Forest Management Plans and Registration in SFIA

Tony Miller explaining plan to landowner

To be eligible for SFIA, you must have a forest management plan, also called a Woodland Stewardship Plan, prepared by a DNR-approved plan writer. A forest management plan is a written document that outlines your intentions for your woods. Your land management goals set the tone for the plan, and the final document helps you better understand your land and how to improve it.

When you schedule a forest management plan, a DNR-approved plan writer walks your woods, describes and maps the plants, trees and soils, and prepares a 12-to-30 page forest management plan that includes resources to help you achieve your goals based on the current conditions of your woods.

You must implement your plan in order to remain eligible for SFIA. Implementation can mean a variety of things and depends on your management goals: maybe you build a trial, set up a thinning, remove invasive species, or plant new trees. Ultimately, you decide which actions to complete after reading your plan's recommendations. The point is to put good forest stewardship into practice on your land.

Having a forest management plan ensures that you fulfill the purpose of SFIA, which is to encourage long-term sustainable forest management. The plans also open up opportunities for you to receive assistance, including cost share, from federal and state agencies.

Forest management plans must be updated every 10 years for your land to remain eligible for SFIA.

CAP106 Plans

If you have a CAP 106 plan prepared by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), it may qualify for SFIA if it was written by a DNR-approved plan writer. Contact the plan writer and have the plan sent to the DNR for review and registration. Typically, some information must be added to the CAP 106 plan, such as the amount of SFIA-eligible acres.

Registering Your Forest Management Plan

Recent legislative changes mean your forest management plan must be registered with the DNR in order to be eligible for SFIA.

When you register your plan, a DNR forester reviews it to makes sure it is eligible for SFIA and meets federal and state standards. If the plan is missing any information, the DNR forester will work with the original plan writer to ensure you have an accurate, useful plan that is also SFIA compliant. Your forest management plan must be registered with the DNR before your SFIA application will be accepted.

Your plan writer should submit your plan to the DNR for registration. However, you must instruct your plan writer to do this, and also tell them you are interested in SFIA. After you register your plan, you will receive occasional updates from DNR on land management assistance, as well as a reminder when your plan is set to expire (in 10 years).

The standard fee for registering your plan is $50.

To have a forest management plan prepared for your woods, contact an approved plan writer.

Do not wait until the last minute to contact a plan writer. Depending on the circumstance, it can take several months for a plan writer to complete your plan.

Covenants

Before your SFIA application will be accepted by the Dept. of Revenue, you must first record an SFIA covenant at the County Recorder's Office where the land is located.

There are three covenant length options: 8, 20, and 50 years. Payment rates increase as the covenant length increases.
For more information or to get started with a covenant, go the Dept. of Revenue SFIA website.

Current SFIA Enrollee Special Details

Register Your Plan by May 15, 2019

You must register your forest management plan or Woodland Stewardship Plan with the DNR by May 15, 2019 to be eligible for SFIA payments.

If you are already enrolled in SFIA, you should register your plan as soon as possible. Under the new law, the entire plan must be submitted, including the map, and registered with the DNR. Failure to register your plan by May 15, 2019 may result in a missed payment for 2019.

Registration Fee Waived

If you were enrolled in SFIA on or before December 31, 2017 and need to register your plan, the $50 registration fee will be waived. However, to take advantage of this waived fee, you must register your forest management plan by May 15, 2019. All newly written plans will be subject to the standard registration fee of $50.

How to Register Your Plan

All SFIA enrollees must register a forest management plan or Woodland Stewardship Plan with the DNR. To register your plan, email all pages, including the map, to: [email protected]

If you have a paper copy of your plan, ask the forester who wrote it to send you an electronic version (PDF). Or, you may scan the pages to .pdf or .jpg format yourself.

If you are unable to obtain your plan in an electronic format, you may mail a paper copy of all pages, including the map, to:

MN DNR Forestry – SFIA
500 Lafayette Rd
St Paul, MN 55155

If your forest management plan is currently registered with the DNR, you do not need to register it again until it is due for renewal. If you are unsure whether your plan is registered with the DNR, email [email protected].

Can't Find Your Plan?

Forest management plans typically are 12-to-30 pages long and compiled in a large, three-ring binder titled "Woodland Stewardship Plan." The binder also includes a map and general reference material about managing your woodland.

If you cannot find your plan, contact your plan writer and ask for an electronic copy. If you don't remember who your plan writer is, the DNR may be able to help you locate him or her. Include the following information in your email to [email protected]:

  • Your full name and your spouse's name (if applicable)
  • Your official mailing address
  • The county where your land is located
  • The approximate number of acres, or a rough idea of how many acres, you have

If you cannot locate your plan or the plan writer, and your plan is not currently registered with the DNR, you will need to have a new plan written. Contact a DNR-approved plan writer ASAP.

2018

May 1

Dept. of Revenue mails out annual certification letters to all SFIA enrollees.

July 1

Deadline to submit your annual certification letter to Dept. of Revenue.

  • You may choose a new covenant length now or wait until May 15, 2019.

     

July 1

Deadline to notify Dept. of Revenue if you elect to withdraw land from SFIA

  • Your land must be under 1,920 acres, in a conservation easement, and not open public access

October 1

Dept. of Revenue sends out annual incentive payments

  • New payment rates begin on this date. All SFIA enrollees will receive the eight-year covenant payment in 2018, unless you elected a different covenant by July 1, 2018.

2019

May 1

Dept. of Revenue mails out annual certification letters to all SFIA enrollees

May 15

Deadline to notify Dept. of Revenue if you elect to change your covenant length to 20 or 50 years

May 15

Deadline to submit your forest management plan to DNR for registration.

Ocotober 1

Dept. of Revenue sends out annual incentive payments.

  • New payment rates apply.