The award-winning University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Sustainable Forestry Land Retention Program (SFLR) recently expanded to include 10 additional counties. They are Jefferson, Bradley, Calhoun, Clark, Cleveland, Dallas, Drew, Miller, Pike and Sevier.

“The program now includes 18 counties, up from the original eight in southwest Arkansas when the program began in 2016,” said Kandi Williams, Extension Program associate and SFLR outreach coordinator.

Prior to the COVID 19 pandemic, meetings to introduce county residents to the program were routine, but now they are a thing of the past, said Henry English, Ph.D, director of the UAPB Small Farm Program. These meetings were used to identify forestry landowners who were interested in keeping their land in the family.

“We are striving to carry out the mission of the grant which is to educate African-American forest landowners on properly managing forestland; applying conservation practices to improve sustainability and value; and keeping the land in the family,” English said. “And, if we can help you do this, call us.”

SFLR provides forest landowners education and information on forest management, U.S. Department of Agriculture programs that provide financial assistance for management, the use of forestry infrastructure, education on heir property and direct one-on-one assistance in forest-related matters. Landowners or part-owners do not need to be residents of one of the 18 counties to participate. Only their land must be in one of the counties.

SFLR is part of the Keeping it in the Family (KIITF) forestry conservation model which is a collaboration of federal, state, local, private and community-based organizations to help keep private forestlands in families and is managed by the American Forest Foundation.

Since no in-person meetings are scheduled for the immediate future, UAPB’s Small Farm Program has officials ready to answer any questions about the program or advise where to get answers to forestry-related matters.

The 18 counties where the program is now operational are as follows: Bradley, Calhoun, Clark, Cleveland, Columbia, Dallas, Drew, Hempstead, Howard, Jefferson, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Sevier and Union.

For assistance, people may contact one of these UAPB advisers: Kandi Williams, SFLR outreach coordinator, 870-571-9428; Joe Friend, UAPB area forester, 870-500-8454; and UAPB Small Farm Director Henry English, 870-575-7246.

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