What kind of assistance is available from the government?
If you qualify, you can receive cost sharing to reforest cutover land, plant open land, or improve your woodlands. The amount of money you would receive is based on approximately 40% of the statewide average cost of a particular practice.
In addition, technical assistance is provided by the South Carolina Forestry Commission to help you carry out your forestry work. A Commission forester will advise you as to which species of trees to plant, which kind of site preparation is needed for planting, which herbicides to use, or which trees to remove from your woods. The forester will provide a Forest Management Plan, which will include his recommendations for cost-share practices.
How do I qualify for cost-share assistance?
Any private, non-industrial landowner who owns less than 1,000 acres of qualifying woodland may qualify for federal cost sharing. The acreage limitation does not apply for the state program. The land must be capable of growing at least 50 cubic feet of wood per acre per year. Most land in South Carolina is productive enough to meet this requirement.
Where does the money come from?
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a federal program, administered by the Farm Services Agency (FSA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) is a federal program, administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the Department of Agriculture.
The Forest Renewal Program (FRP) is a state program, administered by the Forestry Commission and funded mostly by a tax on roundwood processed by forest industry in the state. The remainder (20%) is funded by state appropriations.
Other special programs may be available from time to time in response to natural disasters or special needs.
How do I apply for these programs?
Contact the Project Forester with the South Carolina Forestry Commission for your County. The Commission's forester will examine your property and prepare a management plan, or approve a plan written by someone else. The forester will advise you which programs to apply for.
To apply for the State's FRP program, just complete the application provided by the Commission's forester and return it.
To apply for the Federal CRP program, sign up at the County FSA office. It will help if you take your Forest Management Plan with you.
To apply for the federal WHIP program, sign up at the County NRCS office. It will help if you take your Forest Management Plan with you.
When will I get the money?
There is often a waiting list of applications for the various programs, since funds are limited. In order to qualify for funding, you must not begin any reforestation work until you are notified that your application has been approved.
Once your application has been funded, you may begin your site preparation, tree planting, herbicide application, etc. When the work is finished, notify the Commission forester, and he will verify that the work has been satisfactorily completed and will authorize payment.
In the case of reforestation, it may be possible to get a partial payment after the site preparation has been completed. The remainder will be paid after the trees have been satisfactorily planted. Remember invoices for work done must be submitted to the local forestry office prior to any payments being issued.
Is there a time limit for completing my work?
Depending on the program, you will have up to 20 months to complete the work after your application is funded. If you cannot complete it in that period due to some circumstance beyond your control, contact the Commission's forester about an extension. In some cases, it can be granted.
Will the government pay the contractor for me?
The money will be paid directly to you when the forester approves the work. You are responsible for paying contractors.
How do I contact the Project Forester?
Click on the link above to find your local forester and contact information or look in the telephone directory under South Carolina, State of, Forestry Commission.
May I use the services of a consulting forester or an industry forester?
You may use the services of any forester you desire, but your Forest Management Plan must be approved by a forester from the State Forestry Commission.
In some cases, a private consulting forester or a forester from a forest industry can provide a turnkey job on your reforestation or timber stand improvement. The Forestry Commission can provide you with a list of consulting foresters, and forest industry assistance programs. Lists for contractors who can clear your land, plant trees, apply herbicides, or provide other services are also available.
I've never done anything like this before, and it sounds complicated. How much help can I expect to get from the forester?
The Commission's forester will provide all the help you need to apply for funds, find a contractor, order seedlings, etc. In some cases, it will be easier to use a reforestation contractor or consulting forester. The Forestry Commission can provide the names and numbers of these people.