House passes Farm Bill with key provision supporting state Forest Action Plans.
WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives has passed its version of the 2018 farm bill with a party-line vote, 213 to 211. The National Association of State Foresters believes this legislation’s Forestry Title would go far in supporting the critical work of the nation’s 59 state and territorial foresters.
The House legislation contains much of the language NASF recommended Congress include in the next farm bill. It would expand the Community Wood Energy Program and direct the Agriculture Department to increase its support for innovative wood construction, helping to bolster the sustainable forest products markets that are necessary to keeping forests as forests.
The bill would also authorize at least $20 million in national forest system funding for cross-boundary fuels treatment, create several new categorical exclusions, and allow counties and tribes to enter into Good Neighbor Authority agreements. These federal forest management reforms would allow for more active forest management across boundaries, and in turn, dramatic improvements in the health and resiliency of our nation’s forests.
“Most importantly, the House legislation would reauthorize Landscape Scale Restoration, the State and Private Forestry program that awards competitive grants to national-priority forestry projects identified in the states’ Forest Action Plans,” said George Geissler, NASF president and Washington state forester. “Collectively, these plans serve as a national roadmap for protecting and enhancing all forests—private, state, and federal—in the most collaborative, resource efficient, and scientifically proven ways we know how.”
In the coming days, NASF looks forward to working with Congress to ensure the final farm bill supports state foresters and their ability to address critical forest priorities through state Forest Action Plans.
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