Pine Beetle outbreak: Emergency Forest Restoration Program approved for Lincoln County

Published 4:05 pm Monday, April 15, 2024

LOYD STAR — U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday approved Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) signup in Lincoln County and 81 other counties in Mississippi Monday.  A 120-day signup period will run from April 15 to August 15, 2024.

The program launch follows severe drought conditions and a pine beetle outbreak which killed 12.5 million pine trees across Mississippi according to the Mississippi Forestry Commission. Mississippians are just starting to see the after effects of the drought conditions and beetle outbreaks. Lincoln County residents can walk out onto their property and look up to see the effects on pine trees as dead trees have cast their needles.

Dead trees could pose a danger to homes, humans and power lines. Several trees have fallen on power lines and sparked grass fires in Lincoln County since January. Reports are most lumber mills will not take bug killed timber. Drax, which owns the pellet mill in Amite County, has not commented on if they are accepting bug killed wood for pellet production.

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Requirements for participation in EFRP:

  • Restoration must be completed to meet the National Resources Conservation Service and/or State Forestry Agency technical standards.
  • Participants must document and keep records of all costs incurred, including costs associated with personal labor, to complete the restoration activities.
  • The minimum qualifying cost of restoration is $1,000.
  • The program’s payment limitation is $500,000.

Administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency, EFRP is a cost-share program that provides financial and technical assistance to owners of nonindustrial private forestland (NIPF) to restore NIPF damaged by a qualifying natural disaster event.  All Mississippi counties were placed under a natural disaster status following severe drought conditions last summer.

EFRP financial assistance is not provided upfront, but is reimbursed after restoration is complete at 75 percent of the lesser of the actual costs incurred or allowable cost.  If an EFRP application is approved, the participant(s) is expected to perform restoration/conservation practices based on the FSA-848A, Cost-Share Agreement and Restoration Plan provided.

A USDA EFRP fact sheet is available here.  Potential applicants should check with their local FSA office for more information. Lincoln County’s Farm Security Administration Office is located at 1385 Johnny Johnson Drive in Brookhaven.