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Florida Land Steward Update, July 24, 2020

CONGRATULATIONS DON ASHLEY AND THEO MEADOWS OF ASHLEY FARMS: 2020 JON GOULD FLORIDA OUTSTANDING TREE FARMERS OF THE YEAR

Mr. Don Ashley and his sister, Ms. Theo Meadows, have transformed their 570-acre multi-generational tobacco farm into a showcase of sustainable multiple-use management and habitat diversity in Madison County. The family works hard to implement forestry practices that integrate timber management, wildlife habitat, soil and water conservation, and recreational opportunities. In recognition of their efforts, Ashley Farms has been selected as the 2020 Jon Gould Florida Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year and serves as a model for encouraging other landowners to become great land stewards of their forests. Read more about Ashley Farms.

HURRICANE PREPARATION AND RECOVERY GUIDES FOR FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS AND LANDOWNERS

The USDA Southeast Climate Hub with other USDA agencies and university Extension experts, have developed a set of guides for Florida agricultural producers. The guides are each tailored to a specific agricultural commodity and designed to help produces prepare for and recover from hurricane events. The guides are available on the USDA Southeast Climate Hub website. Of interest to forest landowners is the Pine Forest Landowners Guide.

summer burn in flatwoods, June 2020SIGN UP FOR THE 2020 SOUTHERN PINE BEETLE ASSISTANCE AND PREVENTION PROGRAM

The Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program is offered to eligible non-industrial private forest landowners by the Florida Forest Service through temporary grants from the USDA Forest Service. The 2020 sign-up period is through August 6, 2020.

Periodic southern pine beetle outbreaks in Florida have resulted in millions of cubic feet of pine timber killed on thousands of acres. The goal of this program is to minimize southern pine beetle damage in Florida by helping forest landowners conduct management practices that can make their pine stands less susceptible to this destructive insect pest. Forest management practices such as thinning, prescribed burning, other competition control, and use of less-susceptible pine species can improve the health of pine stands and decrease their likelihood of developing southern pine beetle infestations. For more information, see the Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program website or contact your Florida Forest Service County Forester office.

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

Do you have a cognongrass problem on property in Calhoun, Gadsden, or Liberty Counties? The 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

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD OPEN UNTIL AUGUST 2 FOR 2020-2025 AMERICAN TREE FARM STANDARDS OF SUSTAINABILITY

The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) announced a second 60-day public comment period during the review process of the ATFS Standards of Sustainability. The ATFS Standards are the benchmark for all ATFS forest certifications and its national network of certified inspectors and certificate holders. All certifications are third-party audited.

During this review period, running until August 2, the public is encouraged to provide feedback on the proposed 2020-2025 Standards of Sustainability, which reflect comments submitted during a first public comment period, conducted earlier this year. In addition, the public is also invited to submit feedback on the Requirements for Independently Managed Groups (IMGs). Read the full press release and access the information and comment form at: https://www.forestfoundation.org/atfs-standards-public-comment-period

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 Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) and Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) late filed 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.

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. Read Governor Ron DeSantis’s press release here. See more details on the Florida Forestry Association’s 411 bulletin. We will post the latest information in Florida Land Steward Updates and news blog so stay tuned for sign-up details when they are available. A webinar on this funding and forest recovery is in the works and will be announced after the sign up is open.

CHECK OUT THE FLORIDA LAND STEWARD CALENDAR OF WORKSHOPS, TOURS, WEBINARS AND OTHER RELATED EVENTS

Florida Land Steward News and Events Page Link

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.

HAVE AN EVENT OR RELATED NEWS TO SHARE?

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