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)

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

NASF staff support:

  • TBD

Website: www.stateforesters.org

National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD)

  • Mitch Michaud, NACD Forestry Subcommittee Member, Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District, Alaska
  • John McAlpine, NACD Forestry Subcommittee Chair, Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts
  • Carly DeVet, NACD Forestry Subcommittee Member, Iron Baraga Conservation District, Michigan

NACD staff support:

  • Annica McGuirk, NACD Forestry Program Manager

Website: www.nacdnet.org

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

  • Matthew Vandersande, Conservation Initiatives Coordinator for Forestry

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
  • Steve Lohr, Acting Deputy Regional Forester, Region 5
  • Alice Ewen, Assistant Director, USFS Cooperative Forestry

USFS staff support:

  • Caroline Kuebler, National Forest Stewardship Program Manager, USFS

Website: https://www.fs.usda.gov

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


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