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News Release

Partnership Initiative with LRLEAN signup for Underserved Forest Landowners

Auburn, Ala. March 24, 2010

State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett with the NRCS announced April 2, 2010, as the cutoff date for a Partnership Initiative with the Limited Resource Landowner Education and Assistance Network (LRLEAN).   This is a statewide signup targeting Underserved Forest Landowners under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). 

EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers who face threats to soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land.  The 2008 Farm Bill authorized special emphasis funding for:  Beginning, Socially Disadvantaged, and Limited Resource Farmers and Ranchers.  Applying for EQIP is continuous; however, selecting applications for funding is completed periodically through batching periods with specific cutoff dates. 

The initiative will work to assist private underserved landowners apply needed forestry conservation practices that benefit soil, water, and wildlife resources.  LRLEAN and NRCS will also have the assistance of several collaborating partners: The Alabama Treasure Forest Association (ATFA), Alabama A&M University (AAMU), Tuskegee University (TU), National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Federation of Southern Cooperatives (FSC), and the Community-Based Land Development Consortium (CBLD).

Conservation practices include:  Prescribed burning, firebreaks, fuel breaks, thinning and other forest improvement practices, hardwood tree planting, loblolly tree planting, longleaf tree planting, and site preparation practices for tree planting. 

Interested producers should visit their nearest USDA Service Center to determine eligibility. Individuals are not eligible for EQIP until they have completed the Farm Bill eligibility requirements.  Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office or Farm Service Agency Office to begin this process.   NRCS field offices are listed in the telephone directory under U.S. Department of Agriculture or on-line at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov.