Weather relief to aid forest landowners

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Private forest owners in Southwest Washington may be eligible for financial relief if they suffered losses from last winter's January snow.

A local office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency recently announced that forest landowners can apply for assistance until July 30. The program can reimburse owners for up to 75 percent of the cost to reforest a site, according to the agency.

To be eligible, a non-industrial forest owner must have suffered damage due to wintry weather in January 2012. The land must have existing tree cover, or lost tree cover due to the event. Damage must be such that future use of the land would be "materially affected" if untreated, according to the agency.

Landowners can contact the agency's Brush Prairie office at 360-883-1987 for more information about the relief program. But they may want to act sooner than later -- reimbursement is subject to availability of money.