The FIFB Coalition includes over 100 forest groups representing all aspects of the forest sector, including forest owners, conservationists, hunters, anglers, forest industry and natural resource professionals. They work to collaboratively build consensus policy solutions for consideration by Congress. The steering committee is led by the American Forest Foundation, National Association of State Foresters and National Wild Turkey Federation. IFWOA is a member of the coalition and signs on to letters of support for various Farm Bill requests and positions of interest to our members.
The FIFB Coalition has prepared a list of summarized recommendations to Congress. It includes recommendations on forestry, conservation, research, extension, rural development and trade. The Conservation recommendations could potentially provide additional resources to private landowners, here are their Conservation recommendations:
• Remove re-enrollment limitations for forested stands in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that have undergone mid-contract management and restore cost-share funding for those activities.
• Support the creation of the Forest Conservation Easement Program (FCEP) while protecting the investments of other longstanding conservation easement programs.
• Improve Post-Disaster Landowner Assistance through the Emergency Forest Restoration Program.
• Exempt forest landowners from the requirement to have a Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Number.
• Amend 2018 Farm Bill language directing “10% of conservation program funding to be used for practices that protect source water for drinking water” to ensure higher priority on surface water/forests (as opposed to groundwater).
• Increase forest production, drought resilience and climate resilience within key NRCS programs.
• Enhance investments in forest health including both emergency response to new pest introductions and funding for long-term solutions such as resistance breeding. Explore organizational changes to improve prioritization and coordination of invasive species management within USDA.
• Reauthorize and strengthen programs that support increased workforce capacity within Federal Agencies and partnerships serving the natural resources and conservation community.
• Expand NRCS use of financial support to State Forestry agencies, private consulting foresters, and other entities to serve as Technical Service Providers (TSPs) for NRCS programs.
• In addition to existing set-asides, establish a 10% forestry allocation at the national level, including language that directs state offices/technical committees to assess and establish priority forestry practices, in The Environmental Quality Incentives Program ( EQIP).
To see more on the FIFB recommendations, see the summary recommendations or the full recommendations with justifications. Follow along the American Forest Foundation policy pages to see federal policy issues as they evolve.