Sightline Express
In This Issue
Welcome Sarah Crow, Certification Manager!
Farm Bill Report
Funding Opportunity for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
New Tree Farm Website
2011 National Tree Farmer Convention
2011 State Assessments
Contact Us
Sarah Crow

Certification Manager

(T) 202 463 2738


Quincey Blanchard

Certification Coordinator

(T) 202 463 2451

August 2011 

We hope you enjoy the August edition of Sightline Express, the e-newsletter exclusively for American Tree Farm System Inspectors.

Welcome Sarah Crow, Certification Manager!

Sarah Crow has been hired as ATFS Certification Manager to support ATFS as a credible certification system and valuable tool for landowners.  Sarah joined the team officially on July 25.  Sarah comes to ATFS from St. Paul, MN where she has been working as a research manager for the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment.  She is a Fulbright Scholar and has worked for the American Forest & Paper Association and as an Intern with the National Association of State Foresters.  Sarah holds a Bachelor's Degree in Forestry and a Master's Degree in Natural Resources, concentrating on forest certification.  She is trained in auditing procedures and is familiar with the issues central to forest certification, including wood procurement and green building guidelines.  You can reach Sarah at or 202-463-2738.  Please join us in welcoming Sarah to the ATFS family.



Farm Bill Report  

American Forest Foundation is working to maintain and improve tools for family forest owners to keep their forests healthy and in tact for future generations. AFF recently released a new Forests in the Farm Bill Progress Report: 2011 Updated Edition which analyzes how forest lands fare in Farm Bill conservation programs. This report is a tremendous resource for you as advocates for family forests.  In it you will find reviews of how each program is working, see stories of what family forest owners are doing on the ground with the programs, and find state-by-state statistics of how the programs are working. We have created a one-pager summarizing the findings and a few of the major points are listed below. If you have any other questions, please contact Christine Cadigan.

The Progress Report revealed some very interesting trends:

  • Farm Bill programs are doing great on-the-ground work-improving forest health, replanting and reforesting, and protecting against wildfire and insect outbreaks.
  •  Programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) are devoting more of their resources to forestry than ever before-for instance, one quarter of WHIP funds now go to forestry.
  • Challenges do remain.  Even with the gains, forestry only gets 6% of total conservation funding.  Educational activities with landowners in the Forest Stewardship Program have been hard hit by state budget deficits and the recession-declining by more than 60% in 2010.  With all the good work that's being done in other Farm Bill programs, we can't let education and outreach slip through the cracks.

ATFS has copies of the Farm Bill brochure available. It is a helpful guide that clearly explains the Farm Bill Program for landowners. If you would like copies of the Farm Bill brochure, please email


Funding Opportunity for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers 

ATFS gives the tools foresters need to validate the work woodland owners are doing to keep their forests healthy and productive. The Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program (BFRDP) is a funding opportunity administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). This funding opportunity will be available for partnerships and collaborations between non-governmental and community-based organizations with expertise in new agriculture producer and training outreach. Tree Farming is included in the list of suitable projects to be funded. NIFA anticipates releasing the 2012 Request for Applicants  this summer. All potential applicants should preregister as soon as possible.

Inspecting foresters may get involved with the grants process by participating as a review panelist for the BFRDP. This is a great way to add support to Tree Famers in the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program!


New Tree Farm Website 

Please visit our website, which include the newly re-created page: Inspector's Corner .  The page contains tools and resources about the 2010-2015 Standards of Sustainability, resources, 004 inspecting forms, and other helpful documents. Please, give us your feedback on the website through

ATFS is really looking forward to a great turn-out in the beautiful Sandia Mountains, sponsored by Stihl Inc, Outdoor Underwriters, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc, Georgia-Pacific LLC, Arborgen, International Paper, NewPage, PEFC, USFS, NM Forest Industry Association and Weyerhauser. The Convention will include impressive speakers such as award-winning documentary photographer Rob Amberg, AFF Board of Trustee Chair and former National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year, Clint Bentz and a Tree Farm  field day at  Star Fire Camp Tree Farm. This will be a great opportunity to continue developing the National Tree Farmer Community!

2011 State Assessments - Good Management Practices

ATFS has completed another year of assessments.  As in the past, these annual certification assessments are informative of best practices occurring because of the great work you do, as well as areas we can improve. 


This year, during the field assessment we learned of some great ways inspectors can create community within their client base or area.  In Minnesota, for example, the assessment team visited a Tree Farmer who runs a native plant nursery for wetland restoration. Later that day, we met a different Tree Farmer who was interested in wetland restoration. As a result, we connected the two Tree Farmers and created a new link within the American Tree Farm System. Depending on your clients, linking Tree Farmers with similar stewardship goals is a great way to develop ATFS Community in your state.


Another best practice was identified in Oregon. The Oregon Tree Farm Program encourages landowners to create their own management plan. Each prospective Tree Farmer receives a binder with sections that correspond with the 2010-2015 Standards for Sustainability. This binder encourages landowners to treat their management plan as a living document and keep all paperwork associated with their forest management in one place.


SightlineExpress will continue to highlight the assessment results.  You can always email us for more information and to get ideas on how you can improve the ATFS network in your area, please email


Q: If the state Best Management Practices (BMPs) are voluntary, does that mean Tree Farmers do not need to follow them?


A: No, under the 2010-2015 Standard for Sustainability, all Certified Tree Farmers must follow state BMPs, even voluntary BMPs! This is another way the 2010-2015 Standards of Sustainability ensures Tree Farmers are soundly managing their forests. During our 2011 Assessment, we found that some Tree Farmers did not know about their State BMPs, or realize they are obligatory under ATFS.   Please work with your landowners to ensure they are aware of BMPs in your state and understand that under the ATFS certification requirements, all BMPs are required.

Thank you for your participation as an inspector with the American Tree Farm System! Your interaction with family woodland owners is helping to improve the sustainability of our forest resources across the U.S.
As always, check out the latest news of what's happening at the American Tree Farm System on our website -


Please feel free to contact us at any time with any questions or concerns.