The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a permit for ArborGen to field trial 200,000 genetically modified trees in seven states stretching from Florida to Texas. The purpose of the test is to see if the trees, eucalyptuses with a foreign gene meant to help them withstand cold weather, can become a new source of wood for pulp, paper, and biofuels in the Southern timber belt.
State forestry officials now estimate the damage to timber in north Mississippi by last week’s storm system to be more than $3.7 million. The Mississippi Forestry Commission says the costliest damage was to hardwood, valued at more than $2.8 million.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is inviting landowners nationwide to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, CSP offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland and non-industrial forestland. The deadline to be considered for the next ranking and funding period is June 11, 2010.
According to a recent press release, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) is facing a budget shortfall of more than $5 million for fiscal year 2011. In light of this projection, State Forester Linda Casey said the agency is reviewing its entire structure. The AFC will be forced to reduce staffing by nearly one-third, affecting all services provided by the agency, including wildfire protection.
The Texas Forest Service and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Texas have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The MOU will strengthen cooperation between TFS and NRCS Texas by coordinating interagency delivery of forestry-related conservation assistance to private landowners in order to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of Texas’ private working lands – forestland, cropland, pasture, and rangeland.
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