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EQIP program provides funding for forest landowners

forestry12Are you interested in improving the health and productivity of your forest land but don’t know where to start? The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can offer expert advice and financial assistance to help you better manage your property.

NRCS now has more than $800,000 in funding available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for forestland planning and conservation. A Forestry Conservation Activity Plan (CAP #106) is usually the first step in this process. The CAP #106 is personalized to the landowner’s property, goals and objectives, and includes a list of natural resource specialists who can offer assistance and advice. VDOF foresters can serve as another resource for landowners who want to manage their land for specific purposes such as recreation or wildlife habitat.

The CAP outlines recommended conservation practices and step-by-step instructions to reach the landowner’s goals. Eligible forestry practices for implementation include establishing or reestablishing forestland; stabilizing logging roads, trails and landings, and improving existing privately-owned, non-commercial forestland. Efforts to restore longleaf pine in its historic Eastern Virginia range are receiving special emphasis.

CAP #106 preparation expenses and associated conservation practices are eligible for incentive payments under EQIP. NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at specific times. Interested landowners are encouraged to apply before the next cutoff (Feb. 15, 2013) for application review to be eligible for funding.

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that provides technical and financial assistance to help landowners solve natural resource problems on their crop, pasture, and forestland. To learn more about the program and eligibility requirements, interested farmers and forest landowners should contact their local VDOF Senior Area Forester or the NRCS Service Center.

The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians.  Headquartered in Charlottesville, the Agency has forestry staff members assigned to every county to provide citizen service and public safety protection across the Commonwealth.  VDOF is an equal opportunity provider.

With nearly 16 million acres of forestland and more than 144,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products and related industries, Virginia forests provide more than $27.5 Billion annually in benefits to the Commonwealth.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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