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Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program

The Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program's goal is to reduce the threat of the Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) in Mississippi.

Southern pine beetle forest infestation,
courtesy USDA Forest Service,

In 2008, the MFC initiated a cost-share program to encourage private forest landowners to thin their dense pine stands and prevent future SPB infestations. The cost-share program provided to the landowner serves as an incentive to conduct thinning operations before the next SPB outbreak, regardless of market conditions for pulpwood.


Now Accepting Applications in All Counties in Mississippi

In 2022, cost-share funds will be made available statewide for pine forestland.

Cost Share Rate

Landowners may be eligible for up to $100 per acre for pre-commercial and first-commercial thinnings. Total cost shares will not exceed $10,000 (100 acres) per individual landowner (sole proprietor). There is also a limit of $15,000 (150 acres) for a partnership, LLC, FLP, estate, or trust with two or more members. Landowners must provide receipts for actual costs before any cost-share payments can be authorized. These receipts are required for federal reporting purposes.

Landowner Conditions to Qualify:

Non-Industrial Ownership

To qualify for any federal cost shares, a landowner must be non-industrial and not own more than 5,000 acres. The non-industrial ownership category can include sole proprietors, partnerships, family limited partnerships, limited liability corporations, trusts, and estates. Usually excluded are C-corporations and REITs. The MS Forestry Commission has the last word on whether properties qualify as non-industrial. The name(s) on the W-9 form and application should match the deed or other document of title evidencing ownership of the land. Please provide the property deed with the application for verification.

Joint Ownership

Where more than one person owns the land jointly, such as a group, association, or corporation, the joint owners are considered as one eligible landowner. All owners in joint ownership must sign the cost-share application. Individual owners who share in joint ownership, but also own separate property in their own name, may participate as individuals, and the joint ownership does not affect their eligibility. Application with joint ownerships will include only one tax identification number and only one payment to be issued. The principal applicant will be responsible for dividing the payment appropriately among the owners.

Must NOT already be enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

Federal law prevents landowners from receiving federal cost-share funds from more than one source on the same acreage. The CRP program already offers thinning cost share to landowners with enrolled pine and hardwood plantations. Consequently, if you own a pine plantation enrolled in the CRP program, contact your local Farm Service Agency representative for application instructions for their thinning cost share.

20 Acres (or More) of Contiguous Pine Stand

This is the minimum commercially viable acreage for thinning in north Mississippi. However, multiple non-adjacent parcels of land may be included on the same application up to a maximum of 100 acres. Landowners are encouraged to pool their pine acreage with a neighbor to make a much more commercially viable thinning. 

Additional Pine Plantation Requirements:

For Pre-Commercial Thinning

  • 4-12 years of age
  • Have a stand density greater than 700 stems per acre
  • Comprised of at least 70% loblolly, shortleaf, or slash pine
  • Rated as moderate, high or very high for SPB outbreak (see SPB Hazard Rating)

First Commercial Thinning

  • 12 years of age or older (see Caution below)
  • Comprised of at least 70% loblolly, shortleaf, or slash pine
  • Rated as high or very high for SPB outbreak (see SPB Hazard Rating)

How to Apply for Cost Share:

1. Get on the waiting list. 

Interested landowners can contact our field administrator, Alan Van Valkenburg, to schedule an appointment for a field visit to see if your property is at high risk for beetle damage. If it qualifies, you can fill out an application for cost-share. The cost-share monies are administered on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified pine stands.

2. Prepare for thinning. 

Once landowners are on the waiting list, they must contact a local forester to plan their thinning operation. The MS Board of Registration for Foresters keeps a listing of foresters by county.

3. Stand Assessment/Inspection.

The Cost-Share Administrator will inspect the stand being enrolled prior to thinning operations to ensure that it meets the qualifications listed above. Thinning before this inspection disqualifies the property.

4. Enroll by signing a Cost Share Application and W9 form. 

The landowner provides proof of ownership and the legal description of the stand at this time. A landowner is officially enrolled and has funds dedicated to their thinning operation once the application once both forms are signed and approved.

More Information About the Program

For more information on the Cost Share Program, contact the MFC Area Forester for your county.