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The Virginia Department of Forestry is seeking 12 species of acorns and nuts that can be planted at its Augusta Forestry Center to grow into tree seedlings that will become the forests of tomorrow. Virginia landowners interested in sharing their acorns or nuts are asked to follow the following guidelines:

During September and early October, it is easy to pick up nuts in many yards and parking lots. Try to stay away from trees in the forest because there may be different species of trees nearby and the nuts need to be sorted by species for proper planting. Place the nuts in a breathable sack or bag (no plastic, please). Try to keep as much trash (sticks, leaves, gravel) out as possible. It doesn’t matter if acorns still have the caps on them or not. On the bag, please label the species and date of collection. Once the nuts are collected, place in a cool area until you are ready to drop them off at a VDOF office. Nuts must be delivered to a VDOF office by Oct. 17.

The species the tree nursery needs this year are: black oak, black walnut, Chinese chestnut, chestnut oak, Northern red oak, pin oak, sawtooth oak, Southern red oak, swamp chestnut oak, swamp white oak, white oak and willow oak.

Nursery Forester Joshua McLaughlin said, “Donating acorns and nuts to the VDOF nursery is fast and easy, but the tremendous appreciation we have for those who do is long lasting.”

If you have questions or if there is a tree that needs to be identified before you collect the nuts, please call Joshua at the Augusta Forestry Center: 540-363-7000.

The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians. With nearly 16 million acres of forestland and more than 108,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products and related industries, Virginia forests provide an overall economic output of more than $21 billion annually.

Headquartered in Charlottesville, the agency has forestry staff members assigned to every county to provide citizen service and public safety protection across the commonwealth, which it’s been doing now for more than 100 years.

Make Conservation Work for You in 2019 with the Environmental Quality Incentives Program

The changing season brings a new opportunity for Virginia farmers and forest landowners to reap a rich harvest of productivity through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Sign up now for customized assistance from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that can enhance the health and function of large and small acreages.

Technical and financial assistance is available to plan and install conservation practices on cropland, pastureland, and non-industrial private forestland. NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at specific times. Virginia has established two application-batching periods for national programmatic and landscape conservation initiatives. Application batching period one: application deadline Oct. 19 and batching deadline Nov. 2. Application batching period two: Application deadline Nov. 2 and batching deadline Nov. 16.

While NRCS will continue to accept general EQIP applications, first quarter activities will be limited to subaccounts not affected by potential changes in the new Farm Bill. Special EQIP fund pools for the following initiatives will be available to producers/landowners on Virginia’s Eastern Shore:

• High Tunnel System – Steelframed, polyethylene-covered structures to extend the growing season in an environmentally safe manner;

• Longleaf Pine – Stand establishment and management within the historical range in Southeastern Virginia;

• American Black Duck Initiative – Focused conservation practices to restore wintering habitat in the Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay watersheds;

• On-Farm Energy – Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) or farm energy audits to assess energy use and recommend ways to reduce it;

• Organic – Practices to help certified organic growers, those working to achieve organic certification, and specialty crop producers address resource concerns on their operations

• StrikeForce – Priority ranking for cropland, high tunnel, and livestock practices to support program participation among underserved producers in rural communities;

• Conservation Activity Plans – Development of site-specific plans to recommend conservation practices that will address an identified natural resource need.

To be considered for a given application batching period, an applicant MUST submit a signed and dated conservation program application to the local NRCS service center by close of business on the application deadline. NRCS will not accept applications from individuals/entities without farm records established through USDA’s Farm Service Agency. The name, tax identification number, and address provided must also match IRS income tax records.

Applicants approved for financial assistance will receive a payment based on an NRCS determination of incurred costs and income sacrificed for practice implementation. If you previously applied for EQIP and were not funded, contact your local NRCS Service Center for more information.

Call or visit the Accomac NRCS office to learn more about USDA program eligibility requirements and how EQIP and other Farm Bill programs can help you better protect and manage natural resources on your land. General program information is available on the NRCS Virginia website at www.va.nrcs.usda.gov

Market Facilitation Program

The Market Facilitation Program (MFP) will be held Oct. 4, at 8:30 a.m., at the 33446 Research Dr. Painter, and provides direct payments to help corn, cotton, sorghum, soybean, wheat, dairy, and hog producers who have been directly impacted by illegal retailatory tariffs. The MFP is established under that statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and is under the administration of the USDA FSA.

Join H.L. Kellam from the USDA FSA office for updates on how growers can apply for the MFP.

For more questions, call your agricultural extension agent 757-787- 1361 ext. 14.

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