Cost Share and Tax Credits

Forestry Assistance Programs and Tax Credit

Options for Mississippi Landowners

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Forestry Assistance Programs

Forest Resource Development Program - FRDP was established to encourage the reforestation and management of Mississippi’s forest resources. The program provides technical assistance and cost-share funding for tree planting and forest improvement practices for the purpose of long-range timber production. Qualified landowners are eligible for up to $7,000 per year and must maintain established practices for a period of ten years. Contact your local office of the Mississippi Forestry Commission for information.

Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program - WHIP provides technical assistance to landowners to help establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat. It supports a wide range of habitat improvement practices which establish, improve, protect, enhance, or restore the present condition of the land for the specific purpose of improving conditions for wildlife. Agreement periods can be 5 to 10 years. Shorter term agreements may be used to relieve wildlife habitat emergencies. Contact your local office of the Natural Resource Conservation Service for information.

Wetland Reserve Program - The WRP allows the federal government to obtain conservation easements from landowners, and provides cost-share payments for wetland rehabilitation practices. The federal government buys easements at a price equal to the lesser of the agricultural value of the land, an established value limit, or an amount offered by the landowner. It also provides cost-share assistance to restore wetland functions and values. Some technical assistance responsibilities are shared with other agencies, groups and organizations. Contact your local office of the Natural Resource Conservation Service for information.

Limited Resource Farmers Program - The overall goal of the program is to increase the number of small or limited resource and minority producers and directly improve the farm income of these producers. Objectives are to make grants and enter into agreements with community-based organizations and educational institutions to provide outreach and technical assistance. The program is applied to selected counties on a yearly basis. The Mississippi Forestry Commission provides technical assistance for tree planting. Contact your local office of the Natural Resource Conservation Service for information.

Conservation Reserve Program - CRP was created to stabilize soil erosion on marginal cropland by establishing grass or trees. CRP allows for incentive payments for applying certain practices as well as annual rental payments based on acres under landowner contract. Contract periods usually range from 10 to 15 years. Technical support for conservation plan development is supplied by the Natural Resource Conservation Service. Technical assistance for trees is supplied by the Mississippi Forestry Commission. Contact your local office of the Farm Service Agency for information.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program - The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) assists private landowners by addressing natural resource problems which threaten environmental quality. The program targets watersheds, regions, and areas of special environmental sensitivity or other areas facing significant soil, water, or related natural resource concerns. Approval of EQIP assistance is based on the potential environmental benefits resulting from the project. The Natural Resource Conservation Service is responsible for establishing program policies, procedures and priorities, including the cost-share and incentive payment limits and the eligibility of specific practices. Contact your local office of the Farm Service Agency for applications, contraction and financial matters, including program allocation and accounting.

Forestry Tax Credits

Mississippi Reforestation Tax Credit - The Reforestation Tax Credit provides a Mississippi income tax credit for up to 50% of the cost of approved hardwood and pine reforestation practices. The tax credit promotes reforestation on private, nonindustrial lands. The credit applies only to individuals or groups of private nonindustrial landowners. There is a lifetime limit of $75,000. Any unused tax credit may carry over into future years. Landowners must have a reforestation plan prepared by a graduate or registered forester. The cost of planting orchards, Christmas trees, or ornamental trees does not qualify.

Acreage enrolled in a state or federal incentive program is not eligible for the tax credit. However, certain landowners may be eligible for the tax credit in addition to incentive payments. Those landowners whose adjusted gross income is less than the federal Earned Income Credit level may be eligible for this provision. See a tax advisor for further information.

The work must be verified by the forester on Mississippi tax form 80-315 as completed according to the prepared plan and submitted to the state Tax Commission by the landowner in order to qualify. The law became effective January 1, 1999. Contact the Mississippi Tax Commission for a copy of tax form 80-315 and for additional tax-related information.

Federal Reforestation Tax Credit and Amortization - The IRS provides for a federal tax credit and amortization for reforestation. A qualified landowner can claim a 10 percent tax credit up to $10,000 for reforestation expenses. The same expenses can be amortized (deducted annually) over a 7-year period. Contact a tax advisor, the IRS, or the Mississippi State Extension Service for additional information.

To apply for a forestry assistance program or for additional information, contact the local office of the sponsoring agency. Local office contacts are available from the following state and federal agencies.

Farm Service Agency

USDA Forest Service

Mississippi Tax Commission

Mississippi Forestry Commission

Natural Resource Conservation Service

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