Ag funds available for private land owners
Posted: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 2:53 pm
Nashville – Private forest landowners seeking assistance to manage their forests can now get help with the cost of developing a detailed forest management plan.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is currently accepting applications from landowners to receive funding to hire experts who specialize in developing multi-resource forest management plans.
The application deadline is Jan. 15, 2010.
“We want to make sure Tennessee forest landowners know that there are cost share programs available, so they can use them to improve natural resources on their private working lands,” said John Rissler, Acting State Conservationist for the NRCS in Tennessee.
“Conservation practices help the land by making it more productive through improved water quantity and quality, air quality and wildlife habitat.”
Private lands certification, carbon markets, biofuels initiatives and potential new tree planting programs present a myriad of forest management opportunities for private forest landowners. Many of the federal, state and private programs associated with these opportunities require forestlands be managed based on a tract (i.e. property) level, multi-resource forest management plan.
Having a plan in place helps provide the landowner with a path to achieve their objectives and positions them to participate in other forest management programs.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry provides similar services with year-round sign-up through its Forest Stewardship Program. Landowners interested in either plan are advised to contact their local Division of Forestry area forester who will help them determine which plan is more appropriate.
“Demand for multi-resource forest management plans is on the increase as landowners position themselves to take advantage of new opportunities to implement forest management on their properties,” said State Forester Steve Scott.
“Our Forest Stewardship Program has been providing this service for years, but we are seeking partnerships with other government agencies and the private sector to ensure the short term demand for multi-resource forest management plans can be met.
“NRCS’s EQIP is one such example of how we hope to get more assistance to landowners to meet their individual objectives, which ultimately benefit their surrounding region through the multiple benefits forests provide to society.”
More information on these and other forest land assistance programs can be found online http://www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov/ or http://www.tn.gov/agriculture/forestry/, or by contacting your local TDA Division of Forestry office or NRCS District Conservationist office listed in the phone directory under state and federal government.