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Cost Share Available to Forest Landowners and Industry

Wednesday, May 06, 2020 | 01:28pm

NASHVILLE – Forest landowners who want to establish or enhance their woods and loggers looking to improve harvesting capacity can get financial assistance to enhance forest health and sustainability. Multiple cost share opportunities are currently open for application through the end of May.

“Tennessee’s forest landowners play a significant role in agriculture and forest industries,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “Supporting landowners and loggers with forest establishment, improvement, and harvesting operations though these incentive programs helps to ensure our forests remain healthy and productive for generations.”

Financial assistance to landowners and loggers is available through numerous agencies and programs. The Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry (TDF) Area Foresters can help navigate options, eligibility rules, and sign-up periods. Most programs require the recipient to contribute a share of the cost. Each program has different objectives; some emphasize forestland establishment or improvement, while others focus on protection of water quality or wildlife habitat improvement.

“The overall purpose of our financial assistance programs is to encourage landowners to implement forestry practices to ensure sustainable, resilient forests and loggers to implement best management practices during harvesting operations,” TDF Forest Health and Sustainability Unit Leader Nathan Hoover said. “Cost shares can range from covering 50 to 100 percent of costs depending on the practice, and most have a maximum of $15,000 per program, per recipient.”

The Division partnered with the Tennessee Forestry Association to create the Duck and Elk River Watershed Buffer Initiative cost share program. This new program seeks to improve riparian zones, address critical aquatic habitat degradation, and improve forest health in Bedford, Coffee, Dickson, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Humphreys, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Moore, and Williamson Counties. This program covers tree tubes and various agroforestry practices for landowners.

Forestry programs under the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) promote long-term investments in Tennessee’s forests by providing cost share incentives to qualifying landowners and loggers. The programs support sustainable forest management practices on family forestland for timber, wildlife habitat, clean water, and soil protection by providing incentives for landowners to establish hardwood or softwood forest stands or actively manage existing stands. TAEP is also available for loggers and sawmills to avoid environmental and water quality impacts resulting from timber harvesting. Wood pallet mats, wood and steel skidder bridges, stream-crossing grids, geotextile fabric, and silt fences are among the items eligible for funding.

The Southern Pine Beetle Initiative (SPBI) encourages management of pine forest stands to make them more resilient to beetle infestations. The USDA Forest Service provides financial assistance to landowners and loggers and TDF administers the funds. Similar to TAEP, landowners can apply for cost share to re-establish pine forest stands and improve existing stands. Loggers may be eligible to reduce operational costs associated with harvesting small acreages or long-haul distance to a pine market. Each action helps to lower the risk of Southern Pine Beetle infestation by improving existing pine stands.

Contact your local Area Forester to learn more about these and other financial assistance programs, determine eligibility, apply, and implement a plan. Learn more online at