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CAPITAL IDEAS -- LIVE!

AUGUST 2009 News Conference for Forest Owners
Sponsored by the Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc.
This Conference was recorded on AUGUST 19, 2009.

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Conference.
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Hayes D. Brown   Alabama Forest Owners' Association

Hayes D. Brown

starting time: (00:00)
Comment

Moderator

Hayes D. Brown, attorney and forest owner, will moderate this news conference. Hayes' email address is hbrown@hayesbrown.com.

Click Here to View & Hear Prior News Conferences.

 

Svend Brandt-Erichsen

(00:28)
Hear Conference

Comment

Cap and Trade and Forestry

Svend Brandt-Erichsen is an environmental lawyer with the Marten Law Group, based in Seattle, Washington. After reading his paper entitled, Offsets For Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Clarifying the Role of Forestry and Agriculture, we thought Alabama forest owners should become aware of some of the questions he raises in his paper. "At a recent Senate hearing, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson testified that their agencies’ analysis showed agriculture and forestry offsets could generate nearly $3 billion a year in 2020, increasing to as much as $20 billion annually by 2050, with revenues divided about evenly between the two sectors. This sounds promising for America’s farmers and timberland owners, but will not be so easy to actually achieve. One of the biggest challenges is striking a balance between the flexibility landowners need to succeed in their primary business venture – farming or timber harvesting – and the certainty GHG [greenhouse gas] legislation seeks that carbon sequestered by offsets in soil and trees will remain in place indefinitely." When reading Brandt-Erichsen's paper, watch for words such as reversal risk, effectively permanent, subordinate future debt, additionality, leakage, verification, and flexibility. You may also want to read California's Climate Action Reserve -- protocol for forestry offsets to see where that state would lead us if Congress decides to follow.

Phone: (206) 292-2600
Email:
svendbe@martenlaw.com

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Linda S. Casey

(04:20)
Hear Conference

Comment

Forestry: What does it look like?

Linda Casey is the State Forester of Alabama, the executive leader of the Alabama Forestry Commission's employees and operations. Back in January, Frank Green, Georgia Forestry Commission, told us about a Georgia judge who had decided that timber harvesting in bottomland cypress-tupelo stands that contain large trees is not necessarily an "ongoing silvicultural operation," and therefore would not fall under the Nationwide Silvicultural Exemption [from water quality law permits/NPDES]. Frank made several suggestions that landowners could follow to "prove" their activities are "ongoing silvicultural operations," but a further step was needed. The employees of the Corps of Engineers (COE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are frequently called to check on complaints that a landowner is destroying a beautiful bottomland forest to develop it for housing or a shopping mall. COE or EPA employees may not be familiar with normal forestry operations and might shut down valid forestry harvesting or regeneration activities at great expense to the landowner. In the fall of 2008, EPA's Tom Wellborn asked the Southern Group of State Foresters Water Resources Committee to prepare a general guidance document that would assist a field representative in making an accurate "ongoing call" on bottomland hardwood and cypress swamps. Linda Casey is a member of the Water Resources Committee.

Casey's Introduction and the SGSF's Recommendations to Assist Federal Regulatory Agencies in the Determination of Ongoing Silviculture in Bottomland Hardwood and Cypress Swamp

Phone: (334) 240-9304
Email:
linda.casey@forestry.alabama.gov

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Dr. Pete Bettinger

(08:45)
Hear Conference

Comment

Forest Management and Planning

Pete Bettinger is a Professor in the School of Forestry at the University of Georgia. You have probably seen Pete's name in AFOA's Calendar of Events as an instructor of continuing education courses sponsored by the University, but you probably haven't read the book he co-authored with Kevin Boston, Jacek Siry, and Donald Grebner. Forest Management and Planning contains a bit more technical forestry than most landowners would be interested in, so we asked Pete to tell us how we non-technical beings might use it and benefit from his work. A short table of contents (click on the map of the U.S.) is on the publisher's website and the book may be purchased from Amazon.com for $71.96 plus shipping.

Phone: (706) 542-1187
Email:
pbettinger@warnell.uga.edu

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Dr. Brooks Mendell

(11:37)
Hear Conference

Comment

Managing Professional Advisors

Brooks Mendell is President and Founder of Forisk Consulting, based in Athens, Georgia. He is a frequent instructor of continuing education courses of interest to foresters and forest landowners and will be teaching a course in September on Investing in Timber REITs, a topic that will be discussed later today by Denise Davis (below). But today, we asked Brooks to tell us about one of the toughest, but potentially most productive jobs a forest owner has: Managing Professionals -- foresters, accountants, attorneys, geologists, surveyors, etc. In the May/June issue of Forest Landowner magazine, Brooks wrote  “Successful forest owners consistently do two things well: first, they hire qualified professionals at the right price; second, they manage these professionals to get what they paid for.” Read the article -- it's short but well worth your time.

Phone: (678) 984-8707
Email:
bmendell@forisk.com

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Robert T. Jackson, Sr.

(14:49)
Hear Conference

Comment

When the neighbor's logger wants to cross your land

Robert Jackson is a senior partner in the law firm Jackson, Bowman & Blumentritt, PLLC, Hattiesburg, Mississippi. About a month ago an AFOA member (let's call him Walter) called AFOA and said he needed help. His neighbor had sold some timber and the logger had asked for permission to haul logs across his land to the nearby county road. Fearing his timber might be damaged or the haul road might be left in disrepair, Walter wanted the logger to sign an agreement that would provide him some protection from the problems he was worried about. "Does AFOA have any sample temporary easements that I could use?" We didn't, but a quick email to about 20 attorneys asking for the help Walter was seeking brought several responses, including one from Robert Jackson. Mr. Jackson wrote up an easement and sent it to AFOA, allowed us to review it and suggest one or two changes (localizing it for Alabama use), and it's now available for you to use. Thank you, Robert T. Jackson, Sr.

Temporary Easement for loggers to harvest timber by Robert T. Jackson, Sr.

Phone: (601) 264-3309
Email:
rtjsr@jacksonfirm.com

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Dr. Tamara L. Cushing

(18:22)
Hear Conference

Comment

Tax Basis: What? How?

Tammy Cushing changed jobs since she was a guest on Capital Ideas - Live! last October. She moved to Clemson University in South Carolina where she is now Extension Forestry Specialist and Assistant Professor of Forest Management and Economics in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. During a recent AFOA Ideas Session, Tammy said that a lot of forest owners do not know what "tax basis" is, they don't know how to use it to lower their taxes, and they haven't established it for their timberland. We asked her to help set us straight.

From Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for the 2008 Tax Year by Linda Wang and John Greene:

Basis is a measure of your investment in timber. The total cost of acquiring purchased forestland should be allocated proportionately among capital accounts for the land, the timber, and other capital assets acquired with them. The fair market value of inherited forestland should be allocated similarly. This usually results in a step-up in basis because the fair market value of the property is higher than the decedent’s basis.

Establishing your basis can lower your income tax by reducing the taxable amount of timber income. It also can help you recover reforestation costs or your investment in timber lost in a casualty or theft. If you did not establish your basis when you first acquired your timber, you can do it retroactively. You may need a professional forester to determine the volume and value of the timber at the time you acquired it. If you acquired your timber or forestland many years ago, you should compare the potential tax savings from establishing your basis retroactively with the time and expense involved, to see whether it is financially worthwhile. Report your original basis in timber and land on Form T, Part I.

Phone: (864) 656-0878
Email: tcushin@clemson.edu

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Dr. Craig A. Harper

(20:53)
Hear Conference

Comment

Food Plots -- Why?

Craig Harper is a Professor of Wildlife Management and the Extension Wildlife Specialist at The University of Tennessee. "Determine Your Objectives" jumped out at us when we read an excerpt in The Forestry Source from Craig's book, A Guide to Successful Wildlife Food Plots: Blending Science with Common Sense (big file - 179 pages).

The first thing you should do before getting started with a food plot program is define your objectives. Why are you planting a food plot? Do you intend to improve available nutrition for wildlife and increase the nutritional capacity on your property? Or, are you merely trying to attract wildlife for easier hunting or viewing opportunities? Are you “targeting” only white-tailed deer, or are wild turkeys, bobwhite quail, mourning doves and/or other species also a major interest? Answers to these questions influence not only what should be planted, but how plots are managed as well. After you have determined your objectives, realistic opportunities and limitations should be identified.

Buy the book for a desktop reference. $20

Phone: (865) 974-7346
Email:
charper@utk.edu

.

Denise B. Davis

(25:36)
Hear Conference

Comment

Timber & Timberland Investments: A Perspective

Denise Davis is a Chartered Financial Analyst and an Independent Wealth Management Advisor based in Hamden, Connecticut. On August 10, Barron's financial magazine carried an article by Andrew Bary entitled, Trouble in the Forest. The lead sentence shouted, "U.S. TIMBERLAND MAY BE ONE OF THE WORLD'S most overvalued asset classes." Our "you've got mail" buzzer started to buzz. We read the article and readers' comments, and one particular comment, by Denise Davis, caught our attention. She wrote: "Furthermore, we like timber because it has a low correlation with stocks and bonds and the recent market drop of 35% he alludes to in the U.S. stock market, in my opinion, supports holding timber for precisely the reason we like it so much." She closed her comments with "So my point to Mr. Bary is, 'what's the real point of your article?'"

Suggested reading:

Phone: (203) 848-6191
Email:
davis_db@yahoo.com

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