The sign up period for the Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) is open for applications through Oct. 15 for certain counties in Florida. Administered by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), HFRP is a farm bill program that helps landowners restore, enhance and protect forestland resources through the purchase of conservation easements and financial assistance for management activities. The purpose of HFRP is to help recovery of federal and state imperiled species, improve plant and animal biodiversity, and enhance carbon sequestration.
Those eligible to sign up are landowners with property within the O2O Corridor in the following Florida counties: Columbia, Hamilton, Baker, Union, Bradford, Clay, Putnam, Marion and Lake. Landowners interested in managing their forested lands to benefit habitat for wildlife and imperiled species, and willing to forego certain future land uses, like commercial development and non-forest conversion, are urged to apply.
Financial and technical assistance is provided, as NRCS will pay 100 percent of the value of conservation easement as determined by a qualified appraisal. It also provides cost-share payments for specific conservation actions for forestry and wildlife habitat management.
The landowner must enter into an agreement based on the restoration plan. For more information, visit your local USDA service center by Oct. 15.