South East Forest Landowner Outreach Initiative (SEFLO)
A grassroots network for conservation and rural development
The primary focus of NNFP’s Southeast Forest Landowner Outreach is to increase the chances for limited resource African American farmers – specifically in the West Central Black Belt, and generally in the Southeastern United States – to learn about, and gain access to, federal and state programs. As one segment of farmers learns the process, they will share the knowledge of improving farm viability and the conservation and enhancement of natural resources with their peers. The immediate goal is to increase access to and participation in the full range of USDA programs. NNFP’s long-term goal is to improve the economic, ecological and social sustainability of rural communities.
The following are our objectives:
- Increasing the participation of African American and other disadvantaged farmers in a variety of USDA programs, particularly conservation programs and incentives such as CRP, CSP, EQIP, WRP, and WHIP
- Supporting organizational development of both formal and informal group leadership teams to deliver outreach and training to minority landowners throughout the target region
- Developing community-based leadership skills and relationships that result in improved communications and information filtration systems to underserved minority populations
- Convening a process for minority landowners to discuss barriers faced in participating in conservation and other USDA programs
- Creating a keener awareness of value of forest resources
- Working with agency personnel and university staff on barrier analysis
Currently our focus is around Black Belt counties of Alabama and Mississippi, with secondary emphasis on Delta counties in Arkansas, as well as West Tennessee and Southwest Georgia. These Black Belt counties are areas of documented persistent poverty, lower educational attainment, and lower median incomes.