The Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program's goal is to reduce the threat of the Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) in relevant areas of the state. All work will occur within the boundaries of the State of Mississippi. Since there is a small amount of pine acreage in the Mississippi Delta, it is expected that this program will have the greatest impact in other regions.
In 2008, the MFC initiated a cost-share program to encourage private forest landowners to thin their dense pine stand and prevent future SPB infestations. The cost-share program provided to the landowner serves as an incentive to conduct thinning operations before the next SPB outbreak, regardless of market conditions for pulpwood.
- SPB Cost Share Thinning Guidelines (1/4/17)
- SPB Landowner Cost Share Agreement (1/24/17)
- SPB Logger Cost Share Agreement (1/24/17)
- Mississippi Southern Pine Beetle Predictions for 2016 (5/3/16)
Priority Counties for 2017
In 2017, cost share funds will be made available for pine forestland in 20 Northeast Mississippi counties: Alcorn, Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Clay, Grenada, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Marshall, Monroe, Panola, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tate, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union, Webster, and Yalobusha (green counties on map below).
Cost Share Rate 2017
The cost share rate is $75 per acre for pre-commercial and first commercial thinnings. Total cost shares will not exceed $7,500 (100 acres) per individual landowner (sole proprietor). There is also a limit of $11,250 (150 acres) for a partnership, LLC, FLP, estate or trust with two or more members. Landowners must provide receipts for actual costs before any cost-share payments can be authorized. These receipts are required for federal reporting purposes.
Landowner Conditions to Qualify:
Non-Industrial Ownership. To qualify for any federal cost shares, a landowner must be non-industrial and not own more than 5,000 acres. The non-industrial ownership category can include sole proprietors, partnerships, family limited partnerships, limited liability corporations, trusts and estates. Usually excluded are C-corporations and REITs. The MS Forestry Commission has the last word on whether properties qualify as non-industrial. The name(s) on the W-9 form and application should match the deed or other document of title evidencing ownership of the land. Please provide the deed of the property with the application for verification.
Joint Ownership. Where more than one person owns the land jointly, such as a group, association or corporation, the joint owners are considered as one eligible landowner. All owners in a joint ownership must sign the cost share application. Individual owners who share in a joint ownership, but also own separate property in their own name, may participate as individuals, and the joint ownership does not affect their eligibility. Application with joint ownerships will include only one tax identification number and only one payment to be issued. The principal applicant will be responsible for dividing the payment appropriately among the owners.
Must NOT already be enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Federal law prevents landowners from receiving federal cost-share funds from more than one source on the same acreage. The CRP program already offers thinning cost share to landowners with enrolled pine and hardwood plantations. Consequently, if you own a pine plantation enrolled in the CRP program, contact your local Farm Service Agency representative for application instructions for their thinning cost share.
20 Acres (or more) of Contiguous Pine Stand. This is the minimum commercially viable acreage for thinning in north Mississippi. However, multiple non-adjacent parcels of land may be included on the same application up to a maximum of 100 acres. Landowners are encouraged to pool their pine acreage with a neighbor to make a much more commercially viable thinning.
Additional Pine Plantation Requirements:
For Pre-commercial Thinning
- 4-12 years of age
- Have a stand density greater than 700 stems per acre
- Comprised of at least 70% loblolly, shortleaf, or slash pine
- Rated as moderate, high or very high for SPB outbreak (see SPB Hazard Rating)
First Commercial Thinning
- 12 years of age or older (see Caution page 6)
- Comprised of at least 70% loblolly, shortleaf, or slash pine
- Rated as high or very high for SPB outbreak (see SPB Hazard Rating)
How to Apply for Cost Share:
1. Get on the waiting list. Interested landowners can contact our field administrator, Alan Van Valkenburg, to schedule an appointment for a field visit to see if your property is a high risk for beetle damage. If it qualifies, you can fill out an application for cost share. The cost share monies are administered on a first come first served basis to qualified pine stands.
2. Prepare for thinning. Once landowners are on the waiting list they need to contact a local forester to plan their thinning operation. The MS Board of Registration for Foresters keeps a listing of foresters by county at www.cfr.msstate.edu/borf.
3. Stand Assessment/Inspection. The Cost Share Administrator will inspect the stand being enrolled prior to thinning operations to ensure that it meets the qualifications listed above. Thinning before this inspection disqualifies the property.
4. Enroll by signing a Cost Share Application and W9 form. The landowner provides proof of ownership and the legal description of the stand at this time. A landowner is officially enrolled and has funds dedicated to their thinning operation once the application once both forms are signed and approved.
NEW Logger Incentive Added
Professional Loggers enroll by signing a Cost Share Application and W9 form. A logger is officially enrolled and has cost share funds dedicated to their thinning operation once all application forms are signed and approved. The logging contractor must provide proof of SFI certification at this time. Logger applications for cost share may be completed as early as the thinning contract signing date and as late as the final inspection.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) will review the documentation and verify completion of thinning operations. Upon approval, MFC will issue a cost share payment to the professional logging firm. Please allow the MS Forestry Commission about 1.5 months following final approval of paperwork to process and draft a check.
Professional Logger Funding Limitations
The cost share rate for professional loggers is $2,000 per completed thinning. This amount should help cover the initial cost of moving onto a property to begin thinning. $2,000 was derived from interviews with professional logging firms in north Mississippi. The maximum payment made to any logging firm, company, or logger is $10,000 annually (5 contracts). The MS Forestry Commission has the last word on payment limitations.
Professional Logger Conditions to Qualify
A signed thinning contract with a landowner that is enrolled in this cost share program (see above).
SFI Training Certification is required. The logging contractor selected by the landowner must have completed the Professional Logging Manager curriculum to insure Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) compliance and knowledge of Mississippi Best Management Practices (BMP’s). SFI Certified professional loggers and companies are listed by county and name on the Professional Logging Manager Program website loggered.msstate.edu
Professional Logger Agreements for Cost Share
- Completes the thinning within 9 months of the original contract signing date between the landowner and MS Forestry Commission. The Cost Share Administrator will provide the date that thinning must be completed in order to qualify for payment. In most instances, loggers should have 6 months or more to complete thinning operations. Cost share payments to both the landowner and the logger are dependent on timely completion of the thinning.
- Thinning reduces residual pine basal area (BA) to 80 square feet per acre or below. An alternate for greatly overstocked stands is at least a 50% reduction in BA. See page 5 for more details.
- Follow MS Best Management Practices (BMPs). An online copy of the 15 Federally Mandated BMPs for Roads is at http://www.mfc.ms.gov/water-quality-forestry-best-management-practices. A copy of the entire 2008 Mississippi BMP guidelines booklet is also available at this site.
- Notifies the Cost Share Administrator when thinning starts and before completion of thinning. On-site visits are needed to verify that BMPs have been followed and the target basal area has been reached. An on-site inspection before thinning is completed is crucial. Most problems can be corrected before the operation moves to a new site.
- Provides copies of scale tickets (or first and last scale ticket and total tonnage harvested) to the Cost Share Administrator. Just make an extra copy of the scale tickets provided to the forest landowner.
For more information on the Cost Share Program, please contact:
Alan Van Valkenburg
Office: (662) 523-3144
Forest Health Coordinator
Southwest District Forester
P.O. Box 749
515 County Farm Lane NE
Brookhaven, Mississippi 39602-0749
Office: (601) 833-6621
Cell: (601) 405-5711