About JFT

In December 2006, representatives from USDA-Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) representing state forestry agency executives gathered at the first Joint Leadership Meeting to discuss ways the three agencies/organizations could collaborate more effectively to address resource concerns on working lands. By June 2007, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) had joined the partnership and the Joint Forestry Team (JFT) was created. The Team’s 12 members, three from each of the four agencies/organizations, were tasked with recommending ways they could work together more effectively to provide forestry and related conservation assistance to the owners of working farms, forests and ranches. The team was chartered in November 2007.

JFT Mission

The Joint Forestry Team’s purpose is to make recommendations that result in coordinated interagency delivery of forestry and conservation assistance for working forests, farms, and ranches. Team participants seek to improve the sustainability of the nation’s forests in order to provide optimum levels of public benefits and ecosystem services.

Team Members

The Joint Forestry Team consists of three members and a staff member from each of the four partners:  

National Association of State Foresters (NASF)

  • Mike Lester, State Forester, Colorado State Forest Service
  • Dan Balser, State Forester, Ohio Division of Forestry
  • Russell Bozeman, State Forester, Mississippi Forestry Commission

NASF staff support:

  • Marvin Brown, Forest Resource Management Committee Staff Coordinator

Website: www.stateforesters.org


National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD)

  • Tom Crowe, Forestry Resource Policy Group Member, Indiana Association of Conservation Districts
  • Jennifer Hart, Forestry Resource Policy Group Member, Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts
  • John McAlpine, Forestry Resource Policy Group Member, Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts

NACD staff support:

  • Mike Beacom, Forestry Specialist, NACD

Website: www.nacdnet.org


Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

  • Angela Biggs, Wisconsin State Conservationist
  • Ben Malone, Alabama State Conservationist
  • Tom Watson, Montana State Conservationist

NRCS staff support:

  • Laurie Schoonhoven, National Forester, NRCS

Website: nrcs.usda.gov


U.S. Forest Service (USFS)

  • Kay Reed, Director, USFS Region 8 Cooperative Forestry Unit
  • Susan Stein, Director, National Agroforestry Center
  • Steve Lohr, Acting Deputy Regional Forester, Region 5

USFS staff support:

  • Arvind Bhuta, National Forest Stewardship Program Manager (acting), USFS

Website: www.fs.fed.us

Progress to Date/Team Documents

Progress to Date/Team Document The Team was chartered in November 2007 and charged with operating through December 2009. Soon after being chartered, members of the JFT surveyed their organizations and found that there are five barriers to the delivery of forestry-related assistance:

  1. insufficient technical expertise;
  2. lack of integration of planning and other administrative issues;
  3. funding is inadequate and inconsistent;
  4. the parties speak different languages; and
  5. forestry is not a priority for many State Technical Committees.

These five barriers then became the focal points for the development of a memorandum of understanding (MOU). In October 2008, an MOU was signed by executives of the agencies and organizations. The MOU prescribes 12 joint and 47 individual actions by each of the cooperating organizations.

JFT Charter

The Joint Forestry Team extended its charter in December 2019. Download PDF

JFT MOU

The renewed national memorandum of understanding entered into by the NASF, NACD, NRCS and USFS in March 2018 describes the roles and responsibilities of each party to increase cooperation in a coordinated delivery of forestry assistance to private landowners. Download PDF