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Forestry Assistance Programs

Federal and State Money Available for the Forest Owner

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There are a variety of U.S. Federal forestry assistance programs available to assist people with their forestry and conservation needs. The following forestry assistance programs, some financial and some technical, are major programs available to the forest landowner in the United States. These programs are designed to help a landowner with the cost of tree planting. Most of these programs are cost-share programs that will pay a percentage of the establishment cost of the trees.

You should first study the delivery flow for assistance which starts at the local level. You will have to inquire, sign up, and be approved locally in your specific conservation district. It takes some persistence and you must be prepared to work and cooperate with a bureaucratic process that some people would rather not put up with. Find the nearest National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office for assistance.

The Farm Bill authorizes billions of dollars in funding for conservation programs. Forestry is certainly a major part. These conservation programs were created to improve natural resources on America's private lands. Forest owners have used millions of those dollars for improvement of their forested properties.

I list the major programs and sources of forestry assistance. I have tried to include a contact for you to receive more information. However, you need to be aware that there are other sources for assistance on a state and local level. Your local NRCS office will know these and point you in the right direction.

Environmental Quality Improvement Program (EQIP)

The EQIP program provides technical assistance and cost-share to eligible landowners for forestry practices, such as site preparation and planting of hardwood and pine trees, fencing to keep livestock out of the forest, forest road stabilization, timber stand improvement (TSI) and invasive species control. Priority is given to projects with multiple management practices to be completed over a number of years.

Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP)

The WHIP program provides technical assistance and cost-share to eligible landowners who install wildlife habitat improvement practices on their land. These practices may include tree and shrub planting, prescribed burning, invasive species control, creation of forest openings, riparian buffer establishment and fencing livestock from the forest.

Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)

WRP is a voluntary program that provides technical assistance and financial incentives to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring marginal land from agriculture. Landowners that enter into WRP may be paid an easement payment in exchange for enrolling their land. Program emphasis is on restoring wet cropland to bottomland hardwoods.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

The CRP reduces soil erosion, protects the Nation's ability to produce food and fiber, reduces sedimentation in streams and lakes, improves water quality, establishes wildlife habitat, and enhances forest and wetland resources. It encourages farmers to convert highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative cover.

Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP)

BCAP provides financial assistance to producers or entities that deliver eligible biomass material to designated biomass conversion facilities for use as heat, power, biobased products or biofuels. Initial assistance will be for the Collection, Harvest, Storage and Transportation (CHST) costs associated with the delivery of eligible materials.

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