Florida agriculture loses an estimated $179 million annually to invasive species. This comes as no surprise to researchers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as the state, with 28 ports of entry, is ranked number one in the continental United States for the number of invasive species established.
As we move through National Invasive Species Awareness Week (February 26 to March 2), UF/IFAS scientists and Extension faculty highlight the work being done statewide to manage pests ranging from weeds and trees to mammals and insects. More here
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.
JANUARY / FEBRUARY ISSUE OF SOUTHERN FIRE EXCHANGE'S FIRE LINES NEWSLETTER NOW AVAILABLE
This issue of our bimonthly newsletter has the following articles sharing research results, resources, news, and upcoming events from around the Southeast region and nationwide: Do fuel treatment costs affect wildfire suppression costs and property damage?, Association of Fire Ecology International Fire Congress Recap; and New videos online from Upland Ecosystem Groundcover Restoration Symposium, Duff Fire Science Workshop, RX Fire 101 Webinar, Updates on Tools and Technology.
Current and back issues available here: http://southernfireexchange.org/SFE_Publications/Newsletter.html
JOIN US FOR THE 2018 FLORIDA FOREST STEWARDSHIP LANDOWNER SHORT COURSE, MARCH 9, 2018 AT THE AUSTIN CARY FOREST CAMPUS
This new event format will feature 5 concurrent topic sessions including forest health, timber marketing and forest certification, wildlife management, tree identification, and prescribed fire. Choose 2 topics (1 morning, 1 afternoon) to customize your day. $10 fee includes lunch and materials.
Register online at https://fsp-shortcourse030918.eventbrite.com/, or contact Chris Demers, email@example.com, (352) 846-2375.
TIMBER TAX FILING FOR THE 2017 TAX YEAR WEBINAR, MARCH 2, 1 PM ET
A sweeping overhaul of the Tax Code passed by Congress in December 2017 triggered many questions about timber taxes. How do the new changes play out in filing timber related transactions? Also, special new rules relating to the 2017 Hurricanes provided tax relief on personal property losses including landscape tree losses.
To help private forest landowners, foresters, loggers and timber businesses with their 2017 tax return filings and planning for the new tax law changes in 2018, a one-hour free webinar, presented by Dr. Linda Wang on March 2, will explain the income tax reporting rules as well as the major new law changes affecting timber transactions: Timber Tax Filing for the 2017 Tax Year
Linda's Timber Tax bulletin and other related information is available at https://timbertax.org/
FAMILY HEIRS PROPERTY IN FLORIDA: "CLOUDY TITLES" PROGRAM ANNOUNCED 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 Heir 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 on March 31, April 28, May 26, and August 28. Register here for the next Session.
CONGRATULATIONS GEORGE AND PAT OWENS, 2017 FLORIDA LAND STEWARDS OF THE YEAR
Florida Land Steward Partners strive to assist landowners in achieving their forest, wildlife and agricultural goals for their properties. George C. Owens Farm of Washington County demonstrates that environmental and economic sustainability walk hand in hand in good stewardship. Join us for a tour of the George Owens Farm silvopasture operation on March 14, 2018: https://fsp-tour031418.eventbrite.com
ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO FOREST LANDOWNERS AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS THROUGH THE CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAMApplications must be received by March 2, 2018.
Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps private landowners build their business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation. NRCS plans to enroll up to 10 million acres in CSP in 2018.
While applications for CSP are accepted year round, applications must be received by March 2, 2018 to be considered for this funding period. Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips and pollinator habitat--all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality. Some of the benefits of CSP include: improved cattle gains per acre; increased crop yields; decreased inputs; wildlife population improvements; and better resilience to weather extremes.
Producers interested in CSP are recommended to contact their local USDA service center or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.
NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR CERTIFICATION AND HABITAT RESTORATION
The American Forest Foundation (AFF) and Enviva LP have announced a multi-year partnership to help private forest landowners across the Florida panhandle certify that their forests are sustainably managed and to restore longleaf pine forests to improve wildlife habitat.
The partnership, which will also include The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and other partners, will focus its efforts across 16 counties in the Florida panhandle, with a special focus in the area surrounding Cottondale, FL. More information here:
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:
- 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:
ONGOING SERVICES, INITIATIVES, PROGRAMS:
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.
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
AIR POTATO PATROL CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECT
A new on-line 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOMETHING BUGGING YOUR TREES? - CHECK OUT THE FOREST 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 you 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:
http://sfrc.ufl.edu/forest_stewardshipGOT 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?
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:
REGION EXTENSION FORESTRY
See http://sref.info/ for the latest news, tools and offer