Sen. Thune has helped improve the forestry title in three farm bills over 12 years to benefit South Dakota’s forestland and timber industry. South Dakota’s 1.7 million acres of forestland is home to more than half of a billion trees. The 18 wood and paper manufacturing facilities in South Dakota support more than 3,500 jobs.

Highlights of Sen. Thune’s Commitment to South Dakota’s Forestland:

  • Sen. Thune Farm Bill Forestry Accomplishments:
    • Provided the U.S. Forest Service (FS) with greater flexibility in dealing with large-scale forest health problems on National Forest Service System lands.
    • A 3,000-acre categorical exclusion will help address severe forest health problems on a timely basis.
    • Reauthorized stewardship contracting with improvements made to address ongoing concerns about fire liability.
    • Expands Good Neighbor Authority to all National Forest Service Lands.
  • Forest Service Funding for Black Hills National Forest:
    • Sen. Thune sent a letter, signed by other senators from the Rocky Mountain Region, urging increased investment in the Rocky Mountain Region’s timber programs to address the ongoing mountain pine beetle damage.
    • As a result of this letter, the Black Hills National Forest received an additional $1.5 million for additional timber harvest.
  • Thune Prescribed Burn Bill:
    • Sen. Thune introduced a bill that would require collaboration between federal and local officials before initiating a prescribed burn on federal lands when fire danger is high.
    • This bill seeks to address problems caused by devastating fires set inappropriately by federal officials in South Dakota.