Hurricane Idalia brought significant impacts to many areas along the Gulf coast of Florida, northern Florida, and into Georgia, the Carolinas, and beyond. Following are some program updates and resources that may be of assistance to those in the early stages of recovery from the storm.
See the latest Hurricane Preparation and Recovery blog post for helpful links and recent webinar recordings.
FEMA has a website dedicated to Hurricane Idalia recovery assistance: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/current/hurricane-idalia
USDA Disaster Assistance
USDA offers a variety of programs to help farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, communities, and businesses that have been hard hit by natural disaster events. Below you’ll find available Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs; visit farmers.gov for all USDA programs that can help agricultural producers recover.
The Emergency Conservation Program and Emergency Forest Restoration Program are authorized to assist landowners and forest stewards with financial and technical assistance to restore damaged farmland or forests.
USDA also offers disaster assistance programs important to livestock, fruit and vegetable, specialty and perennial crop producers who have fewer risk management options. See farmers.gov for additional USDA programs that can help with recovery.
Farm loans: USDA FSA offers a variety of loans available including emergency loans that are triggered by disaster declarations and operating loans that can assist producers with credit needs. You can use these loans to replace essential property, purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed, or refinance farm-related debts, and other needs.
Documentation: It’s critical to keep accurate records to document all losses following a devastating weather event. Producers are advised to document by taking time and date-stamped video or pictures prior to and after the loss. Other common documentation options include purchase records, production records, vaccination records, bank or other loan documents, and third-party certification.
More storms are brewing. Keep an eye on the tropics at the NOAA Hurricane Center.
USDA EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR EMERGENCY CONSERVATION PROGRAM IN 28 COUNTIES AFFECTED BY HURRICANE IAN
Apply by September 25
The USDA Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) provides financial assistance to producers to help restore farmland to pre-disaster conditions. Approved ECP applicants may receive up to 75 percent of the cost of an approved restoration activity. Limited resource producers, socially disadvantaged participants and beginning farmers and ranchers may receive up to 90 percent cost-share.
The approved ECP practices under this authorization for Hurricane Ian recovery include: removing debris from farmland; grading, shaping, releveling, or similar measures: replacing or repairing permanent fences; and restoring conservation structures and other installations.
The approved counties for ECP signup are Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, and Volusia. For more details see the USDA ECP Website. Find your USDA Service Center here.
CONGRATULATIONS TERRY AND HOWARD PUTNAL: 2023 FLORIDA JON GOULD OUTSTANDING TREE FARMER OF THE YEAR!
The Florida Tree Farm Program is proud to recognize Mr. Terry Putnal and, his father, Howard Putnal (in memoriam) as the 2023 Jon Gould Florida Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year. The Putnals’ operation exemplifies The American Tree Farm System’s four critical points of light – Wood, Water, Recreation, and Wildlife. Terry’s land management strategy is a great example of how to responsibly use forestry practices “in the right place” to meet economic goals. Guided by his father’s passion for forestry, Terry provides a positive impact to fellow forest owners and is very worthy of this honor.
Read more about the Putnal’s Tree Farm in the Florida Land Steward 2023 Florida Jon Gould Outstanding Tree Farmer blog post.
WILD TURKEY QUESTION: WHAT DOES HIGH-QUALITY NESTING COVER LOOK LIKE?
Dr. Marcus Lashley has had many questions asking “what does high quality nesting cover look like??” Working with a colleague and graduate students at University of Tennessee, they put together an excellent video to help answer this question. The video is in TN but the discussion of vegetation structure is certainly applicable to our habitats in FL See what wild turkey nesting cover looks like here.
REPORT ALL YOUR WILD TURKEY SIGHTINGS THIS SUMMER
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s 2023 wild turkey summer survey has launched! Landowners, citizen scientists, conservationists, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts are invited to take part in this important annual survey.
ENROLL IN ONLINE FOREST LANDOWNER ACADEMY
Are you new to forestry and land management? Need a good primer on forest management concepts and next steps? Hard to fit travel for tours and workshops in your busy schedule? Need a course in a self-paced format that you can take on your own time? This course is for you! Forest landowners, and others in need of forest management information, are encouraged to enroll in this self-paced, online course to connect with forest management experts at the University of Florida and receive quality core educational content on forestry and multiple-use stewardship concepts.
The 7 course modules cover a variety of topics on understanding your forest resources, developing your management plan, timber management, marketing forest products, other forest enterprises such as pine straw and hunting leases, wildlife management, and planning for the future. Each module includes recorded video from the field or virtual classroom, links to references, and an assessment where you can apply what you’ve learned to your land or situation. The cost of the course is $150. Those completing the course will earn a University of Florida Certificate of Completion.
See and share course details in the Forest Landowner Academy blog post.
Direct link to enroll in the Forest Landowner Academy:
Questions about the course can be directed to Chris Demers, firstname.lastname@example.org, (352) 846-2375.
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Don’t miss out on news and events! Sign up for the regular email updates! Send an email to Chris at email@example.com 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 the quarterly Florida Land Steward newsletter; updates on cost-share and other assistance programs, opportunities, and resources; and other stewardship related news and information.
See our Events Calendar and News page for upcoming events and ongoing programs, initiatives, and opportunities.
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 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONSIDER 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!