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Florida Land Steward Update, March 5, 2021

WELCOME!

If you are reading this update for the first time, we welcome you to this engaged and growing network of private landowners, foresters, natural resource professionals, extension agents, and others involved in the stewardship of Florida’s forests and natural resources. Florida Land Steward Updates like this one are posted weekly or biweekly to help keep you informed of opportunities. If you know of an event, news, or assistance opportunity that is not here or on the events calendar, please share with cdemers@ufl.edu.

Here’s link to the current and back issues of the quarterly Florida Land Steward newsletter. Drop a line to cdemers@ufl.edu if you have any questions.

HURRICANE MICHAEL EFRP APPLICATIONS DEADLINE APPROACHING

Registration for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP), available to forest landowners who suffered damage from Hurricane Michael in October 2018, has been re-opened until March 11, 2021. Be sure to register if you were impacted by Hurricane Michael in 2018. To register for EFRP, contact your local Farm Service Agency.

SIGN UP FOR THE USDA’S CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM

The application deadline for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is March 26 for fiscal year 2021. Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service helps agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages adoption of new technologies and management techniques.

While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by the deadline of March 26 to ensure their applications are considered for 2021 funding.  For additional information about CSP, contact your local USDA service center.

Large panther walking. Photo courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

CSP Pays Ranchers in Southwest Florida to Help Panthers

Ranchers in Southwest Florida may be able to get paid for helping the Florida panther. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide technical and financial assistance for conservation practices that improve its habitat through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The signup deadline is March 26.

This is a Regional Conservation Partnership Program  (RCPP) project. To be eligible, a producer’s operation must be in northeastern Collier County or southwestern Hendry County, areas identified as essential for the long-term viability of the panther population. Refer to the Panther Florida Panther RCPP page and map for details. For more Information contact District Conservationist Derrick Wyle (Collier County), 352-672-2630. In Hendry County Contact District Conservationist Mitchell Aman at 863-674-5700.

Mr. Jim Strickland, 2021 Florida Land Steward of the Year, receiving his Wildlife Habitat Recognition Program sign. Photo by Luis Gonzalez.

CONGRATULATIONS MR. JIM STRICKLAND: 2021 FLORIDA LAND STEWARD OF THE YEAR

A lifelong resident of Manatee County and sixth generation Floridian with over six decades of ranching experience, Mr. Jim Strickland has developed a strong land ethic and is passionate about preserving the working and wild lands of his home state. Jim is owner of Strickland Ranch and managing partner of Blackbeard’s Ranch, both located in Manatee County. It is for his work and accomplishments on Blackbeard’s Ranch that he is recognized with the 2021 Florida Land Steward of the Year Award. More about Mr. Jim Strickland and Blackbeard’s Ranch here.

2021-2025 AMERICAN TREE FARM SYSTEM (ATFS) STANDARDS OF SUSTAINABILITY

The American Forest Foundation (AFF), the parent organization for ATFS, has released their updated standards. The new ATFS Standards of Sustainability will be released in March of 2021 and will be fully adopted on January 1, 2022. Most of the changes in the new standards are minor and include clarification, guidance, and additional resources to help forest landowners. However, a change in   Standard 4 adds the additional requirement of pesticide documentation to meet the requirements of forest certification. Herbicides are a type of pesticide. During the transitional period to the new Standards, if a landowner has not retained this information, they should work with their forester to develop records based on the information they have available (i.e., firsthand knowledge of what, when, and why a pesticide was applied). Read the latest on the 2021-2025 American Tree Farm Standards of Sustainability here: https://www.treefarmsystem.org/standards-review

Understanding the changes that are coming will help landowners prepare for their next certification visit. If you have questions regarding Tree Farm certification, please contact your local Tree Farm Inspector. Find your Florida Tree Farm Program District Representative at: https://www.treefarmsystem.org/about-fl

summer burn in flatwoods, June 2020LANDOWNER SURVEY ON FORESTRY COSTS & TRENDS – PLEASE PARTICIPATE IF YOU CAN

The Alabama Cooperative Extension has launched a survey for forest landowners in the southern states (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, MO, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA) to better understand the cost of current forestry practices and how management practices have changed. Results from this survey will be shared in a publication and will help to shape the way forestry practices are presented to stakeholders and influence policy decisions that affect landowners. The questionnaire will take about 45 minutes, but individuals can skip certain sections if they are not applicable to their forestland. Click here to take the survey. For more information about the survey, contact Dr. Adam Maggard, adam0074@auburn.edu. The survey will end March 31, 2021.

2021 FLORIDA LAND STEWARD WALL CALENDARS STILL AVAILABLE

Request your copy of the 2021 Florida Land Steward calendar while supplies last. The annual Florida Land Steward calendar features beautiful photography, habitat management tips, landowner and management highlights, resource contacts, and more. Request your calendar by sending an email to cdemers@ufl.edu with your mailing address. These are first come, first serve to interested landowners.

APPLICATIONS STILL BEING ACCEPTED FOR THE HURRICANE MICHAEL TIMBER RECOVERY BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM– MAKE SURE YOU ENROLL IF YOU WERE IMPACTED BY THIS STORM

Registration for the Florida Timber Recovery Block Grant Program  is available to forest landowners who suffered damage from Hurricane Michael in October 2018. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program is managed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) in conjunction with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and the Florida Forest Service (FFS), which will provide technical assistance to forest landowners required to produce documentation to receive compensation for their loss. The registration deadline was November 20, 2020 but applications submitted after that date will be considered if funding is available.

The direct link to the Block Grant web page is at FloridaDisaster.org/timber. Register there to begin the application process. For questions about the registration or application process call the FDEM hotline at 850-270-8317.

For more details and tips on the application process and other information see the UF/IFAS Timber Recovery Block Grant blog post. .

FUNDING AVAILABLE FROM THE NATURE CONSERVANCY (TNC) TO TREAT COGONGRASS IN CENTRAL PANHANDLE REGION OF FLORIDA

Do you have a cogongrass problem on property in Calhoun, Gadsden, or Liberty Counties?  The TNC North Florida Program has funding for 120 total acres of cogongrass treatment in counties surrounding the Apalachicola National Forest. Private landowners in Calhoun, Gadsden, and Liberty Counties who would like to be considered for this funding should contact Brian Pelc, (850) 222-0199 x103, bpelc@tnc.org

What does cogongrass look like? See this identification guide for cogongrass.

SIGN UP FOR FLORIDA LAND STEWARD EMAIL UPDATES

Don’t miss out on news and events! Sign up for the regular email updates! Send an email to Chris at cdemers@ufl.edu to be added to the email listserv. Florida Land Steward email updates are sent once a week or every other week and include the latest calendar of workshops, tours and other events; a link to the current issue of this quarterly newsletter; updates on cost-share and other assistance programs, opportunities, and resources; and other stewardship related news and information.

UPCOMING EVENTS AND WEBINARS

See our Events Calendar and News page for upcoming events, webinars, webinar and event materials, and the latest news on assistance programs and other opportunities and information.

ACCESS THE QUARTERLY FLORIDA LAND STEWARD NEWSLETTER ONLINE

Access the current and back issues of the quarterly Florida Land Steward newsletter here.

HAVE AN EVENT OR RELATED NEWS TO SHARE?

Drop a line with the details and link(s) to Chris Demers at cdemers@ufl.edu.

Florida Land Steward Program LogoCONSIDER A GIFT IN SUPPORT OF THE UF/IFAS FLORIDA LAND STEWARD PROGRAM

The mission of the UF/IFAS Florida Land Steward Program is to help and encourage private landowners to actively manage their land resources for long-term environmental, economic, and social benefits. This program is largely supported by partners and donors. If this program has made a difference in your land stewardship efforts please consider a gift. Support the UF/IFAS Florida Land Steward Program here. Thanks!