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Florida Land Steward Update, February 19, 2021

Old world climbing fern

Old world climbing fern, an aggressive invasive plant that grows as a vine in central and south Florida. Photo by Chris Demers

NATIONAL INVASIVE SPECIES AWARENESS WEEK IS FEBRUARY 22-28, 2021

National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) is an international event  to raise awareness about invasive species, the threat that they pose, and what can be done to prevent their spread. Throughout National Invasive Species Awareness Week, the North America Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) will host daily webinars on management priorities, agency updates, species, and more. Click Here for details and registration for these webinars.

The Florida Invasive Species Partnership (FISP) has kicked off the FL Stay-at-Home Weed Wrangle. Help protect Florida by removing one or more invasive plants from your landscape and be entered to win some awesome prizes: Learn more and get involved in the Stay at Home Weed Wrangle!  Also, be sure to follow FISP on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for information on common landscape invasive plants, landscaping with natives, and our partners and programs that provide info or assistance. For a full list of virtual and in the in-person volunteer events happening this month, click here.

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

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.

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.

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!