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News Release

Funds Available to Mississippi for Longleaf Pine Initiative

Contact:
Kavanaugh Breazeale
601.965.5205 EXT 134


United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
McCoy Federal Building
100 W. Capitol Street, Suite 1321
Jackson, MS 39269
 
For more information, contact
Kavanaugh Breazeale
601.965.5205. Ext 134

robert.k.breazeale@ms.usda.gov

 

NEWS RELEASE                                                 

For Immediate Release

January 19, 2017

 

Funds Available to Mississippi for Longleaf Pine Initiative

Deadline: February 17th for Landowners Wanting Assistance in Planting Longleaf

Jackson, Miss. – Mississippi landowners wanting to create or restore longleaf pine stands can apply for financial assistance with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The deadline to apply is February 17th.

USDA NRCS today announced funding is available to aid forest managers working to restore longleaf ecosystems on private lands in nine states.  Longleaf pine forests nearly vanished, but a coordinated conservation effort, led by USDA and other conservation partners, is helping this unique ecosystem of the Southeast recover.

NRCS’ Longleaf Pine Initiative (LLPI), now in its seventh year, has helped restore more than 350,000 acres of longleaf forests. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to help landowners and land managers plant longleaf as well as manage longleaf forests through practices like prescribed burning.

The Longleaf Pine Initiative is offered under the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) to landowners in Central and Southern Mississippi with multiple resource management concerns. Longleaf pines provide valuable forest products, pine straw production, scenic beauty, good wildlife habitat and harbor many threatened and endangered species. Longleaf pine is also the best tree species to use in a silvopasture system. These forests are home to some of the most diverse plant communities in the South.

Landowners in Mississippi have realized the economic value of a pole size longleaf pine stand. The price the landowners are receiving for their high-quality, straight-grained dimensional lumber and their long straight poles and pilings is attracting more people to plant longleaf pines. Timber buyers recognize the quality of these trees and are paying top prices for the products.

Recent nursery and silvicultural improvements have improved the quality of longleaf seedlings and reduced the amount of time it takes to get the seedlings up and out of the grass stage. These improvements allow the longleaf pine to compete with the early growth rates of other Southern pines.

Longleaf pine is more resistant to insect and disease pests such as Southern pine beetles and fusiform rust than other Southern pines. Longleaf pine is also more resistant to fire than other Southern pines and can be burned at an early age maintaining early successional habitat, benefitting many wildlife species like bobwhite quail.

The longleaf pines produce longer needles that are preferred landscape mulch, and the sale of pine straw provides a steady source of income from these stands. Longleaf pine needles are longer and easier to bale, last longer than other mulches and have a distinguished red color that enhances the landscape.  Some landowners report they are making more money from selling pine straw than selling timber. This could also provide an additional source of income for a small forest landowner.

Finally, longleaf pine is the best species to use in a silvopasture system due to the smaller crown density, which allows more sunlight to filter through the tree crown canopy to the grass below. The deadline to apply is February 17th.

For additional information about the Longleaf Pine Initiative, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/. To find your local NRCS office, visit http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=MS&agency=NRCS.