Wednesday, June 24, 2020

FLORIDA LAND STEWARD UPDATE 6/24/20


PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD OPEN FOR 2020-2025 AMERICAN TREE FARM STANDARDS OF SUSTAINABILITY The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) announced a second 60-day public comment period during the review process of the ATFS Standards of Sustainability. The ATFS Standards are the benchmark for all ATFS forest certifications and its national network of certified inspectors and certificate holders. All certifications are third-party audited.

During this review period, running until August 2, the public is encouraged to provide feedback on the proposed 2020-2025 Standards of Sustainability, which reflect comments submitted during a first public comment period, conducted earlier this year. In addition, the public is also invited to submit feedback on the Requirements for Independently Managed Groups (IMGs). 
Read the full press release and access the information and comment form at: https://www.forestfoundation.org/atfs-standards-public-comment-period 

SIGN UP FOR THE LONGLEAF PINE PRIVATE LANDOWNER INCENTIVE PROGRAM
Private forest landowners interested in establishing and managing a longleaf pine forest are encouraged to sign up. This enrollment period is open until July 8, 2020. The program offers landowners technical guidance and incentive payments for conducting certain approved forest management practices that help establish or improve longleaf pine stands. The program offers incentive payments for: longleaf pine seedling establishment, timber stand improvement, prescribed burning, native plant understory establishment, mechanical underbrush treatments, and invasive plant control treatments.
The Longleaf Pine Private Landowner Incentive Program application period is open through July 8th. The application form, 2020 Technical Guidelines booklet, and general information are available on the program webpage at: https://www.fdacs.gov/Divisions-Offices/Florida-Forest-Service/For-Landowners/Programs/Longleaf-Pine-Private-Landowner-Incentive-Program
For more information contact your Florida Forest Service County Forester or Jen Tucker-Jenks, Conservation Programs Manager, (850) 681-5874, Jennifer.Tucker-Jenks@FDACS.gov

FUNDING AVAILABLE FROM THE NATURE CONSERVANCY (TNC) TO TREAT COGONGRASS IN CENTRAL PANHANDLE REGION OF FLORIDATNC North Florida Program has received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for 120 total acres of cogongrass treatment in counties surrounding the Apalachicola National Forest. Private landowners in Calhoun, Gadsden, and Liberty Counties who would like to be considered for this funding should contact Brian Pelc, (850) 222-0199 x103, bpelc@tnc.org

AGREEMENT REACHED ON HURRICANE MICHAEL STATE BLOCK GRANT NEGOTIATIONSThe State of Florida and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have announced the successful end of negotiations on the administration of $380.7 million in grant funding to help Florida’s timber industry recover following Hurricane Michael in 2018. It is expected that timber producers could begin to receive funding as soon as this fall. Read Governor Ron DeSantis’s press release here. See more details on the Florida Forestry Association’s 411 bulletin.  We will post the latest information in Florida Land Steward Updates so stay tuned for sign-up details.  


EMERGENCY FOREST RESTORATION PROGRAM DEADLINE FOR HURRICANE MICHAEL EXTENDED THROUGH OCTOBER 30, 2020The USDA Florida Farm Service Agency State Committee has authorized an additional six-month extension to the April 30, 2020, Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) and Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) late filed period. This allows producers impacted by Hurricane Michael to apply for assistance under EFRP and/or ECP and be considered timely if application is made by the new deadline of October 30, 2020. Contact your local FSA office to set up an appointment.  Find your local FSA office here.

TAX TIPS FOR FOREST LANDOWNERS FOR THE 2019 TAX YEAR
The extended tax filing deadline is July 15 . The Federal income tax laws contain forestry-specific provisions that are important for those managing and conserving timber. This publication provides forest owners, foresters, loggers, and timber businesses a guide to the applicable Federal income tax laws, including the latest tax law changes, for filing 2019 tax returns. The information is not intended to render legal or accounting advice and is current as of September 30, 2019. Access the 2019 timber tax tips and more related information at https://www.timbertax.org/ 

FUNDING AVAILABLE TO COVER CONSULTANT FOREST STEWARDSHIP MANAGEMENT PLAN PREPARATIONThe 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, kevin@attack-one.com or John McGuire, jmcguire@attack-one.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, jcates@talltimbers.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 act.barryc@gmail.com


FLORIDA LAND STEWARD PARTNERS WEB MAP TOOL
Use this web tool to identify resources at a local watershed scale. The map is at this link: http://viewer.apps.pflcc.databasin.org/v1/index.html. More about this effort and how to use the tool here.



ONGOING INITIATIVES / SERVICES / OPPORTUNTIES
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FLORIDA LAND STEWARD PARTNERS WEB MAP TOOL
Use this web tool to identify resources and assistance at a local watershed scale. The map is at this link: http://viewer.apps.pflcc.databasin.org/v1/index.html.



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:

SOMETHING BUGGING YOUR TREES? - CHECK OUT THE FOREST AND TREE 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 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 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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