The U.S. Department of Agriculture has allocated $380.7 million in federal block grant funding for Florida farmers devastated by Hurricane Michael, including direct relief for timber producers. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will administer the USDA block grants alongside the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
The funds will compensate timber producers for lost value of their crops damaged by Hurricane Michael, helping them clear downed trees and replant. About $10 million of the funding will also help agricultural producers repair and replace irrigation infrastructure damage from Hurricane Michael. The application process for timber producers to receive the grant funding will be finalized in the next several weeks.
More on this from FDACS
FALL-WINTER 2019 ISSUE OF QUARTERLY FLORIDA LAND STEWARD NEWSLETTER NOW AVAILABLE
In this issue: A Legacy of Excellence: Russell Brothers Farm Awarded 2019 Florida Tree Farmers of the Year, Longleaf Pine, Wildlife Habitat Recognition Program Recognizes Landowners, Congratulations Cathy Hardin: Recipient of the Glen Harris 2019 Florida Tree Farm Inspector of the Year, Tribute to Jon Gould, Florida Tree Farmer and Friend, Timber Price Update, Certified Forest Stewards and Tree Farmers
Access the current and back issues of the quarterly Florida Land Steward Newsletter here.
Fox squirrel, photo by Jon Gould
Tis the season! Get your 2020 Florida Land Steward wall calendar. The annual Florida Land Steward calendar features beautiful photography, habitat management tips, landowner and management highlights, resource contacts and more. These make a great gift and have become a regular part of homes and offices across Florida. First come, first serve to Florida Forest Stewards, Tree Farmers, and other interested landowners. Request your calendar by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address. We'll get them sent out when they are available.
YOU CAN HELP us to continue this wall calendar project. If you have received and used the calendar in recent years, we would like to know how it has been helpful. This will also help us to justify this project in coming years. Please help us by filling out this quick 2-minute questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6HKR82F
White-tailed deer, photo by Jon Gould
As we get into hunting season, it is important to remember that substantial changes have gone into effect regarding the mandatory reporting of harvested deer. All hunters must log their harvested deer prior to moving it from the point of harvest and report their harvested deer within 24 hours. See this summary of the new reporting rules by UF/IFAS Washington County extension agent Mark Mauldin.
Here's a link to the FWC Deer Harvest Reporting System.
COOL SEASON FOOD PLOT TIPS
There is great interest in wildlife forages, especially in the cool season. Florida’s light and sandy soils, hot and humid summers, and seasonal droughts pose unique challenges for successful food plot plantings. It is really important to get soil fertility and pH right, choose the right plant varieties for your area, and manage the weeds. UF/IFAS Okaloosa County extension agent Jennifer Bearden has some great tips for successful forage establishment.
Food plots and supplements are great but don’t forget that good wildlife management starts with good overall habitat management.
FLORIDA PROJECT LEARNING TREE PARTNERS WITH FOREST LANDOWNERS
This fall, two forest landowners generously hosted Project learning Tree (PLT) professional development trainings. Ben and Louann Williams, Wetland Preserve, LLC (Putnam County) and Ken and Lynetta Griner, Usher Land and Timber (Levy County) provided unique opportunities for educators to explore and learn about working forests while experiencing PLT’s hands-on activities that can be integrated into classrooms to teach youth about trees, forests, and the environment.. See photos from these events on the Florida Land Steward news blog.
Landowners, this is a great opportunity play an important role in educating youth about forest stewardhip. Consider hosting a PLT training on your property! Contact Elise Cassie, email@example.com.
FWC SEEKS INFORMATION TO ASSIST PRIVATE LANDOWNERS
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is conducting a study to learn more about how Florida landowners manage land and wildlife. Landowners are encouraged to take part in the survey to provide the FWC insights into landowner preferences and priorities:. Link to the survey here.
FUNDING AVAILABLE TO COVER CONSULTANT FOREST STEWARDSHIP MANAGEMENT PLAN PREPARATION
The Florida Forest Service has received funding to help cover the costs for private natural resource consultants to write Forest Stewardship plans covering hurricane resiliency and/or longleaf pine management. Eligible Stewardship plans must include information and recommendations related to: forest resilience and recovery following hurricanes, forest and landowner preparedness for hurricanes, and/or resources available to assist private forest landowners following hurricanes and/or longleaf pine establishment, restoration, improvement, and management for landowners with longleaf stands or those who want to establish longleaf pine on appropriate sites.
Compensation rates and additional information are provided in the Forest Stewardship Program Consultant Plan Preparation Agreement available at: https://forms.freshfromflorida.com/11268.pdf. This form also serves as the application for reimbursement. All applications that meet requirements as described above will be considered in the order in which they are received. Please contact Jennifer Tucker-Jenks at Jennifer.Tucker-Jenks@FreshFromFlorida.com or your county forester for more information. Find your county forester at https://www.freshfromflorida.com/CountyForester
PRESCRIBED BURN ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FROM ATTACK-ONE FIRE MANAGEMENT SERVICES, TALL TIMBERS RESEARCH STATION, AND ALACHUA CONSERVATION TRUST
These organizations are available to meet onsite with landowners to discuss their goals and assist with prescribed burn prescription and implementation.
Attack-One Fire Management Services is grant-funded to assist landowners with current NRCS contracts with prescribed fire planning and implementation throughout Florida and Georgia. We can also assist landowners who have former NRCS contracts with prescribed fire consultation, planning and implementation with active Gopher Tortoise habitat present. For more information email Kevin Carter, firstname.lastname@example.org or John McGuire, email@example.com or call (850) 926-6534
Tall Timbers Research Station is now funded by a Longleaf Legacy Landscape project to provide fire consultation, planning, and implementation to private landowners in the Florida Panhandle from Pensacola to Lake City and in west Georgia as far north as the Chattahoochee Fall Line (Columbus, GA). Contact Jeremiah Cates, firstname.lastname@example.org, (850) 381-8707
Alachua Conservation Trust has a prescribed fire specialist available to assist private landowners with burn planning in Alachua, Putnam, Marion, Levy, Bradford, Clay and portions of Flagler, Volusia, Lake, Sumter, and Citrus Counties. Contact Barry Coulliette at email@example.com
FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE 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
FLORIDA LAND STEWARD PARTNERS WEB MAP TOOL
REPORT BOBWHITE 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:
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:
LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ON A PARTICULAR TOPIC?
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
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.