eligible during the 2014 federal fiscal year. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods. To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date.
A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.
Learn more about CSP by visiting the NRCS website: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/national/home/
or a local NRCS field office: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?agency=nrcs
NRCS CERTIFICATION EASES APPLYING FOR CONSERVATION EASEMENT PROGRAM
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) is making it easier for state, tribal, local governments and non-governmental organizations to enroll land in conservation easements through advanced certification. FRPP provides matching funds to purchase easements on private working lands to ensure productive farms and ranches will be kept in agricultural uses forever. The progam has protected more than 2 million acres for the production of food, feed and fiber since 1996.
Entities may apply for certification by submitting a letter of request and application materials to the Florida NRCS State Conservationist by Jan. 3 to be considered for the first round of requests. “Certification streamlines the process and gets more conservation on the ground faster,” said Florida State Conservationist Russell Morgan.
When organizations are certified, they may enter into longer term cooperative agreements and conduct the property closings without prior submission of individual appraisals, deeds or title documents for NRCS review. Organizations must hold, manage and monitor a minimum of five of the program’s conservation easements to qualify for certification. For a full list of the certification criteria, see the program’s web page at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/easements/farmranch/
Submit letters for certification to the Florida State Conservationist, NRCS State Office, 2614 NW 43rd Street, Gainesville, FL 32606. For more information on the application materials required for certification, visit the NRCS website at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/national/home/
or contact Nina Bhattacharyya, 352-338-9554.
FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE SILVICULTURE BMP SURVEY
Protection of water quality and quantity during forestry operations is a very important aspect of natural resource management in Florida. The Florida Forest Service (FFS) has demonstrated that when silviculture Best Management Practices (BMPs) are implemented, the state's water resources are well protected. In addition, protecting water resources remains a high priority for loggers, foresters, land managers, and silviculture contractors.
To date, the FFS has conducted 15 surveys with a state-wide average of 94% compliance. In other words, the BMPs designated to protect Florida's water resources have been applied to more than 9 out of every 10 sites where forestry practices, such as harvesting and planting, have been conducted for the past 31 years. The survey relies heavily on voluntary private land owner participation that benefits all Floridians by providing a continued commitment to natural resource stewardship.
The 16th survey is now underway and will conclude in December 2013. Survey sites are randomly selected from aerial observations. Once site candidates are located and property owners determined, the BMP forester for the area will contact the landowner to solicit his or her voluntary participation. The survey provides a great opportunity for many landowners to assist and show their dedication to the protection of water quality during forestry activities near streams, lakes, and rivers. Today, we all make a difference in tomorrow's environment.
For more information contact the BMP forester nearest you:
Roy Lima at (850) 681-5942 or Robin Holland at (352) 732-1273
RED HILLS' ECONOMIC IMPACT AND ECOSYSTEM VALUES
Tall Timbers Research and Land Conservancy recently released the results of its yearlong economic impact analysis of working rural lands in the Red Hills Region, a six-county area in south Georgia and north Florida.
The study, a joint effort between Tall Timbers and Florida State University's Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis, found that in 2012 the overall regional economic impact of Red Hills' hunting properties was more than $147 million. Also, more than 1,400 jobs are directly or indirectly related to Red Hills' hunting properties; these jobs generate more than $51 million in employment income, which equates to an annual average wage that exceeds the average wage in all Red Hills' counties except one. Read the economic impact study:
2013 TIMBER TAX TIPS AVAILABLE
Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for the 2013 Tax Year is now available. This annual bulletin provides federal income tax reporting tips to assist forest landowners and their advisors in filing their 2013 income tax returns. The information presented is current as of Sept. 15, 2013: http://www.fs.fed.us/spf/coop/programs/loa/tax.shtml
FORESTRY TAXATION VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE
The Forest Landowners Tax Council (The FLTC) has produced a couple educational programs about forestry related taxation. The latest is entitled “Taxation of Forestry Income.” These videos can be found at TheFLTC YouTube Channel:
"TIME TO THIN" VIDEO ON YOUTUBE
Not your usual instructional video - check it out! In just a little over two minutes, explains why thinning is important and how to get started, with a live link to more information. Check it out:
SOMETHING BUGGING YOUR TREES?
Do you have pests or a disease in your trees? Leaves or needles wilting, and you don’t know why? Sawdust falling out of your trees, and you don’t know how to save them? There is help: ask your question at the new Forest Health Diagnostic Forum: http://sfrc.ufl.edu/treehealth/forum/.
Run by forest health specialists at the UF School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Department of Entomology and the Florida Forest Service, this is the fastest and the most accurate forest pest and disease diagnostics available in the State of Florida. It’s free, logging in is easy, and replies are prompt. We are also happy to examine your samples, or visit your site for a minimal fee. We are here to help you protect your trees!
PUBLIC INVITED TO REVIEW FWC IMPERILED SPECIES ACTION PLANS
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) invites your feedback on the Imperiled Species Management Plan, which will be the blueprint for conserving 60 species on Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species list. Be a part the process. See http://www.myfwc.com/Imperiled to learn more and participate.
HELP STILL NEEDED - COYOTES VS BOBCATS: WHAT ARE THEY EATING?
The University of Florida is conducting a study of coyote dietary habits in Florida and needs YOU to donate your catch! We are especially interested in how coyotes are affecting white-tailed deer, turkeys, bobwhite quail, livestock, and pets! YOUR help is needed to obtain legally acquired coyote carcasses, with or without pelts. We will also accept coyote stomachs and intestines if you cannot store the whole carcass. Carcasses or stomachs and intestines should be frozen in a suitable bag or container, and include the name of contributor, animal weight/sex, date harvested/obtained, and location harvested/obtained. Arrangements can be made to get carcasses from you at the University or combine your animals with others in your area for a pickup. We have obtained a permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for this project, and will keep information provided by you for this project anonymous to the extent possible by law. We greatly appreciate your help with this valuable study!
Lauren N. Watine & Bill Giuliano
FWC REQUESTS REPORTS OF WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS:
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.as
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:
EASTERN DIAMONDBACK RATTLESNAKES
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service was recently petitioned to list the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, historically found in the lower Coastal Plain from North Carolina to Louisiana, as a threatened or endangered species. As the Service reviews the status of the eastern diamondback, the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) is soliciting information about observations of the snake to improve understanding of its distribution and habitat associations. If you encounter an eastern diamondback rattlesnake, we would greatly appreciate your completing a short online survey here: http://www.ncasi.org/snakesurvey.aspx
For more information, please contact Dr. Ben Wigley at 864-656-0840 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FWC WILDLIFE LEGACY INITIATIVE NEWSLETTER
See the latest news at: http://myfwc.com/conservation/special-initiatives/fwli/news/fall-2013/
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:
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA CONTINUING FORESTRY EDUCATION CLASSES
See http://conted.warnell.uga.edu/ for the latest offerings.
ALABAMA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION FORESTRY WEBINARS