Thursday, December 20, 2018

FLORIDA LAND STEWARD UPDATE 12/21/18


SEASON'S GREETINGS!



ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE THROUGH FLORIDA FARM BUREAU HURRICANE MICHAEL RELIEF FUND
Available through February 15, 2019
Many farm families in Northwest Florida have suffered unprecedented losses due to Hurricane Michael. As part of its response to the crisis, Florida Farm Bureau has created a fund that will help North Florida farm families recovering from the storm. Only North Florida producers with agriculture-related losses or expenses resulting from Hurricane Michael’s wind and flooding may qualify for assistance from the Hurricane Michael Relief Fund for Agriculture. However, the Fund for Agriculture is not limited to members of Florida Farm Bureau Federation.

Apply for assistance at FFBF Hurricane Michael Relief Fund



USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY ACCEPTING EMERGENCY FOREST RESTORATION PROGRAM APPLICATIONS IN 17 FLORIDA COUNTIES IMPACTED BY HURRICANE MICHAEL
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting State Executive Director Justin Teuton has announced that 17 Florida counties are accepting applications for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) to address damages from Hurricane Michael. EFRP provides payments to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) land to enable the owners to carry out emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster. EFRP sign-up ends on Dec. 21, 2018.

Impacted producers in Bay, Calhoun, Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton and Washington are eligible to apply for EFRP. For more information on EFRP, please contact your local FSA county office or visit https://www.farmers.gov/recover. To find your local office, visit farmers.gov.



CONGRESS PASSES FARM BILL THAT WILL BENEFIT FAMILY FOREST OWNERS
Last week, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, and President Trump is expected to sign it this week. Once it’s signed into law, it will restore landowners’ access to vital conservation and forestry programs. Tree Farmers, other landowners and other key advocates were instrumental in ensuring the final bill addressed key family forest owner priorities that support active stewardship, including:

  • Providing strong funding for many conservation programs, like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP).
  • Supporting markets for wood residuals and innovative wood products by reauthorizing and expanding the Community Wood Energy Program (CWEP) and the Timber Innovation Act (TIA).
  • Additional grants for cross-boundary projects to address hazardous fuels reduction.

See more details at: https://www.forestfoundation.org/forests-in-the-farm-bill



INCOME TAX DEDUCTION ON TIMBER AND LANDSCAPE TREE LOSS FROM CASUALTY AND TIMBER TAX TIPS FOR THE 2018 TAX YEAR
Timber or landscape trees destroyed by a hurricane, tornado, fire or other disaster are "casualty losses" that may allow the property owners to take a deduction on their federal income tax returns. See https://timbertax.org/ for guidance on this as well as the annual timber tax tips for 2018 filing from USDA Forest Service tax specialist Linda Wang.



FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE ANNOUNCES NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR OPEN BURNING IN HURRICANE MICHAEL IMPACTED AREAS
Due to the massive amounts of tree debris on the ground throughout the area affected by Hurricane Michael, the FDACS Florida Forest Service has new requirements for open burning in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Liberty and Washington Counties. The Florida Forest Service created two geographical zones, primary and secondary, to identify hurricane-impacted areas with specific open burning requirements. Burning within the heavy impact zone will require pile burner certification. Details on the zones and requirements here.




ONGOING INITIATIVES / SERVICES / OPPORTUNTIES
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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:

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?

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.


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

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