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Forest management plan a good investment

By LISA MONTI

Farmers, agricultural producers and private forest landowners who want to learn how to better manage their forest land can get financial and technical assistance from an initiative offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Many landowners in Mississippi forget that their forestlands are a potential source of additional income,” said Alan Holditch, NRCS state forester. “A good forest management plan is a great investment toward addressing the resources for maximum financial production.”

Participants in the Forest Management Plan/Conservation Activity Plan Initiative receive a detailed plan laying out the best approach to restore timber stands and manage forest lands. The plan, prepared by a certified technical service provider, will spell out how to restore declining wildlife species, plants and critical habitat. Advice on site preparation, prescribed burns and how and planting trees also will be included in the individual plans.

Interested landowners should contact their local USDA service center where they can choose from a list of technical service providers who will develop a forestry management plan based on location and need of the landowner.

“Management professionals meet with the customer on their land and discuss which practices will best benefit them,” said NCRS spokesman Kavanaugh Breazeale.

A portion of the cost to prepare and implement the plan will be covered by NRCS.

CAP is funded through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program.

All NRCS financial-assistance programs offer a continuous sign-up, but to be considered for CAP funding in the 2016 fiscal year, applications must be received by March 18.

Those interested in becoming a technical service provider can visit http://techreg.usda.gov for information on TSP registration and approval. Selection is based on training and proof of education, knowledge, skills and abilities.

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