Kansas landowners who want to renovate older windbreaks, forests adjacent to streams or woodlands may be able to get financial help through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI), which is a part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
The deadline for applications for this year's funding is April 6. Landowners can apply at their local USDA service center by visiting wity the staff in the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or through conservation district offices.
The program has increased payment this year for forest stand improvements such as thinning out poorer quality trees to $292.81 per acre. In cases where the majority of woodlands are made up of honeylocust, Osage orange or other invasives trees and shrubs, the program pays up to $720 to help pay for heavy equipment lsuch as bulldozers.
CCPI also covers the cost to replant higher quality trees, such as oaks and black walnut, back into woodlands to bring them to the proper stocking levels.
Many shelterbelts and windbreaks that were planted in the years immediately after the Dust Bowl are growing old and no longer provide conservation benefits. Payment for renovating the windbreaks that protect livestock or crop fields is 98 cents a linear foot. CCPI also covers the majority of the cost to plant new tree rows, apply weed barrier fabric mulch or irrigation systems for the trees.
Since many of the trees that line our major rivers and streams are in decline due to human-caused changes to river channels and streamflows, CCPI provides funding to plant additional trees and to manage mature riparian forests. Landowners can receive $1,214.90 per acre to plant thousands of acorns and walnuts or use seedlings and receive $1.49 for each one planted. Funds are also available to prepare planting sites and for the follow up maintenance necessary for success.
Kansas foresters provide one-on-one services over large multi-county districts through a variety of programs. Applying for CCPI now will ensure quality, timely services and improve the chances for successful projects. However, even if landowners miss the April 6 deadline for 2012 funding, applications will be accepted at any time of the year for 2013 funding.
The majority of windbreaks, woodlands, and forests in the United States are privately owned (95 percent in Kansas). The sustainability of these resources falls squarely on the shoulders of Kansas farmers, ranchers, and the many other landowners of our state. CCPI sends a clear message that we, as a people, believe there are public benefits from the management of Kansas forests and agroforestry resources.
In Kansas, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers will receive a higher payment rate for conservation practices related to CCPI.