Longleaf Pine Initiative in Mississippi continues

Longleaf Pine Initiative in Mississippi continues

This is a news release from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

The United States Department of Agriculture / Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has financial assistance available to qualified Mississippi landowners wanting to create or restore longleaf pine stands on their land.  This Longleaf Pine Initiative (LLPI) is offered under the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) to qualified landowners and forest managers in Central and Southern Mississippi working to restore longleaf ecosystems.

Longleaf pine forests nearly vanished, but a coordinated conservation effort, led by NRCS and other conservation partners, is helping this unique ecosystem of the Southeast recover. Longleaf pines provide valuable forest products, pine straw production, scenic beauty, good wildlife habitat and harbor many threatened and endangered species.  There are 29 threatened and endangered species that depend on these forests for survival. Two specific species are found in Mississippi,the gopher tortoise and the black pine snake.

"NRCS is committed to working with land managers to help restore and expand this critical ecosystem," stated Kurt Readus, NRCS State Conservationist for Mississippi. "Longleaf pine forests provide vital habitat to a variety of species as well as valuable timber.  We look forward to seeing what we can accomplish with our partners."

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to help landowners and land managers plant and manage longleaf forests. LLPI is in its eighth year and has helped restore more than 350,000 acres of longleaf forests. Applications for all NRCS financial assistance programs are accepted on a continuous sign-up process with specific sign-up deadlines being established to rank, contract and fund qualified tracts of land.  Applications for the Longleaf Pine Initiative received by April 21, 2017, will be considered for funding in the second ranking period.

For additional information about the Longleaf Pine Initiative, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/. To find your local NRCS office, visit http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=MS&agency=NRCS. NRCS financial assistance covers part of the cost to implement conservation practices. Interested landowners are encouraged to contact their local USDA service center or go to Environmental Quality Incentives Program link for technical and financial assistance information.  For more information, visit our website at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/ms/home/. Applications are available at GetStarted.