June 5, 2009

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

NRCS Announces Partnership Initiative For Underserved Landowners

AUBURN, Ala., June 4, 2009 – State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces June 30, 2009, as the cutoff date for a Partnership Initiative with the Alabama Forestry Commission Targeting Underserved Forest Landowners under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  Applying for EQIP is continuous; however, selecting applications for funding is completed periodically through batching periods with specific cutoff dates. 

EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers who face threats to soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land.  The 2008 Farm Bill authorized Special Emphasis funding for:  Beginning, Socially Disadvantaged, and Limited Resource Farmers and Ranchers.  Puckett said, “In Alabama, we have allocated special funds to target forest health in nine counties in the Blackbelt Region.  There are currently over 2.8 million forested acres in this area of the state.”  

Forest landowners in the following counties of the Blackbelt Region are encouraged to participate:  Bibb, Dallas, Hale, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, and Wilcox.

Conservation practices that will be targeted under the Partnership Initiative for Underserved Forest Landowners are:  Prescribed burning, firebreaks, fuel breaks, pre-commercial thinning, hardwood tree planting, loblolly tree planting, longleaf tree planting, and site preparation practices for tree planting. 

Information and eligibility requirements on EQIP are available on the Alabama NRCS website under Programs” http://www.al.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip09/index09.html).  Interested landowners can contact their local NRCS office listed in the telephone book under U.S. Department of Agriculture or online at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov



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