Cost share assistance available for forest landowners

Posted at 1:13 PM, Apr 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 14:13:13-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry (TDF) is offering cost share programs to assist forest landowners and industry with improving forest health and sustainability.

Forest landowners are eligible to receive a cost share reimbursement of 50-75% for funds spent with a combined maximum reimbursement of $15,000 a year.

The landowner cost share sign-up period begins May 1 and lasts through May 31.

According to the TDF, forestry programs under the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) and Southern Pine Beetle Initiative (SPBI) are intended to promote long-term investments in the state's forests. By providing the cost share incentives to landowners, the programs are supposed to promote sustainable forest management on family forestland, an important source of timber, wildlife habitat, clean water, and soil protection.

"More than half of Tennessee is covered in trees," Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher said. "We are working to promote and support agriculture in Tennessee, and our forest resources are a significant part of that. These cost share programs for forest establishment, improvement, and forest industry play a main role in our work to encourage landowners to implement forestry practices."

TAEP and SPBI financial assistance is also availabe for forest industry to help protect stream habitats and water quality. Loggers, sawmill owners and other forest industry practitioners are eligible for a 50% cost share reimbursement for funds spent.

Sign-up for TAEP cost share assistance is available for forest industry all year. SPBI sign-up lasts from May 1 until May 31.

Anybody interested in TDF's forestry cost share programs can contact their local area forester to determine their eligibility, implement a plan and sign up. For more information about area forester contacts and cost share programs, head to the Financial Assistance web page on the TN Department of Agriculture website.