USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Offers Woodland Owners Opportunity to Help Sustain this Renewable Resource
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Christy Morgan
Acting Public Affairs Specialist
Lexington, KY 1-4-13—The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a federal program that provides technical and financial assistance to land users to address natural resource concerns. A special EQIP funding pool has been established in Kentucky specifically for forest land owners.
The application process for NRCS’ conservation programs is continuous, but funding selections are made at specific times throughout the year. The Kentucky NRCS first application cutoff period date for consideration for 2013 funds is January 18, 2013. Applications received after January 18, 2013, will be held until the next application cut off period, which will be April 19, 2013.
Kentucky forest lands play a vital part in the local economies of our Commonwealth. In 2012, Kentucky’s forestry sector contributed an estimated $6.3 billion of direct revenue to the state’s economy according to the University of Kentucky (UK) Department of Forestry. Timber is grown in all 120 counties and wood industries exist in 109 Kentucky counties.
Over 45% of Kentucky’s land is covered in forest and 89% of that land is estimated to be privately owned. NRCS State Conservationist for Kentucky Karen Woodrich said, “We know that much of the privately owned forest land is unmanaged. It is important that we (NRCS) encourage non-industrial private forest owners to take time to plan for the improvement and sustainability of this important renewable resource.”
Land owners that have never had a forest management plan developed for their property, or have plans that are 5 years or older and need revisions, can apply for a Conservation Activity Plan for Forest Management (CAP-FM). If approved for funding, the land owner must hire a private consulting forester who has met the certification as a technical service provider (TSP) to develop the forest management plan. A list of certified TSPs may be found at http://techreg.sc.egov.usda.gov. The consulting forester will work directly with the land owner to prepare the plan and supply all necessary documents to the local NRCS District Conservationist. The plan will include recommendations of practices that are needed to address the identified resource concerns such as: forest stand improvement, invasive plants, insect and disease issues, and much more. These recommended practices may be eligible for funding under future EQIP applications. Approved applications will receive payment for completed practices that meet with NRCS standards and specifications.
To apply for a CAP-FM, contact your local NRCS office at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.
Learn more about EQIP and other NRCS programs at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs
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