Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project Encourages Veterans to Seek Assistance Available through Farm Bill

Posted: June 5, 2020 at 11:01 am

AHOSKIE, N.C., June 4, 2020—U.S. military veterans seeking assistance to manage woodlands in northeastern North Carolina – whether existing or envisioned – are being urged to contact the Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project. SFLRP staff members can help identify programs available to veterans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as other federal and state resources, SFLRP Program Manager Alton Perry says.

The assistance available to veterans through the 2018 Farm Bill includes down payment loans, reduced interest rates on guaranteed loans, disaster assistance coverage, federal crop insurance and more. It is available for a variety of land uses, including forest management, natural resource and habitat protection, agriculture and ranching.

“The Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project believes it is of the utmost importance that our veterans know there are programs in place to help them start managing woodland property they own and to support landowners who have been managing forestland for years. One of our priority missions is to ensure that every veteran who wants assistance for their property’s forests and natural resources receives it,” Perry says.

For veterans and civilians in the region, SFLRP still has separate grant funds available on a first-come, first-served basis until the allotted funds are depleted, Perry says. SFLRP counties where landowners are eligible for this funding opportunity are Bertie, Chowan, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Northampton and Perquimans.

This opportunity exists to assist the many forest landowners in the region who don’t have current forest management plans. The SFLRP is offering up to $1,000 per landowner to aid in plan development. Maintaining a detailed forest management plan is a requirement for landowners applying for financial assistance to implement forestry practices or enter into the NC Tree Farm Program. To be eligible for this SFLRP funding, a landowner must:

  • own at least one contiguous, wooded eight-acre property in Bertie, Chowan, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Northampton or Perquimans counties
  • be or become a Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project participant
  • use awarded funds to pay the North Carolina Forest Service or a private consulting forester to develop a forest management plan and the enrollment fee for forest certification into the NC Tree Farm Program

For landowners who wish to enroll in the NC Tree Farm Program, funds are available to assist with the $350 enrollment fee. The property must contain a minimum of 10 wooded acres and meet other NC Tree Farm Program guidelines.

“Having a plan is very important,” Perry says. “A forest management plan provides landowners guidance and recommendations to reach their objectives of selling timber, improving wildlife habitat, planting trees after a clear-cut harvest or meeting certification standards in the tree farm program. Landowners without forest management plans run the risk of missing opportunities to reach their goals and to access technical assistance.”

SFLRP is operated through Roanoke Electric Cooperative’s nonprofit subsidiary, The Roanoke Center. The center offers a range of education, application and financial assistance to forest landowners throughout the co-op’s seven-county service territory. SFLRP makes this funding available to local forest landowners through funding from Enviva Holdings LP. Enviva awarded funds to the SFLRP to assist its land retention and healthy forests conservation efforts.

For information and application assistance contact Perry at 252-539-4602 or aperry@roanokeelectric.com

 

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