The Michigan Association of Timbermen
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Posted on 01.02.2018 Under Recent Post

Dec. 28, 2017

Contact: Mike Smalligan517-284-5884

Money and advice for 2018 forestry projects

This is a short update from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources about private forests. We hope this information will help you manage, protect and enjoy your forest.

Money and advice. Do you have projects in your woods that you want to tackle in 2018 but aren’t sure how to go about it or even how to pay for them? The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) wants to give you money and advice to help. NRCS staff will connect you with foresters for professional advice and then pay to get things done, usually paying about 75 percent of expected costs.

What kind of projects? The NRCS has a big cookbook of “conservation practices” that will help do all kinds of cool things in your woods. You can improve wildlife habitat, expand trail networks for better recreation, protect a shoreline from erosion, install a culvert to get across a creek, improve fish habitat, plant new trees, kill bad plants, plant flowers for bees and butterflies, remove diseased trees or even do a prescribed burn. And lots more!

What’s first? You need to make a plan. Landowners need their own custom forest management plan like a Forest Stewardship Plan, Tree Farm Plan, or NRCS Conservation Activity Plan to guide projects. A professional forester will write a plan to identify ways to make improvements in your woods based on your goals. If you already have a plan, now is a good time to get started on your 2018 projects.

Is there paperwork? Yep. You must apply at a local NRCS Service Center for this funding and can do so any time of the year. However, there is a big stack of applications already, so NRCS staff are going to review all applications submitted by January 19, 2018, to rank them for funding in 2018. It’s important to visit your local NRCS office very soon to submit the application before the deadline. If you miss the January 19 deadline for 2018, start planning now for bigger and better projects in 2019.

Forest facts. Did you know that Michigan has 20 million acres of forest but 25 million acres of water? Michigan is responsible for 45 percent of the Great Lakes, which accounts for 24 million acres of Michigan’s surface water. The state’s 10,759 inland lakes make up the remaining one million acres of surface water.

Important dates:

Dec. 31: Deadline to file the Qualified Forest Program Affidavit for lower property taxes in 2018.

Jan. 19: Deadline to apply to the NRCS for money and advice in 2018.

Jan. 26: American Tree Farm System Field Day in Gladwin County.

April 1: Deadline to apply for the Commercial Forest Program for lower property taxes in 2019.

Questions?  For more information about programs available to assist private forest landowners, or to find the DNR service forester in your area, go to www.Michigan.gov/PrivateForestLand or contact Mike Smalligan, the DNR’s forest stewardship coordinator, at 517-284-5884 or smalliganm@michigan.gov.

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Posted on 12.20.2017 Under Legislative, Recent Post

Judy Augenstein, Legislative Consultant

Before the Legislature recessed last week a supplemental bill for the fiscal year 2017-18 totaling $52.9 million was passed and sent to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature.  The bill includes the $100,000 needed for implementation of the multiple use permit legislation tailored after Wisconsin law which allows MDOT the authority to issue one permit to one power unit and allowing it to haul any trailer and equipment as long as they are within the dimensions and weight stated on the permit.  Truckers will also be able to show proof of permit electronically on their devices.  A final vote on HB 4644, sponsored by Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona is expected in January.

Legislation sponsored by Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville to designate English as the official language in Michigan was reported out of committee last week before the Legislature recessed for their Christmas recess.  The bill requires official documents and forms be offered in English, and that English is spoken during public meetings.  The bill would not prohibit state agencies or local governments from also providing documents in other languages.  Believe it or not, there was controversy over this legislation.

Legislation sent to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature included legislation overhauling the Unemployment Insurance Agency.  The bill includes new procedures to address the problem of impostor claims, where identity thieves file claims for benefits in someone else’s name. The maximum penalty for committing fraud to obtain unemployment benefits would be reduced from four times the amount of the benefits received to the equivalent of the benefits received.  Although a significant reduction, this would still remain the strictest penalty nationally.

Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing said goodbye to the House of Representatives last Wednesday as it was his last legislative session day before he takes his new post as mayor of Lansing.  Mr. Schor started in the Legislature as a staffer for then State Senator and now U.S. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township.  He then served on the Ingham County Board of Commissioners before being elected to the House in 2012.  Schor would have been termed out as a House member at the end of the 2018 legislative session.

It is quiet in Lansing this week as many staffers, as well as legislators, are taking time to prepare for Christmas and the Holiday Season.

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The Michigan Association of Timbermen are looking forward to another eventful and educational Annual Meeting. Please join us at Boyne Mountain Lodge on April 26th and 27th, 2018!

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