Category Archives: News

News about Kentucky Woodlands and their owners

NRCS Requesting Input

To USDA State Technical Committee and Other Interested Persons:

 

The new federal fiscal year starts in four months!!  As you might imagine, Kentucky NRCS staff is already making plans for FY 2021 program updates and changes.  With COVID-19 limiting our ability to meet together, it is our hope that you will consider this method of interacting as a continuation of our usual collaboration on NRCS programs and priorities.  We welcome and value your input on any or all of the following:

 

  • Practices:  Are there practices or activities beneficial to Kentucky farmers that aren’t currently offered under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) or Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)?
  • Payments:  Have you heard any comments regarding practice payment rates received by program participants that are too low or too high? Are there practices for which we should offer an increased payment rate in order to address certain priority resource concerns?
  • Priorities: In addition to locally-led-identified focused conservation projects and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects, we have national and state EQIP priorities where applications compete against like-applications (and sometimes in certain geographical areas.)  The FY 2020 list is shown below (not in any particular order). Are there specific priorities or resource concerns/focuses that we are not addressing/focusing on or any you wish we wouldn’t consider a priority?
    • High Tunnel Systems
    • Organic (Certified and Transitioning)
    • Manure Management
    • Irrigation Water Management
    • Conservation Activity Plans (plans written by certified technical service providers (TSPs))
    • Historically Underserved (a separate category each for beginning farmers, limited resource producers and socially disadvantaged producers)
    • Southeast Kentucky Early Successional Habitat Initiative
    • Wildlife
    • Woodland
    • Pastureland
    • Cropland
  • NWQI & MRBI:  In FY 2021, selected watersheds will undergo a planning and assessment year for FY 2022 financial assistance under the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) and Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI).  Your input regarding watershed selection was solicited for this via email on May 7, 2020.   Responses were requested by May 22, however if you would still like to provide input, please send that to Tim Hafner at tim.hafner@usda.gov.
  • NRCS Source Water Protection Priority Areas:  We have been given the opportunity to refine the NRCS SWPPAs which were identified with your input last year (map is attached for your information.)  For FY 2020, EQIP applicants in these areas received extra ranking points.  There is also an opportunity to provide a higher payment rate for certain practices that address water quality/quantity in these areas.  Are there other areas that should be considered for NRCS SWPPAs?  Should any of the existing ones be enlarged or removed? Are there practices that should be given consideration for a higher payment rate?

 

In addition to your input on the above issues, we would like your feedback on a few specific items that we are considering for FY 2021 or 2022:

  • Through EQIP, we plan to offer a roofed animal feeding facility in FY 2021.  Our intent is to address the surface and subsurface water quality concerns that can arise from feeding livestock over winter.  This would require a comprehensive nutrient management plan prior to approval.  The facility would consist of several practices including waste storage facility, heavy use area, roofs and covers, roof runoff, and other related components.   While we currently offer these individual practices, we haven’t provided EQIP financial assistance for covered feeding areas in the past and are asking for your feedback on this.
  • Although we have identified irrigation water management (IWM) as a state priority for the last several years, we have not had many applications in this fund account.  EQIP requires that land offered for irrigation practices must have been irrigated at least 2 out of the last 5 years to quality for irrigation-related conservation practices and activities, and those practices/activities must improve water conservation/result in water savings.  We would like your input on what is needed regarding IWM in Kentucky.
  • We would like to build our staff capacity for natural stream design in FY 2021 and potentially offer technical and financial assistance to producers in FY 2022 and would welcome your input on this topic.  The purpose would be to address eroding streambanks and unstable stream reaches.  Natural Stream Design utilizes strategic rock placement, biologic material and other techniques while limiting the use of rip rap or gabion type structures.

 

While this is a rather long list of items for which we’re asking your input, we value and consider carefully your input for our program delivery.  Unless otherwise noted above, please send your input and feedback for any of the topics for which you have an interest to deena.wheby@usda.gov by June 30, 2020.

Deena Wheby |  Assistant State Conservationist for Programs |  771 Corporate Drive, Suite 300, Lexington KY 40503 | Phone:  859.224.7403  deena.wheby@usda.gov  FAX: 855.768.4249

Forest industries alive, well and in-business in Kentucky during pandemic

A March 19 memo from Christopher Krebs, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, listed workers who “support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products” among “essential critical infrastructure workers.”

The state of Kentucky continues to operate under the Governor’s Executive Order that went into effect on March 26 and closes all businesses that are not considered life sustaining or essential.  The Kentucky Forest Industries Association has worked hard to get forestry and wood products included in the order as essential which allows all forestry and wood products industry to continue to operate in Kentucky.

Chestnut Chat Series

The American Chestnut continues its Chestnut Chat series with the second event at 11:30AM on Friday, April 24. The topic for this week’s chat is National Volunteer Week and Earth Day: TACF Volunteers Share Their Stories. You’ll hear personal stories from several volunteers throughout TACF’s four regions, the work they do, and how they got involved.

Participants can join one of two ways:

Computer (via Zoom Webinar)
The meeting will open 15 minutes prior to start time to allow an audio and video test. You will be prompted to enter an email address once you click on this link. (Entering an email is a formality of Zoom Webinar and will not be used for solicitation. If you do not want to provide your email, you can choose to use a fake one.)

Phone
+1 646 876 9923. When prompted, enter this webinar ID#: 914 7362 4019.

Each Chat will be recorded and available on the ACF website.

Bill Would Help Woodland Owners Weather Storm Losses

The Forestry Recovery Act of 2019 (H.R. 144) would help woodland owners recover from natural disasters by increasing the amount of financial relief provided by the casualty loss tax deduction.

 

The legislation allows forest landowners to take a casualty loss tax deduction of up to fair market value of their timber when it is destroyed by a catastrophic disaster. The tax deduction is especially important because timber growers do not have access to crop insurance and private insurance is often too expensive and provides inconsistent coverage.

HR 1444 currently has 36 sponsors representing both parties and states from Florida to Texas and Maine to Colorado.  The bill has been stalled in Ways and Means Committee since it was introduced last year.

For more info…

2020 KWOA annual meeting RESCHEDULED to September 22-23

In response to the COVID-19 virus, the annual meeting has been rescheduled to September 22-23, 2020.

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park will re-open under limited circumstances on July 1. COVID-19 guidelines require the park to limit registered guests to fifty. If you have not registered for the KWOA/F Annual Meeting that was rescheduled for September 22-23, you are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.

Make your lodging reservation directly with the park by calling 270-343-3111. The room rate is $72.95 plus tax. Be sure you tell them you are with KWOA to get the conference room rate. The park is waiving the resort fee that is normally applied to lodging.

The meeting is on-track and the guests and speakers have agreed to participate in the September event.

Register for the annual meeting here https://kwoa.net/annual-meeting/

Meeting updates will be posted to the website and provided by email in your KWOA Wood Post.

Your understanding is appreciated as the association processes the many changes incurred by the meeting postponement. Your health and safety are our primary concerns. Updates regarding the fall meeting date will be posted as they become available. We hope you will adjust your plans accordingly and look forward to seeing you in September.

EQIP Establishes March 6 as the Next Cut-off Date

The Kentucky Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that the 2020 sign-up cut-off date for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) will be March 6, 2020.

Applications received by March 6, 2020 will be evaluated for funding. Applications received after March 6, 2020, will be accepted, but will be held for funding consideration if a second evaluation cycle occurs in 2020. Unfortunately, a second application batching period for general EQIP is unlikely for year 2020 so this may be your only opportunity in 2020 to apply for financial assistance to implement forest conservation practices on your woodland.

Woodland owners interested in implementing forest conservation practices on their woodland should contact their local NRCS office to apply ASAP. If you are a woodland owner in central or northeast Kentucky who has been waiting to obtain a woodland management plan please inform the NRCS office staff that you are interested in participating in the “UK Forestry RCPP” project which is trying to service woodland owners who have been waiting to receive a forest management plan.

Do you know a high school student interested in forestry?

Tell them about the Kentucky Forest Leadership Program May 31 – June 5, 2020 in Jabez, KY.

Group photo

The Kentucky Forest Leadership Program is designed for high school students completing their sophomore and junior years. This weeklong experience concentrates on forest and natural resources management and related subjects.

Looking for bugs!

The program gives students the chance to learn how to think, not what to think. The program helps them develop life-long learning skills based on observation, action and evaluation. Learn to think creatively, make decisions, and set goals.

Contact Laurie Thomas directly at 859.257.2703, Laurie.Thomas@uky.edu or click here for the Kentucky Forestry Leadership Program website.

Former federal strip-mine inspector leads decades-long effort to reforest mines in Eastern Ky

With the help of local volunteers and some bulldozers, Patrick Angel, retired strip-mine inspector and farm owner near London, KY, has spent the past two decades trying to reforest mined areas.

More than 187 million trees have been planted on about 275,000 acres of former mines, Gabriel Popkin reports for The Washington Post Magazine. (Popkin is science writer who was born and raised in Kentucky.) As the Obama administration was ending, it issued regulations “that all but required reforestation for surface-mine reclamation,” Popkin notes. “One of President Trump’s first acts, supposedly to reward the coal miners and industry leaders who supported him, was to kill the new rule.”

Read more…

Tax Tips for Forest Landowners – 2019

The Federal income tax laws contain forestry-specific provisions that are important for managing and conserving timber.  Tax Tips for Forest Landowners provides forest owners, foresters, loggers, and timber businesses a guide of the applicable Federal income tax laws, including the latest tax law changes, for filing their 2019 tax returns.

The information is not intended to render legal or accounting advice and is current as of September 30, 2019.

 

Applications are currently being accepted for soil and water quality cost share programs

The Kentucky Soil Erosion and Water Quality Cost Share Program and the Kentucky Soil Stewardship Program helps landowners address existing soil erosion, water quality and other environmental problems associated with their farming or woodland operation. Funds are administered by local conservation districts and the Kentucky Soil and Water Conservation Commission with priority given to animal waste-related problems, agricultural district participants and to producers who have their Agriculture Water Quality plans on file with their local conservation districts.

If a landowner wants to apply for either State Cost Share or EQIP funding, the first step is to make a request to their local Conservation District office.

Practices eligible for cost share are:

agriculture and animal waste control facilities;

streambank stabilization;

animal waste utilization;

vegetative filter strips;

integrated crop management;

pesticide containment;

sinkhole protection;

pasture and hay land forage quality;

heavy use area protection;

rotational grazing system establishment;

water well protection;

forest land and cropland erosion control systems;

closure of agriculture waste impoundment;

on-farm fallen animal composting;

soil health management;

precision nutrient management;

strip intercropping system;

livestock stream crossing; and

riparian area protection.

For more information and applications for these programs…

See the Kentucky Soil & Water Quality State Cost Share Program Manual – pp. 35-41 for Forestland BMP.

Producers can complete their Agriculture Water Quality Plan at the UK College of Agriculture web page below using the “Producer’s Workbook” tab.  This webpage is linked from the Division of Conservation’s AWQA web page.

https://www.uky.edu/bae/awqp