New USDA Tree Planting Program to Aid with Forest Restoration

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes, and flooding can cause billions of dollars in damage every year to our forests and devastate our ecosystems.

Fortunately, through the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) administered by the USDA, owners of non-industrial private forests can help restore forest health on land destroyed by a natural disaster. The EFRP coordinates this by authorizing payments to owners of private forests who engage in forest restoration after a natural disaster.

How To Qualify for EFRP Assistance?

Local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees can implement EFRP for all disasters except drought and insect infestation. To qualify for EFRP assistance, you must have completed EFRP enrollment and damage must be shown to harm the natural resources on the land or significantly affect future land use. Additionally, only owners of nonindustrial private forests with tree cover existing before the natural disaster occurred are eligible to apply. The land must be owned by a private individual, group, association, corporation, or other private legal entity that has decision making authority on the land and doesn’t use the land for business purposes.

The funding, which is determined by Congress, can help with up to 75 percent of the cost to implement emergency conservation. The county committee can approve applications up to $50,000, but funding needed in the $50,000 to $100,000 range requires the state committee approval. Amounts over $100,000 require the approval of the national FSA office.

Importance of Reforestation

Forests provide a variety of useful resources not only for humans, but for the diverse and extensive ecosystem in the surrounding area. Forests provide shelter for wildlife, provide nutrients for soil, and protect water supplies. By restoring forests and forest health, you are helping to protect natural resources and wildlife habitats. For a more in-depth understanding of the forest restoration program, visit the USDA to learn more about EFRP and how to enroll.

At AgAmerica Lending, we understand land owners are at the mercy of the weather and when natural disasters hit, restoring the land you love is of utmost importance. If you need assistance in restoring your land or have questions about buying land, please contact our team of land loan professionals today to learn more.