$12 million available for forest management practices

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe

For use in making payments to forest landowners with land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is making $12 million available in exchange for implementing healthy forest management practices.

The Forest Management Incentive can be signed up for by current CRP participants, which will provide financial incentives to CRP landowners.

“We are offering CRP landowners an opportunity to use forestry practices for a more targeted approach to improve forest health and wildlife habitat on their land,” said USDA Farm Service Agency administrator Richard Fordyce. “The Forest Management Incentive enables landowners to maximize the conservation outcomes on their land, such as supporting wildlife, conserving soil and improving water quality.”

According to USDA, less than 10% of land currently enrolled in CRP is dedicated to forestland currently and nearly 2 million acres of CRP forestland, if properly managed, can have enormous benefits for natural resources by reducing soil erosion, protecting water quality, increasing water quantity, and diversifying local farm operations and rural economies.

CRP participants will receive the incentive payment once tree thinning and/or other authorized forest management practices are completed, and the incentive payment is the lower of the actual cost of completing the practice or 75% of the payment rate offered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service if the practice is offered through NRCS conservation programs.

Active CRP contracts involving forest cover can enroll but does not include active CRP contracts that expire within two years.

If a CRP participant wants to enter into tree thinning and prescribed burning, they will be required to comply with the standards and specifications of their established CRP contract.

To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com