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News Release

Texas NRCS Announces Funding for Producers Participating in the Prairie View A&M University Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program

Lori Ziehr
(254) 742-9881

April 7, 2022, Temple, TX – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas is offering financial assistance to African American forest landowners in east Texas to implement conservation practices that can help increase the land’s value and improve its forest and wildlife habitats.

“This program is offered in a partnership effort to empower black landowners to retain their land, generate income and maintain healthy and productive forests.” Kristy Oates, NRCS state conservationist in Texas said. “Through access to NRCS’ technical assistance, as well as education, capital and estate planning services from our partners, now their forestland has the potential to become an economic, environmental and social asset for the family.”

The goal of the program, offered through a partnership with Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), is to restore and conserve threatened, African American-owned forestland in the southern United States and enhance family wealth by increasing forest-owner income and land asset value through forest management.

"This program will undoubtedly offer African American landowners a new path forward when it comes to generational land retention," said Clarence Bunch, PVAMU Cooperative Extension Program (CEP) Agriculture and National Resources Program Leader. "We can make a true difference in shaping the face of land ownership in America."

The SFLR Program is a collaboration of federal, state, local, and community-based organizations to help stem the loss of land and eliminate barriers to African American forest landowners to help keep private forest land in the family. This program is a partnership between the SFLR Network, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Endowment, the USDA Forest Service, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, The JPB Foundation, and American Forest Foundation.

NRCS can help landowners inventory, analyze, and evaluate the potential of their forest land to produce lumber, wildlife habitat, and other environmental benefits.

Through the SFLR- (EQIP) Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS provides technical expertise as well as financial assistance to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to implement conservation practices that help them thrive. Financial assistance under SFLR prioritizes applications where forest management is planned and heirs’ property has been identified using alternative forms of documentation supported by the 2018 Farm Bill.

SFLR-EQIP is available to producers working with Prairie View A&M University in the following east Texas counties: Anderson, Angelina, Bowie,  Camp, Cass, Chambers, Cherokee, Franklin, Freestone, Galveston, Gregg, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Henderson, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Montgomery, Morris, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Red River, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Walker, Waller and Wood.

Practices being offered include, but are not limited to, tree and shrub establishment, forest stand improvement, prescribed burning, upland wildlife habitat management, access control, critical area planting, diversion, forest management plan, forest stand improvement, grade stabilization, streambank protection, stream crossing, stream habitat improvement, and wetland restoration. To apply for EQIP assistance, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center.