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Florida Land Steward Update, February 12, 2021

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. 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/why a pesticide was applied).

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

Read the latest on the 2021-2025 American Tree Farm Standards of Sustainability here: https://www.treefarmsystem.org/standards-review

LANDOWNER 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.

Florida Land Steward Program LogoWINTER-SPRING 2021 ISSUE OF QUARTERLY FLORIDA LAND STEWARD NEWSLETTER NOW AVAILABLE

In this issue: Mr. Jim Strickland: A Fixture in Florida Conservation, University of Florida Launches new Fire University Podcast, Get Acquainted with the 2021-2025 American Tree Farm System Standards of Sustainability, Enrollment is Open for Hurricane Sally Emergency Assistance, Applications still accepted for the Florida Timber Recovery Block Grant, UF/IFAS Florida Land Steward Program Web Site Updated, Timber Price Update, and Certified Landowners

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

SIGN UP FOR 2021 AGRICULTURAL CONSERVATION EASEMENTS

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides financial and technical assistance to conserve working lands and wetlands through two programs: Agricultural Land Easements and Wetland Reserve Easements. Although applications are accepted on a continuous basis, funding selections are typically made once a year.

Agricultural landowners and Indian tribes can apply for a Wetland Reserve Easement to restore wetlands, protect wildlife habitat and recharge groundwater on their property. Eligible landowners can enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. NRCS provides financial assistance to conservation partners for purchasing an Agricultural Land Easement that protects the agricultural use of cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland.

Applications are available online. Contact Crenel Francis at 352-338-9508, crenel.francis@usda.gov for questions and submissions. Applications to fund agricultural easements in Florida are being accepted until February 12, 2021.

ENROLLMENT IS OPEN FOR HURRICANE SALLY EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE

Farmers and forest landowners in four Florida Panhandle counties can begin applying today for additional Hurricane Sally assistance through the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). Enrollment for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) and Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) runs through March 4, 2021. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services encourages eligible producers to apply.

The activation of the ECP and EFRP programs are for those with farmland and private forestland damaged by natural disasters in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties. This assistance is in addition to USDA FSA disaster loans through the Secretarial designations for Hurricane Sally-impacted producers in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Holmes, Washington, Calhoun, Gadsden, Jackson, and other contiguous counties. Enrollment for ECP and EFRP will be facilitated by county FSA offices, as with loans and other disaster assistance programs.

See the USDA’s Disaster Recovery Assistance Tool to get started.

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.

2021 WOMAN LANDOWNER WORKSHOPS SET (GEORGIA LOCATIONS)

Women landowners are invited to a series of workshops to equip them with resources, knowledge, and confidence to be engaged in land management. Topics will include land management necessities, harvesting basics, reforestation techniques, and more. See the Land & Ladies Event Page for dates, details and registration.

summer burn in flatwoods, June 2020UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA LAUNCHES NEW FIRE UNIVERSITY PODCAST

The UF Disturbance Ecology and Ecological Restoration (DEER) Lab has just launched a podcast named Fire University in a podcast network called Natural Resources University. The network features four science-based podcasts with leading scientists in each topic area. Topics include Deer University focused on white-tailed deer biology and management, Habitat University focused on the science of wildlife habitat management, Pond University focused on delivering the latest science about managing fishing ponds and aquatic ecosystems, and Fire University which delivers the latest research and science on fire ecology and related wildlife and forest management.

The Natural Resources University (NRU) podcasts are available at: https://naturalresourcesuniversity.libsyn.com/

The Fire University Podcasts are available at: https://fireuniversity.libsyn.com/

These podcasts are all available on all the major podcast platforms and people can follow them @UFDEERLab and @NRUniversity where additional content related to natural resource management is posted. For more information contact Dr. Marcus Lashley, (352) 846-0870, marcus.lashley@ufl.edu

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!