Forest Management Plans and Registration in SFIA

Tony Miller explaining plan to landowner

A forest management plan is a written document establishing your intentions for your woods. It helps you understand what is in your woods and how to improve them. A unique plan is developed for your woods based on your land management goals. To be eligible for SFIA, your plan must be prepared by a DNR-approved plan writer. The plan writer walks your woods, describes and maps the plants, trees and soils, and gives you steps to achieve your goals based on the current conditions of your woods. Having a forest management plan ensures that landowners are meeting the purpose of SFIA, which is to encourage long-term sustainable forest management. The plans also open up opportunities for you to get assistance from federal and state agencies.

These plans are also called Woodland Stewardship Plans. Plans are typically 12-30 pages long and include maps and resources to help you manage your woods.

Plans must be updated every 10 years to remain eligible for SFIA. You must implement your plan to remain in SFIA. This can mean a variety of different things and depends on your management goals. Read the recommendations in your plan and decide which actions to complete. Maybe you build a trial, set up a thinning, remove invasive species, or plant new trees. Put good forest stewardship into practice on your land!

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. There is typically a few bits of information, such as the amount of SFIA eligible acres, that need to be added to the plan.

 

Registering Your Forest Management Plan

Due to a recent legislative change, to be eligible for SFIA your forest management plan must also be registered with the DNR. When a plan is registered, a DNR forester reviews the plan to makes sure it is eligible for SFIA and meets federal and state standards. If the plan is missing information the DNR forester will work with the original plan writer to make sure you have an accurate, useful plan that is also compliant to SFIA. 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. But be sure to tell the plan writer you want your plan registered and that you are interested in SFIA. After you plan is registered, you will be able to receive important updates and a reminder before your plan expires after 10 years. Cost-share assistance is also available to help implement your plan.

The standard fee for registering your plan is $50.

To get 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 before the plan writer is able to complete your plan.

Covenants

In order for your SFIA application to be accepted by the Dept. of Revenue, you must first record an SFIA covenant at the County Recorder's Office in which the land you are enrolling is located.

A covenant is a set of obligations or requirements placed on your land. The SFIA program rewards landowners for keeping forests as forests under an SFIA covenant. Anyone who buys or inherits the land must abide by the terms of the covenant.

There are now three covenant length options of 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 have your forest management plan or Woodland Stewardship Plan registered with the DNR by May 15, 2019 to remain eligible for SFIA payments. Failure to register your plan by May 15, 2019 may result in a missed payment for 2019. Current SFIA enrollees are encouraged to register their plans as soon as possible to prevent delays. Previously, only the cover page of the plan and a map was required to be sent in with all SFIA applications. Under the new law, the entire plan must be submitted and registered with the DNR.

Registration Fee Waived

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

How to Register Your Plan

All current SFIA enrollees were required to have a forest management plan as part of enrollment. However, recent law changes now require you to register your plan with the DNR. To register your plan, submit all pages of your plan, including the map, in electronic format to: [email protected]

If you have a paper copy of the plan, ask the forester who wrote the plan to send you an electronic version or scan the pages to .pdf or .jpg format yourself.

If you are unable to get your plan in electronic format mail a paper copy of all pages to:
MN DNR Forestry – SFIA
500 Lafayette Rd
St Paul, MN 55155

If your forest management plan was already registered with the DNR, then you don't need to register again until your plan is due for renewal. If your plans is registered you would have received a confirmation letter from the DNR at that time. If you are unsure and would like to find out if your plan is registered email [email protected].

Can't Find Your Plan?

First, look around. The plan is likely in a large, 3-ring binder titled "Woodland Stewardship Plan." Plans are typically 12 – 30 pages long and include a map. The binder also includes general reference material about managing your woodland.

If you can't find your plan, contact your plan writer and ask for an electronic copy. If you don't remember who your plan writer is, contact us. The cover page of your plan should have been submitted with your previous SFIA application. Email [email protected] and ask for the name and contact information of the plan writer listed on the cover page.

If you are still unable to locate your plan, and it is not already registered, you will need to get a new plan written. Contact a DNR-approved plan writer ASAP.

Important Dates

The following dates apply to those who are enrolled in SFIA on or before December 31, 2017.

2018

May 1

Dept. of Revenue mails out annual certification letters to all SFIA enrollees at the beginning of May each year.

July 1

Annual certification letters must be completed by landowners and returned to the Dept. of Revenue by July 1.

  • 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 already allow public access

October 1

The Dept. of Revenue sends out annual incentive payments at the beginning of October each year.

  • New payment rates begins. 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 at the beginning of May each year.

May 15

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

May 15

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

October 1

The Dept. of Revenue sends out annual incentive payments at the beginning of October each year.

  • New payment rates apply. All SFIA enrollees will receive the eight-year covenant payment in 2018, unless you elected a different covenant by May 15, 2019.