FORESTRY 411
SECRETARY PERDUE ANNOUNCES MODERNIZATION BLUEPRINT FOR US FOREST SERVICE
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has issued a memorandum to Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen providing direction that will serve as a blueprint to help modernize the agency’s systems and approaches to ensure national forests and grasslands continue to meet the needs of the American people.
 
“Under this administration, the Forest Service has sold more timber than we have in the last 22 years and made significant increases in our hazardous fuels treatments and active management of our national forests. While I am proud of our progress to promote active management, reduce hazardous fuels, work across boundaries and increase the resiliency of our nation’s forests and grasslands, I believe more can be done,” said Secretary Perdue. “Today, I am announcing a blueprint for reforms to provide further relief from burdensome regulations, improve customer service, and boost the productivity of our national forest system.”

ADVOCATING FOR H-2B EXEMPTION
The Association joined the Forest Resources Association and other forestry organizations in sending a letter to the White House, requesting an exemption for the H-2B program in any upcoming executive action on immigration.

The letter emphasizes the critical nature of the H-2B visa program. Forest products are essential to many facets of the emergency response to the pandemic and also in everyday life, and H-2B labor is essential to keeping the entire supply chaining running smoothly.


Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried also sent a  letter to President Donald Trump, requesting the administration continue processing seasonal work visas.

LONGLEAF PINE PRIVATE LANDOWNER INCENTIVE PROGRAM ENROLLMENT OPEN
Private forest landowners interested in establishing and managing a longleaf pine forest are encouraged to sign up for the Longleaf Pine Private Landowner Incentive Program. This enrollment period is open  until July 8, 2020. 

The program offers landowners technical guidance and incentive payments for conducting certain approved forest management practices that help establish or improve longleaf pine stands. The program also offers incentive payments for longleaf pine seedling establishment, timber stand improvement, prescribed burning, native plant understory establishment, mechanical underbrush treatments, and invasive plant control treatments.

To learn more and access an application, click here  or  contact your Florida Forest Service county forester.
NORTH AMERICA'S TOP TIMBERLAND OWNERS & MANAGERS,
2020 UPDATE
For fifteen years, Forisk has tracked and aggregated timberland transaction and ownership data. The transaction data goes back almost 25 years; the ownership data goes back 50. This research currently includes 337 private organizations in the United States and Canada that each own or manage 10,000 timberland acres or more.

Over the past 12 months, this list has “churned” about 4.5%, reflecting the addition or removal of 1 in 22 organizations since last year due to their divestiture or acquisition of significant timberland holdings, reaffirming the fact that timberland owners continue to review and modify their businesses and total portfolios.

TINER APPOINTED TO FORESTRY COUNCIL
Congratulations to Association member Ret Tiner for his appointment to the Florida Forestry Council! Tiner, who works with Westrock, Inc., was appointed by Commissioner Nikki Fried to serve as the pulp and paper representative.

The council is tasked with advising and consult with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Director of the Florida Forest Service. 
AMERICAN FORESTRY CONFERENCE
America’s working forests and forest product industries are poised to play a critical role in fueling the recovery of the U.S. economy – and, once again, fortifying our great nation.

On July 27-30, 2020, join national leaders and experts in forest business, economics, and public policy to gain critical insight into the current state of America’s forestry economy and the outlook for forestry investments.

REMINDER:AGREEMENT REACHED ON HURRICANE MICHAEL STATE BLOCK GRANT NEGOTIATIONS 
The State of Florida and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have successfully ended negotiations on the administration of $380.7 million in grant funding to help Florida’s timber industry recover following Hurricane Michael in 2018. It is expected that t imber producers could begin to receive funding as soon as this fall.

This is the first time USDA has awarded block grants for timber crop losses.  This would not have been possible without the leadership and hard work of Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, Congressman Neal Dunn and the entire Florida congressional delegation, Governor Ron DeSantis, Division of Emergency Management, and Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Forest Service. We are grateful to all for their demonstrated commitment to Florida forestry.



CALENDAR OF EVENTS
June 30, 2020
10 AM EDT
Executive Committee Meeting
Providence, FL

August 25-27, 2020
Annual Meeting
Omni Amelia Island Resort
Amelia Island, FL


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