USDA to Open Signup for Conservation Reserve Program

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 5, 2019 – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is opening signup for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) on December 9, 2019. The deadline for agricultural producers to sign up for general CRP is
February 28, 2020, while signup for continuous CRP is ongoing.

Landowners who enroll in CRP receive a yearly rental payment for voluntarily establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands.

By enrolling in CRP, producers are improving water quality, reducing soil erosion, and restoring habitat for wildlife. This in turn spurs hunting, fishing, recreation, tourism, and other economic development across rural America.

For more information, see the CRP Fact Sheet.

Executive Session for AB 856 (Managed Forest Law) Set for February 12

WI Assembly EXECUTIVE SESSION – Committee on Forestry, Parks and Outdoor Recreation

The committee will hold an executive session on the following items at the time specified below:

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

12:30 PM

328 Northwest

Assembly Bill 856

Relating to: the managed forest land program.

By Representative Mursau.


State Plant Inspectors Advise Consumers to Properly Dispose of Holiday Greenery

Release Date: December 26, 2019

Media Contact: Brian Kuhn, Director, Bureau of Plant Industry, (608) 224-4590

High-resolution photo: Evergreen with EHS 

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) advises consumers who purchased evergreens this holiday season to check for an invasive pest called elongate hemlock scale (EHS) and properly dispose of any holiday greenery that may show signs of infestation. Plant health inspectors found EHS this year at multiple Wisconsin retailers who imported and sold the evergreens that came from other states.

“You can leave decorations up for the holidays, but we want to make sure consumers are disposing of infested evergreens properly to prevent this pest from establishing itself in Wisconsin,” said Brian Kuhn, Director of DATCP’s Bureau of Plant Industry. “If you know your evergreen did not come from Wisconsin, or it is showing signs of EHS, make sure you dispose of it properly. Proper disposal protects our state’s forests and Christmas tree producers from EHS.” [Read more…]

USDA Invites Input on Environmental Quality Incentives Program Rule



WASHINGTON, D.C., December 16, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) seeks public comments on its interim rule for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), USDA’s flagship program that helps producers plan and implement 150-plus conservation practices on working lands. The rule – now available on the Federal Register – takes effect upon publication and includes changes to the program prescribed by the 2018 Farm Bill.

“The Environmental Quality Incentives Program gives farmers, ranchers and forest landowners the tools they need to improve their agricultural operations while conserving natural resources,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said. “The 2018 Farm Bill further strengthens this popular conservation program to enable NRCS to better support locally led conservation efforts while also expanding producers’ ability to address significant resource concerns.”

NRCS will make available $1.2 billion for interested producers in fiscal 2020. NRCS state offices will announce signup periods for EQIP in the coming weeks. 

[Read more…]

Marathon County 15-Year Forest Plan: Public Input Requested

The Wausau and Marathon County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department is beginning the process of updating its Fifteen-Year Forest Plan which will guide the management of our 30,195-acre Marathon County Forest from 2021 – 2035. Please help us with this important process. We want to hear from you about issues to address with plan revisions. Please submit feedback by September 25, 2019.

[Read more…]

Do Your Woodlands have Flood Damage?

NRCS Wisconsin Offers $7 Million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program-Floodplain Easements

Apply Now, Until September 30 to be Considered for Funding

Due to the recent catastrophic flooding events, Congress has provided the U.S Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service in Wisconsin with over $7 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program-Floodplain Easements (EWPP-FPE). The program’s focus is to provide landowners with another option for those frequently flooded agricultural fields. Forested land, fallow land and pasture are also eligible, either alone or as part of a larger parcel, however, flooded cropland in the floodplain is the program’s primary focus. [Read more…]

EAB Found in Pierce County

The WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has detected emerald ash borer for the first time in Pierce County. This is the first new county detection of 2019 for Wisconsin.  There have also been finds this year in 46 new municipalities in counties where EAB had already been detected previously.

On July 1, a tree service company reported to the River Falls city arborist that they had removed a symptomatic tree with larval galleries, heavy woodpecker flecking, epicormic sprouts and canopy dieback. Department of Natural Resources staff subsequently collected a dead adult beetle. USDA-APHIS confirmed on July 29 that it was EAB.

To date, we have found EAB in 52 of the state’s 72 counties. The entire state is now part of the federally quarantined area, so there will be no regulatory changes as a result of this find.

You can find EAB detection maps for Wisconsin and the nation here.

Have You Experienced Frequent Flooding on Your Property?

NRCS Offers more than $200 Million in Emergency Funding to Restore Flood-Prone Lands: 11 states identified to invest in floodplain easements

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2019 – In response to recent flooding impacting many parts of the United States, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces the availability of $217.5 million dedicated to funding conservation easements on certain lands damaged by flooding and other natural disasters. [Read more…]

Watch for Travelling Contractors in the Wake of Recent Storms

MADISON​ – Recent severe weather in northern and central Wisconsin has resulted in significant damage to homes and businesses throughout the region. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) asks affected property owners to seek trusted contractors for repairs and to be leery of “storm chasers” that come knocking at your door with aggressive sales tactics.

Always use caution when interacting with travelling crews that show up at your door in the aftermath of a storm, never let them into your home, and do not give in to high-pressure pitches.

Start your search for a contractor by seeking references from neighbors, friends, family, local home builder associations, and your insurance company. You can also contact DATCP’s Consumer Protection Hotline (800-422-7128) to check on complaints against a business.

DATCP offers these tips for homeowners with storm damage: [Read more…]

Northern Highland – American Legion State Forest additional ATV/UTV access routes

Public comment period open through August 16, 2019

WOODRUFF, Wis. – Plans for improved access to the Northern Highland – American Legion State Forest through the designation of approximately 19 miles of all-terrain and utility vehicles routes on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources roads in the state forest are now available for public comment. The roads proposed for ATV/UTV route designation will, in conjunction with routes on local and county roads, contribute to a system of ATV/UTV routes through the forest that connect communities and provide additional recreation opportunities. [Read more…]