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Registration is open for a free, two-day conference scheduled for late October in Rocky Mount that will educate forest and farm owners about strategies for estate planning, sustainable forestry practices and technical and financial assistance available through state and federal agencies.

The Forest Landowner Conference, set for October 25-26 at the Rocky Mount Event Center, is being held by the nonprofit Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project that Roanoke Cooperative helped establish a decade ago. 

Speakers and exhibitors from more than a dozen state and federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations and companies are expected to take part.

The conference is held annually to provide forest and farm owners in eastern North Carolina and southern Virginia with the opportunity to network with experts and peers and to learn about programs that can help them increase the health and asset value of their land and its habitats.

Advance registration is required. 

Interested parties can register via the project’s website or via Eventbrite 

The conference agenda is being finalized but is taking shape as follows:

Session 1: 8:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. — October 25

Engagement with exhibitors and presentations on estate planning. Issues related to heir property and land ownership rights are among the most common and challenging ones faced by families that the SFLRP assists, program Director Alton Perry says.

Session 2: 8:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. — October 26

Presentations from a variety of forestry and conservation experts and agencies, including (tentatively) the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the USDA Farm Service Agency, the NC Forest Service and experts on agritourism and forestland insurance.

The Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project began in 2013 as a partnership between the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Forest Landowner Conference, the U.S. Forest Service and, more recently, the American Forest Foundation. 

The program works to restore and conserve threatened forestland in 13 North Carolina counties by increasing forest-owner income and land asset values. 

The counties are: Bertie, Chowan, Edgecombe, Gates, Granville, Halifax, Hertford, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Perquimans, Vance and Warren. 

All landowners owning at least one contiguous 8-acre parcel of woodland are eligible to participate.

Forest landowners do not have to live in these counties to participate in the conference. The registration deadline is October 13.