The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is ready to help African Americans who own forest land in 18 area counties and are interested in managing their forest land for timber, recreation, wildlife or to keep it in the family.

Assistance is available through the Keeping It In the Family (KIITF) Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Program, an award-winning project. The program is now available in counties around the Pine Bluff area, according to a news release.

Counties where KIITF will be operating are Jefferson, Bradley, Calhoun, Clark, Cleveland, Columbia, Dallas, Drew, Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Sevier and Union.

KIITF began in 2016 with a grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities to operate in eight southwest Arkansas counties with the overall main goal of keeping forest land in the hands of its African American owners primarily by making it profitable to do so and to resolve heir property issues, both barriers to land retention.

The UAPB Small Farm Program, directed by Henry English, has staff available to help African American forest landowner’s access local forest services through state and federal agencies. Heir property assistance helps landowners obtain clear titles to their land.

English reminds landowners that they do not have to live in one of the 18 counties to obtain this free assistance as long as their land is in one of the 18 counties. Anyone interested in forestry assistance through the Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Program should contact the Small Farm Program at 870-575-7225.

Churches and organizations interested in providing meeting space for the project staff to conduct an informational meeting can volunteer their space by calling the same number.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all of its Extension and Research programs and services without discrimination.