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Florida Land Steward Update, June 5, 2020

AGREEMENT REACHED ON HURRICANE MICHAEL STATE BLOCK GRANT NEGOTIATIONS

The State of Florida and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have announced the successful end of negotiations on the administration of $380.7 million in grant funding to help Florida’s timber industry recover following Hurricane Michael in 2018. It is expected that timber producers could begin to receive funding as soon as this fall. We will post the latest information in Florida Land Steward Updates so stay tuned for sign-up details.  Read Governor Ron DeSantis’s press release here. See more details on the Florida Forestry Association’s 411 bulletin.

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

TNC North Florida Program has received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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

PREPARE YOUR PROPERTY FOR HURRICANE SEASON

Hurricane season is here, starting June 1 and continuing through November 30. As we have learned in recent years, powerful hurricanes can make their way inland and do considerable damage to forest and agricultural lands and enterprises. There is no way to fully prepare for major devastation in advance, but there are some strategies and steps you can take to prepare yourself and your land for a major storm and recover more smoothly. See the tips in the Spring-Summer issue of the quarterly Florida Land Steward newsletter.

EMERGENCY FOREST RESTORATION PROGRAM DEADLINE FOR HURRICANE MICHAEL EXTENDED THROUGH OCTOBER 30, 2020

The USDA Florida Farm Service Agency State Committee has authorized an additional six-month extension to the April 30, 2020, Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) and Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) late filing period. This allows producers impacted by Hurricane Michael to apply for assistance under EFRP and/or ECP and be considered timely if application is made by the new deadline of October 30, 2020. Contact your local FSA office to set up an appointment. Find your local FSA office here.

CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM – FLORIDA PANTHER

Ranchers in Southwest Florida are encouraged to apply for CSP so they can be paid to help the Florida panther. Apply by June 15, 2020. Contact District Conservationist Mitchell Aman at 863-674-5700 for more information.

CONSERVATION ASSISTANCE FOR FLORIDA FARMERS AND RANCHERS IN 11 WEST FLORIDA COUNTIES

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications from agricultural producers until June 15, 2020 for a Regional Conservation Partnership Program project that improves climate resiliency. NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to eligible farmers and landowners toward conservation practices that improve natural resources in 11 Florida counties through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Producers in the following counties are encouraged to apply: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla, and Washington. The Climate Resiliency for Alabama, Florida and Georgia project in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint and Ochlockonee River Basins is led by the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District. The project area covers more than 15 million acres in eastern Alabama, western Georgia, and the Florida panhandle. For more information contact your local USDA service center.

CONSERVATION ASSISTANCE FOR FOREST IMPROVEMENTS

Agricultural producers in Florida can apply for financial assistance until June 15 for a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project to improve forested lands from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers and landowners for conservation practices that improve forest ecosystems through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). For more information contact your local USDA service center. Contact Chakesha Harvey, 352-338-3425

STATE ACRES FOR WILDLIFE ENHANCEMNT (SAFE) INITIATIVE THROUGH USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY’S CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM (CRP)

State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement allows producers to install practices that benefit high priority State wildlife conservation objectives by using targeted restoration of vital habitat. This effort is based on locally developed conservation proposals that address highest priority wildlife objectives. SAFE proposals may be developed and put forth by a Federal, State, or local agency, or by a private organization. Ideally, all partners will develop proposals under a cooperative and collaborative agreement. For more details see this USDA fact sheet about the SAFE initiative. Submit proposals by June 19, 2020. Please direct questions to Amy Roller, Agriculture Program Specialist, Farm Service Agency, amy.roller@usda.gov, 352-379-4520.

TAX TIPS FOR FOREST LANDOWNERS FOR THE 2019 TAX YEAR

The extended tax filing deadline is July 15 . The Federal income tax laws contain forestry-specific provisions that are important for those managing and conserving timber. This publication provides forest owners, foresters, loggers, and timber businesses a guide to the applicable Federal income tax laws, including the latest tax law changes, for filing 2019 tax returns. The information is not intended to render legal or accounting advice and is current as of September 30, 2019. Access the 2019 timber tax tips and more related information at https://www.timbertax.org/

HAVE AN EVENT OR RELATED NEWS TO SHARE?

Drop a line to Chris Demers, cdemers@ufl.edu

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Don’t miss out on news and events! Sign up for the regular email updates! Send an email to 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.