In 2014, UF/IFAS Extension celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service, a state-by-state national network of educators who extend university-based knowledge to the people. In Florida, Extension allows us all to benefit from the research and education of our land-grant universities, the University of Florida and Florida A&M University.
UF/IFAS Extension has improved the lives of Floridians in many ways. For those reading this newsletter, UF/IFAS Extension has likely helped you in managing your land resources such as timber, wildlife, livestock and row crops. If you’ve learned about conserving water, saving money, or gardening, chances are you learned it from Extension. If you’ve ever been to a 4-H camp or gotten help from a Master Gardener or Master Naturalist, you know Extension.
We, the Extension faculty and staff in the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation and Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, are proud of our accomplishments on this 100th anniversary, and we look continuously toward the future, finding solutions to the challenges we Floridians will face over the next 100 years and sharing them to make life healthier, happier, and more prosperous for you.
AGRICULTURAL ASSISTANCE OPPORTUNITIES FROM USDA NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE - APPLICATIONS DUE 2/21/14
The 2008 Farm Bill was recently granted a short extension by Congress. This extension allows the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida to give farmers and ranchers an additional opportunity to improve water and air quality, build healthier soil, improve forest lands, conserve energy, enhance organic operations, and achieve other environmental benefits. Interested producers should visit their local NRCS service center now to receive more information on these programs:
- Organic Initiative--helps producers install conservation practices on USDA certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification.
- Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative--helps producers install high tunnels designed to extend the growing season, increase productivity, keep plants at a steady temperature, and conserve water and energy.
- On-farm Energy Initiative--helps producers conserve energy on their operations.
- Longleaf Pine Initiative--helps private landowners improve the sustainability and profitability of Longleaf pine forest ecosystems.
- Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative--provides technical and financial assistance for landowners who voluntarily choose to implement conservation practices that benefit the habitat of the target species--the gopher tortoise in Florida--while continuing to manage the habitat as working lands.
- Gulf of Mexico Initiative--helps producers located in the Escambia River and Middle Suwannee River Area watersheds to focus on reducing soil erosion, improving soil health, improving water quality, and wildlife habitat on cropland, pastureland and forestland. Producers located in these watersheds can sign up for assistance under this initiative by contacting the local NRCS office below:
- Suwannee County District Conservationist Chris Menhennett at (386) 362-2622, x3, 10096 Highway 129, Live Oak, FL, 32060.
- Lafayette County District Conservationist Melvin DeShazior at (386) 294-1851, x3, 176 SW Community Circle, Suite C, Mayo, FL, 32066.
- Escambia County District Conservationist Josh McElhaney at (850) 587-5404, x3, 151 Highway 97, Molino, FL, 32577.
- Santa Rosa County District Conservationist Trent Mathews at (850) 623-3229, x3, 6285 Dogwood Drive, Milton, FL, 32570-3544.
Additional information on NRCS, conservation assistance, and available programs is offered on its website at www.fl.nrcs.usda.gov or at your local USDA - NRCS office. To find the nearest office go to: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.
USDA EXTENDS CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM APPLICATION DEADLINE TO FEBRUARY 7
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has extended the deadline for new enrollments in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to Feb. 7 for fiscal year 2014.
Through this program, NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to conserve and enhance soil, water, air and related natural resources on their land. Producers earn higher payments for higher performance. CSP is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land.
Some popular enhancements 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.
A CSP self-screening checklist highlights eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.
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.
Learn more about CSP by visiting the NRCS website or any local USDA service center.
VALENTINE'S DAY DEADLINE FOR FARM AND RANCH LANDS PROTECTION PROGRAM SIGN-UP
Applications are due February 14, 2014 for the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program to help Florida farmers and ranchers keep their land in agricultural production. The US Department of Agriculture’s program, administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), provides matching funds to sponsoring entities such as State, Tribal or local governments and nongovernmental organizations with existing farmland protection programs to purchase conservation easements. Interested landowners must first work with one of these eligible entities with funds necessary to match the federal contribution from NRCS. NRCS provides up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the conservation easement.
Applications should be submitted to the attention of Nina Bhattacharyya, USDA-NRCS, 2614 NW 43rd Street, Gainesville, FL, 32606. NRCS accepts applications for FRPP funding on a continuous basis throughout the year, but to be considered for ranking and selection in fiscal year 2014, applications must be received at the Florida NRCS office by the Feb. 14 deadline. Applications received after this date will be held for a future ranking period.
For more information contact Nina Bhattacharyya, FRPP program manager, 352-338-9554.
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:
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