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Bryan among targeted in forestry initiative
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James E. Tillman, Sr., State Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Georgia today announced that 19 more south Georgia counties are in the high priority category for funding for the Southeast Forestry Initiative (SFI). The goal of the SFI is to develop, enhance or restore pine savannah habitat by the management and restoration of longleaf pine on private lands. The application period for this Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program initiative ends July 9, 2010.
An additional 19 counties have been listed as high priority in addition to the 69 previously listed. The new counties are: Atkinson, Brantley, Berrien, Bryan, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch Cook, Echols, Glynn, Lanier, Liberty, Long, Lowndes, McIntosh, Pierce, Ware and Wayne.
The counties previously listed are: Appling, Bacon, Baker, Ben Hill, Bibb, Bleckley, Brooks, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Candler, Chattahoochee, Clay, Coffee, Colquitt, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glascock, Grady, Harris, Houston, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, Lee, Macon, Marion, Miller, Mitchell, Montgomery, Muscogee, Peach, Pulaski, Quitman, Randolph, Richmond, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Tattnall, Taylor, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Treutlen, Turner, Twiggs, Washington, Webster, Wheeler, Wilcox, Wilkinson, and Worth.
Counties in the medium and low priority categories will be considered as long as funding is available. To see a map, visit
Participants agree to implement a wildlife habitat development plan that addresses longleaf pine establishment and the NRCS agrees to provide cost-share assistance for the initial implementation of wildlife habitat development practices.
The general criteria for this initiative are; 1. Participants must meet eligibility requirements. 2. Individuals, group of landowners or non-government organizations are eligible but must have evidence of control or ownership of land. 3. Cost-share rate is set at 75 percent. 4. The contracts are for five years with a minimum of 10 acres of land owned and a maximum of $25,000 per contract. 5. Prescribed burning and pre-commercial thinning may only be used in longleaf pine stands. 6. Planting or thinning loblolly, slash, Virginia, shortleaf, or sand pine is not approved in this Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) signup. 7. Longleaf pines must be planted on proper sites.
Interested producers should contact their local USDA Service Center for additional information.  More information is available at:
NRCS is celebrating 75 years of helping people help the land in 2010. Since 1935, the NRCS conservation delivery system has advanced a unique partnership with state and local governments and private landowners delivering conservation based on specific, local conservation needs, while accommodating state and national interests. 
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