Michigan landowners encouraged to maximize the value of forestlands through conservation
EAST LANSING, July 19, 2013 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow announce today new federal resources for eligible Michigan forest landowners to help them maximize the value of their forestland. Forestland conservation measures can lead to more profitable timber, but also provide better wildlife habitat, additional recreational opportunities, as well as cleaner air and water.
NRCS is making available $200,000 in financial assistance for Michigan non-industrial private forest landowners to help develop forest management plans.
Funding for this effort comes from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, one of the Farm Bill’s key conservation programs
Applications for financial assistance are due by Aug. 2. To apply, contact your local USDA service center. Landowners with the highest ranking applications will receive financial assistance to have a forest management plan developed for their land by a professional forester.
“Michigan’s forests support hundreds of thousands of jobs and offer countless recreational opportunities like hunting and snowmobiling,” said Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. “Thanks to the Farm Bill, Michigan landowners can get additional help to develop a forest management plan that promotes job growth and conserves our beautiful natural resources and wildlife habitats. I encourage landowners across our state to apply.”
Forest management plans provide the landowner detailed information about species composition, potentially harmful pests and other ecosystem components of the property and surrounding landscape. Through working with NRCS conservationists or professional foresters, landowners can enhance their land for wildlife, timber and other uses.
“Managed forests provide ample benefits to the landowner, environment and economy,” NRCS State Conservationist Garry Lee said. “We hope this program encourages landowners to enhance forests on their land, leading to cleaner water and air, better wildlife habitat and more valuable timber. Michigan is home to 400,000 non-industrial private forests that could potentially benefit from conservation.”
The forest products industry in Michigan already provides $12 billion to the economy and supports 150,000 jobs, according to the Michigan Forest Products Council. Over 12 million acres of forestland in Michigan are privately owned, accounting for more than one-fifth of all land in the state. A forest management plan can help a landowner get the most economic benefits from their land in an environmentally sustainable manner.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service helps America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners conserve the nation’s soil, water, air and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions that benefit both the landowner and the environment.
For more information on this initiative or other NRCS conservation efforts, contact your local USDA service center.