NACD SUBMITS COMMENTS TO NRCS ON NIPF
WASHINGTON – Today, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) submitted public comments to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) regarding guidance for identification of nonindustrial private forest land (NIPF).
In late 2020, the agency requested feedback on its proposed revision of the NIPF definition, which is used to determine forest landowner program eligibility for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
“For more than 75 years, conservation districts have been leaders in locally-led efforts by engaging private landowners to partake in voluntary conservation practices on the ground,” NACD President Tim Palmer said. “Conservation districts across the country have worked with forest landowners and have not previously raised concerns with the definition of non-industrial private forest land (NIPF).”
In the comments, NACD urged NRCS to reconsider the proposed 45,000-acre limitation proposed in the guidance and encouraged the agency to ensure that the State Technical Committees (STC) either include a forestry representative or that the STC consult the appropriate forestry contact. Additionally, NACD recommended any proposed changes to the definition of NIPF first be vetted by the Joint Forestry Team (JFT), a federal, state and local government partnership comprised of NRCS, NACD, the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) and the U.S. Forest Service.
“NACD thanks NRCS for the opportunity to provide feedback on this proposal and looks forward to continuing to work with the agency in the future to ensure strong locally-led conservation efforts are executed,” Palmer said.
About the National Association of Conservation Districts:
The National Association of Conservation Districts is the nonprofit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state and territory associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit: www.nacdnet.org.