2024 New MFL Enrollments By The Numbers

As a property tax incentive program, new Managed Forest Law (MFL) enrollments become active at the start of the year to align with a new year for property taxation. 2024 was similar to last year, with more than 1,400 new enrollments!

Some statistics from the new enrollments include:

  • Nearly one-third are new landowners in the MFL program
  • A total of 107,304 acres were added to MFL
  • 1,411 enrollments are individual landowners, and 24 added land to large ownerships with at least 1,000 acres statewide
  • The average size of the new enrollments is 64 acres for individual landowners and 719 acres for large ownerships
  • 22,281 acres are open to the public for hunting, fishing, hiking, sight-seeing and cross-country skiing
  • Nearly 70% (15,422 acres) of the open MFL acreage is part of a large ownership
  • 70% of eligible new enrollments elected to participate in the MFL Certified Group

The start of the year is an excellent time for new and existing MFL landowners to review some of the available resources. Check out these resources to understand your obligations, the MFL Certified Group and where to secure professional help.

Welcome to all new MFL landowners, and thank you to new and existing MFL landowners for your commitment to practicing sound forestry.

My Wisconsin Woods Supports Wisconsin Woodland Owners

My Wisconsin Woods is a partnership of more than 20 private organizations and public agencies to support Wisconsin woodland owners in discovering and connecting with the resources they need. This includes information, property visits, technical and financial assistance and events such as classes, field days and conferences.

Stay connected and updated with the My Wisconsin Woods monthly e-newsletter – “Woodland News You Can Use.” The My Wisconsin Woods writers ensure you’ll have fun learning about serious stuff, including wildlife habitat, invasive species, tree health and much more! Sign up for My Wisconsin Woods.

MFL Certified Group Acknowledgements

One of the most significant advantages of the MFL Certified Group is its accessibility to forest certification for participating “Group Members.” Many of the certification requirements are covered through how the MFL program is implemented and administered. For example, the two most common paths for landowners to enter the MFL Certified Group are the MFL application and the MFL transfer form. Both paths require prospective Group Members to acknowledge and accept the American Tree Farm System® and Forest Stewardship Council® standards and the MFL Certified Group rules.

Continue reading “MFL Certified Group Acknowledgements”

NRCS Funding Available For MFL Landowners

NRCS funding availalbe

Funding for plan implementation is available through NRCS.

Need funding for the practices in your plan? The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) would like to help. A historic amount of funding will be made available to woodland owners through landowner assistance programs implemented by the NRCS and made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act.  See more information here.

What does this mean for you?

This funding is a rare opportunity for MFL landowners. NRCS has identified that “shovel-ready projects identified in a Forest Management Plan are more likely to secure funding.” MFL plans include a schedule of mandatory and recommended practices that may be eligible for NRCS funding.

How to get started?

Contact your local USDA Service Center to learn how NRCS can help fund practices on your MFL property and help you accomplish your forest management objectives. Click the link below for your local USDA Service Center and NRCS contact. Be sure to contact the service center for the county where your property is located, and please be patient with the NRCS staff. The increased funding is driving increased demand at NRCS field offices.

Find your local USDA Service Center.

Division Of Forestry Welcomes New Forest Certification Coordinator

Jake Walcisak

Jake Walcisak, Forest Certification Coordinator

Jake Walcisak has joined the DNR Division of Forestry as our Forest Certification Coordinator, administering our three certificates covering more than six million acres of department-owned lands, county forest lands and MFL Certified Group lands. Jake has nearly 15 years of experience in forest management and forest certification and is excited to join the Division of Forestry. Jake began his new role on Jan. 16, 2024, and is stationed at the Prentice Ranger Station.

A graduate of UW-Stevens Point, Jake has worked most of his career in the Wisconsin County Forest System, first in Florence County and most recently as the Taylor County Forest Administrator. Jake has also owned and operated a private forestry consulting business, with work spanning from northern Missouri to the far tip of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Jake is excited to engage with the MFL program, as his favorite part of his forestry consulting career was working with MFL landowners.

Jake lives in Prentice with his wife and three young children. Outside work, he is the happiest with a bow in his hands chasing antlered game across North America, or wielding a chainsaw to conduct stewardship practices on his own forestland.

Jake is excited to work with staff and partners in our collective pursuit of sustainable forest management on multi-use and working forests across Wisconsin.

Family, Tradition And Nature

Dennis and Mary Krueger of Waupaca County.

Dennis and Mary Krueger of Waupaca County. / Photo Credit: Krueger family

Family, tradition and nature are three strong pillars to build a happy and successful life. Just ask Dennis Krueger and his wife, Mary, who have made a family and a forest together.

“We have always believed in the importance of traditions in building memories,” Mary Krueger said.

They remember starting the tradition of an annual “Fall Walk in the Woods” in 1988, visiting the farm owned by Dennis’ grandfather. The idea was hatched when a teacher gave their eldest daughter (age 10) an assignment to collect different types of leaves.

“[We] picked an early October afternoon, loaded a backpack with plastic bags to collect leaves and nuts and brought a lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and apples,” Mary Krueger said. “[Our] daughters (ages 10, 8 and 5) and son (age 3) thought this to be the best picnic ever, as we walked a logging trail in a piece of the hardwoods on Grandpa’s farm and settled on a large rock on top of a hill to have lunch.”

Continue reading “Family, Tradition And Nature”

Seedlings Still Available For Spring 2024 Planting

Winter hasn’t quite let loose its grip on the Wilson State Nursery fields in Boscobel, but the warm weather has turned any snow into puddles and with limited frost in the ground, it won’t be long. These conditions in Wisconsin’s fields and forests make it easy for landowners to hike their property and consider ways to enhance them. And as thoughts turn to spring, the staff in the Wisconsin DNR’s reforestation program are readying themselves to harvest tree and shrub seedlings from the cool, moist soil.

For those considering activities to improve their properties, the DNR reforestation program has plenty of seedlings still available to create and enhance wildlife habitat, stabilize the soil, block winter wind and snow and provide a future shady spot to sit and enjoy a morning. Continue reading “Seedlings Still Available For Spring 2024 Planting”

Applying For MFL And Hiring A Certified Plan Writer

By Nicholas Holmes, DNR Tax Law Forestry Specialist serving Brown, Door, Kewaunee and Outagamie Counties

Is your Managed Forest Law (MFL) Order Commitment expiring? Would you like to reenroll, add land to your current enrollment, or are you considering enrolling in MFL for the first time? You must hire a Certified Plan Writer (CPW) to prepare an application and submit it to the DNR by June 1, 2024.

Managed Forest Law (MFL) expiration letters were mailed in July to landowners whose MFL enrollment expires on Dec. 31, 2024. Landowners who qualify and wish to remain in the MFL program without a lapse in enrollment will need to meet the application deadline of June 1, 2024. Landowners who are not currently enrolled in the MFL but who qualify and wish to enroll as of Jan. 1, 2025 need to meet the same deadline. If there has been a change to your contact information, please inform your local Tax Law Forestry Specialist of your correct address so expiration letters reach the appropriate destination.

Before enrolling, reenrolling or adding land to your current enrollment, familiarize yourself with today’s program requirements and ensure that MFL is a good fit for you. Many changes have been made to the MFL program over the last several years. Landowners are highly encouraged to visit the Managed Forest Law page on the WI DNR website to familiarize themselves with the rules and requirements of the program.  Continue reading “Applying For MFL And Hiring A Certified Plan Writer”

A Look At Forestry Certification: Education 101 And Industry Insight

NOTE: This article originally appeared in the February 2023 issue of Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association Magazine and is reprinted here with permission.

By Taylor Dorsey, Wood Sourcing Specialist with Ahlstrom

Forest products have become an increasingly important part of the global economy.  In the past couple of decades, forest certification has increased in popularity. Forest certification is a voluntary process in which the forest management practices and fiber tracking methods of an organization, or individual, are evaluated and certified according to a set of environmental, social and economic standards.

Forest certification began in the early 1990s, when a number of environmental organizations and companies began to recognize the need for improved forest management practices. The concept was to create a system in which companies and individuals could demonstrate their commitment to responsible forest management. The goal was to create a system that would provide a standard of environmental, social and economic best practices and would be recognized and accepted globally. Continue reading “A Look At Forestry Certification: Education 101 And Industry Insight”

Results Of 2023 MFL Group Internal Certification Audit

The annual internal audit of the Managed Forest Law (MFL) Certified Group took place during the week of April 10 with visits to 40 certified MFL properties and completed timber harvests in southern Wisconsin – specifically in Columbia, Dane, Iowa, Juneau, Marquette, Monroe, Richland, Sauk, Vernon and Waushara counties.

We were fortunate to have sunny skies and warm weather, witness a lot of superb forest management, engage in thoughtful discussions with landowners, foresters, and loggers, and identify a couple more opportunities for improvement. In sum, we are challenged to improve our pesticide reporting by group members and transportation system maintenance outside of forestry operations.

An internal audit is required every year for both Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) and American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) standards, under which the MFL Certified Group is dually certified. The audit reviews a selection of MFL properties where timber harvesting was completed within the previous three years. All indicators under the FSC and ATFS standards are eligible for evaluation during the audit, but the focus is on indicators that where the MFL Group has been out of conformance in recent audits and on issues identified through routine harvest monitoring. Continue reading “Results Of 2023 MFL Group Internal Certification Audit”