WI Storm Damage Cost-sharing Available

The WI DNR and USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are both offering cost-sharing funds to assist Wisconsin woodland owners with storm damage clean up.

WI DNR Chief State Forester, Fred Souba, approved the use of emergency Wisconsin Forest Landowner Grant Program (WFLGP) funds for woodland owners statewide affected by high winds, tornadoes, and flooding which commenced on August 20, 2018 and is outlined in Governor Walker’s Executive Order #306.

Applications through your local WI DNR forester will be accepted on a continuous basis through the end of the fiscal year and if approved will receive immediate funding.  Emergency Funding Request should be written at the top of the application for priority processing.  Application must meet WFLGP requirements and eligibility criteria.  The maximum cost share amount is $10,000.  Landowners will be reimbursed for up to 60% of their expenses for practices approved by their WI DNR forester.  Landowners will have 24 months to complete the approved practices.

NRCS is offering cost-sharing assistance for storm damage through their Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) Special Incentive Opportunities – 2018 Storm Relief.  These funds are only available for select counties as designed on the MAP. 

Both Foresters and Landowners should communicate with their local NRCS District Conservationist in their local Service Center as soon as possible.  Landowner eligibility rules apply, however, Forest Management Plans are not required for this sign up.  All applications are due to select NRCS service centers by November 16, 2018.   This sign up is targeting but not limited to Conservation Practices Standards Forest Stand Improvement and Woody Residue Treatment.  The resource concern for these practices are degraded plant condition; wildfire, excessive biomass accumulation and or degraded plant condition; excessive plant pressure (insect & disease).

 

Federal Federal Funding Available for Conservation Practices

NRCS Announces EQIP Signup for 2019 Funding, Apply by November 16, 2018

Providing Conservation Practices to Protect Natural Resources

Farmers and forest landowners will want to plan ahead and sign up early for USDA conservation funding. Angela Biggs, USDA−Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist in Wisconsin, announced farmers and forest landowners interested in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) need to apply by November 16, 2018, for funding in 2019. Applications are being taken at all USDA Service Centers  in Wisconsin.

EQIP is the primary program available to woodland conservation work including writing management plans, offering payments for over 110 basic conservation practices. Last year, Wisconsin received over $35 million in funds for EQIP practices.

 

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Farmers Invited to Cardinal-Hickory Creek Project Meetings

MADISON – Farmers whose land may be affected by the proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek power line should attend one of three meetings scheduled in November, where they will be able to talk with staff from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection who are preparing an agricultural impact statement. 

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USDA Resumes Continuous Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment

One-Year Extension Available to Holders of Many Expiring Contracts through Continuous Signup

WASHINGTON, June 1, 2018 – As part of a 33-year effort to protect sensitive lands and improve water quality and wildlife habitat on private lands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will resume accepting applications for the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Eligible farmers, ranchers, and private landowners can sign up at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office between June 4 and Aug. 17, 2018.

“The Conservation Reserve Program is an important component of the suite of voluntary conservation programs USDA makes available to agricultural producers, benefiting both the land and wildlife. On the road, I often hear firsthand how popular CRP is for our recreational sector; hunters, fishermen, conservationists and bird watchers,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “CRP also is a powerful tool to encourage agricultural producers to set aside unproductive, marginal lands that should not be farmed to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, provide habitat for wildlife and boost soil health.”

FSA stopped accepting applications last fall for the CRP continuous signup (excluding applications for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and CRP grasslands). This pause allowed USDA to review available acres and avoid exceeding the 24 million-acre CRP cap set by the 2014 Farm Bill. New limited practice availability and short sign up period helps ensure that landowners with the most sensitive acreage will enroll in the program and avoid unintended competition with new and beginning farmers seeking leases. CRP enrollment currently is about 22.7 million acres.

2018 Signup for CRP

For this year’s signup, limited priority practices are available for continuous enrollment. They include grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others. To view a full list of practices, please visit the CRP Continuous Enrollment Period page.

FSA will use updated soil rental rates to make annual rental payments, reflecting current values. It will not offer incentive payments as part of the new signup.

USDA will not open a general signup this year, however, a one-year extension will be offered to existing CRP participants with expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less. Producers eligible for an extension will receive a letter with more information.

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2018 Omnibus Bill Nixes DUNS and SAM Requirements for Farmers

Madison, Wis. ‒ April 23, 2018 ‒ Effectively immediately, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) financial assistance program participants will no longer need a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Number System (DUNS) number, or to register in the System for Award Management (SAM). The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (2018 Omnibus Bill), signed by President Donald Trump on March 23, eliminated these requirements.

According to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, DUNS and SAM were designed for billion-dollar government contractors, not everyday farmers trying to support their families. These changes help streamline the customer experience of farmers, which is a top priority at USDA, he said.

“This change greatly simplifies the contracting process for our customers and staff,” said Angela Biggs, Wisconsin State Conservationist. “Conservation program participants will soon receive letters from their local NRCS office with more details.”

The exemption does not apply to any current or future agreements or federal contracts with eligible entities, project sponsors, vendors, partners, or other non-exempt landowners or producers.

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Results of 2018 Spring Fish & Wildlife Rules Hearings

On Monday, April 9 there were 72 public hearings held simultaneously across the state in each county. The hearings, held annually on the second Monday in April, are combined with the county meetings during which attendees can introduce and vote on citizen resolutions to address natural resources related issues. The spring hearings covered three major areas: elections for county Conservation Congress delegates; DNR wildlife and fisheries ideas for potential rule changes; and Conservation Congress proposals for future rule development. The spring 2018 questionnaire, which explains the questions in more detail, can be found here.

RESULTS
  • To view the 2018 Spring Hearing Statewide Results click here
  • To view the 2018 Spring Hearing Results by County click here
  • To view the 2018 Spring Citizen Resolution Results click here

2015-2016 Wisconsin Council on Forestry Biennial Report

The Wisconsin Council on Forestry Biennial Report for 2015-2016 can now be viewed. The Council is a board composed of individuals that represent all areas of forestry in Wisconsin. They advise the Governor, the Legislature, Department of Natural Resources, and other state agencies on aspects of forestry in the state.

The 34-page report covers accomplishments of the board, items the Council advised the Division of Forestry on, statistics about Wisconsin’s forests (including forested area, species composition, age class, volume, growth, the urban forest, forest health, ownership, incentives, etc.), economic opportunities and development, effects of state and local government laws, recommendations on staffing and funding for forestry programs, and raising the public’s knowledge and awareness of forestry issues.

It is a great snapshot of forestry in the state. You can find past biennial reports here

Updated Forest Tax Rates

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released the new tax rates for use in 2018 through 2022 for land in the Managed Forest Law (MFL). These new tax rates are effective January 1, 2018.

The updated MFL tax rates saw an all around decrease. Open land entered before 2005 saw a decrease of 5¢ to $0.74 per acre. Closed land entered before 2005 dropped 12¢ to $1.75 per acre. Open land entered after 2004 decreased 10¢ to $2.04 per acre. Lastly, closed land entered after 2004 saw a reduction of 38¢ to $10.68 per acre.

Land in Forest Crop Law (FCL) will have the same tax rates in 2018. The current FCL tax rates were recalculated in 2012 and are effective until 2022. They are scheduled to be recalculated in 2022.

Annual Forest Tax Law Program Harvest Tax Rates

Annually, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Division of Forestry Tax Law Section gathers stumpage values paid on privately-owned timber sales from lands enrolled in the Managed Forest Law and the Forest Crop Law programs throughout Wisconsin. Stumpage values are reported mainly by private-sector Cooperating Foresters with additional values reported by DNR Foresters. The stumpage values gathered indicate the value of standing timber on those specific stands at time of harvest.

With the passage of Act 358, the collection of yield taxes on MFL timber sales, and severance taxes on FCL timber sales was abolished.
The Department will continue to calculate annual stumpage values for use in the assessment of MFL withdrawal taxes in some limited circumstances and for determining penalty amounts for cutting merchantable timber in violation of s. 77.86 (and s. 77.06) Wis. Stats.

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Governor announces location of WI DNR State Forestry Headquarters

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources state forestry headquarters will be relocating to the DNR Rhinelander Service Center by the first of next year.

As outlined in the 2017-2019 state budget, signed by the Governor September 21st, the Chief State Forester will move to the DNR-owned facility north of Highway 29 by January 1, 2018.  Over the next year, other forestry positions, currently located in Madison, will move to Rhinelander or locations north of State Highway 29 in phases.

“This move will put the Division of Forestry and its leadership in a better position to work with the primary forest industries in the state,” said Governor Walker in making the announcement today in Rhinelander. “We will also be able to work more closely with our forestry industry partners in growing the state’s $24.7 billion forest industry that already generates nearly 65,000 jobs.”

Following the Chief State Forester’s move, other members of the forestry leadership team will also be in the Rhinelander headquarters by the first of next year.

“The DNR is looking forward to the opportunity of better serving the area where most of the state’s timber industry is located,” said DNR Secretary Dan Meyer. “Together with partners such as the U.S. Forest Service, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association and the Wisconsin County Forest Association, we can better support and serve a thriving industry that is so important to our state’s economy.”

Every million dollars of output in the forestry industry creates $731,000 of output in other sectors. Every job in forestry supports 1.7 additional jobs in the state. Forestry is the number one employer in 10 counties.