USDA Releases Final Planning Rule for Forests

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced USDA’s Final Planning Rule for America's 193-million acre National Forest System. The rule includes stronger protections for forests, water, and wildlife while supporting the economic vitality of rural communities. Over half of Forest Service units are currently operating with plans that are more than 15 years old.

The final rule includes: mandatory components to restore and maintain forests and grasslands; requirements to provide habitat for plant and animal diversity and species conservation; and requirements intended to keep common native species common, contribute to the recovery of threatened and endangered species, conserve proposed and candidate species, and protect species of conservation concern.

In making the announcement, Secretary Vilsack pointed out – the collaboration that drove this rulemaking effort exemplifies America's Great Outdoors initiative to foster conservation that is designed by and accomplished in partnership with the American people. The final rule also emphasizes collaboration, sound science and protections for land, water and wildlife. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.