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CAPITAL IDEAS -- LIVE!

JANUARY 2011 News Conference for Forest Owners
Sponsored by the Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc.
This Conference was recorded on January 19, 2011.

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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.

 

Deborah Baker

(00:32)
Hear Conference

Comment

GP To Refuse Pine Planted Where Natural Hardwoods Grew

Deborah Baker is Vice President - Sustainable Forestry, Environmental and Community Outreach at Georgia-Pacific. She has a degree in forest management and has spent "13 years in Washington, DC, in the political arena." We contacted Ms. Baker after receiving a news article that stated, "Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific (GP) has announced that 'it will no longer purchase trees from endangered forests and special areas, or from new pine plantations established at the expense of natural hardwood forests.'" We didn't think we had many "endangered forests and special areas" in Alabama, but a lot of us have removed and killed hardwoods and planted pines. What does GP mean by natural hardwoods? Wouldn't nearly all of Alabama be home to natural hardwood forests if pre- and post-Columbian settlers hadn't burned the land extensively, thereby creating the conditions favorable for the growth of pines? This could be serious. (see GP's clarifying statement, first bullet, below, in italics)
     Georgia-Pacific produces a lot of products familiar to all of us, including Dixie cups, Brawny paper towels, and Quilted Northern bath tissues, but more important to us, GP provides a huge market for the timber products of our forestland. GP employs 2,800 people in Alabama and has manufacturing facilities in 9 locations:   Brewton – containerboard mill, Fayette – southern pine sawmill, Huntsville – packaging, Montgomery – wood treating sales, Naheola (Pennington) – consumer products and paper board, Peterman – southern pine plywood, Perdue Hill – pulp/cellulose, Talladega – southern pine plywood, and Thorsby – engineered wood products.
     To help us understand GP's new stumpage purchasing policy, Deborah provided reading material from GP's website:

  • Georgia-Pacific Statement on Forest Protection and Sustainable Practices February 2008
    (Georgia-Pacific’s Statement on Forest Protection and Sustainable Practices recognizes the successional changes of natural forests and defines a subset of forests, which Georgia-Pacific identifies as natural hardwoods, based on site specific characteristics including soil and topography. Georgia-Pacific believes that conserving this unique subset of natural hardwoods contributes to the health and diversity of forests. The company will continue to purchase hardwood timber from these sites, but will not purchase pine fiber grown on these tracts. This clarifying statement, in italics, was added at the request of Ms. Baker, 2/1/11.)
  • Georgia-Pacific Increases Forest Protection and Expands Sustainable Forestry Practices November 16, 2010
  • About Us/Sustainable Forestry (contains 3 videos that may help you understand the policy and how it will be implemented; there's also a Q & A on the GP Statement)

Phone: (404) 652-4000
Email: dbbaker@gapac.com

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Thomas D. Martin

(05:15)
Hear Conference

Comment

What is Unique about U. S. Forests?

Tom Martin is President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation and works with his sister to manage 200 acres of family woodlands in Wisconsin (We suspect the Martin woodlands are a Tree Farm, since the American Tree Farm System is a program of the Foundation). While talking with a Foundation staff member last week, we learned that the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2011 as International Year of Forests and that the Foundation is assisting with the planning of the U.S. celebration and the writing of a U.S. resolution on forests. That got us to thinking: How would we describe U.S. forests to an international audience? What is unique about the forests of the United States? Would we point out that most of of our commercial forestland is privately owned by hundreds of thousands of individuals and families? Would we mention that there is more forestland today in the U.S. than there was in 1920? What national and state policies encourage us to grow and nurture forests on our land? Do we defend and protect and champion private property in the U.S.? Do our leaders?

Phone: (202) 463-2460
Email: tmartin@forestfoundation.org

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Henry Barclay, III

(09:43)
Hear Conference

Comment

Changes in Estate & Gift Taxes

Henry Barclay is a CPA and the Managing Partner of Lehmann, Ullman and Barclay LLP, which has been involved in timber related services almost since its inception in 1912. Henry is also a Board Member and past President of the Forest Landowners Tax Council and the Alabama Forest Owners' Association. As soon as President Obama signed the tax changes into law last month, we called Henry to ask him to tell us what happened. First he sent us a 4 page Federal Taxes Weekly Alert, published by Thomson Reuters/RIA, and then we asked him to translate the piece for us. He said the new law covers estate and gift tax law for individuals dying after 12/31/09 and for gifts made after 12/31/10 and the new estate tax has the same "stepped up basis rules" that were in effect in 2009. If someone in your family died in 2010, the executor can choose to apply the zero estate tax of 2010 with no stepped up basis (possible higher capital gains taxes) or he can choose the new estate tax rules -- 35% estate tax on the amount in the estate above $5 million. The new rules, if followed correctly, allow a married couple to leave an estate of up to $10 million with no tax owed. He said that the lifetime gift exclusion has been changed to mirror the estate tax exclusion, so an individual can give gifts up to $5 million before being required to pay a gift tax. Since he could tell I didn't know what he was talking about, he suggested that timber owners have their estate and gift plans reviewed.

Phone: (205) 439-6520
Email: henryb@lub.com

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Robert King

(13:33)
Hear Conference

Comment

How Sellers Can Help Their Real Estate Agents

Robert King is a Land Agent with AlaLandCo in east Alabama. He is a contributor to the LandThink Blog and we really liked the 10 tips he wrote about in Agent 911 - How Can a Seller Help Their Agent?

  • Clean up clutter such as old ATVs, old cars, or sheds that won't be sold with the land.
  • Make the entryway into the property neat and attractive.
  • Improve some trails so prospective buyers can see more of the property.
  • Get a survey done if it's needed and provide it to the buyer.
  • Let the agent post "for sale" signs on the property, your neighbor will find out anyway.
  • Give your agent photos of the property in different seasons.
  • Have the timber cruised and give the report to your agent.
  • Keep open fields and pastures mowed.
  • Open up access to water features such as a pond or creek.
  • Give your agent a written description of the valuable features of your land.

Robert also suggests sellers get realistic about property values and set a price that has a chance of selling. He writes about realistic pricing in Selling Land or a Farm? Get Serious on Pricing.

Robert asked us to pass along this note to you: "If you would like to keep up with new listings, market updates, and information regarding the land market in East Central Alabama you can follow my blog by subscribing to email updates on the right hand side of this page: http://alalandman.wordpress.com/ or if you are a Facebook user, you can keep up with the market by visiting and liking my page: http://www.facebook.com/AlaLandMan1."

Phone: (256) 252-9239
Email: alalandman@yahoo.com

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David A. Osborn

(16:25)
Hear Conference

Comment

Tree Orchards for Wildlife (and tight budgets)

David Osborn is the Deer Research Coordinator at the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. Among many other things, David works with Georgia landowners to survey their deer herds and to prescribe habitat and population management strategies. David co-authored, along with Dr. Karl Miller, 5 Great Reasons to Plant Tree Orchards, Quality Whitetails, OctNov 2010. The article was brought to AFOA's attention to provide landowners and hunters less expensive ways to improve hunting and habitat than game food plots. The fourth great reason reads as follows:

4. TO MAXIMIZE COST EFFICIENCY OF HABITAT MANAGEMENT. When considering the rising cost of fuel, seed, lime, and fertilizer, deer food plots can be very expensive. Even when perennial forage plants like clover and alfalfa are planted, there is a yearly cost associated with food plot maintenance, including mowing, spraying, and fertilization. In contrast, with tree orchards, most of the costs occur at the time of planting (trees, lime, fertilizer) and for the next couple of years (watering, weed control, fertilizer). Even then, inputs are directed at a smaller acreage (just around the tree) when compared to a food plot. After establishment, occasional weed control around the tree, light fertilization, and pruning are all that’s required.

Phone: (706) 542-1378
Email: osborn@warnell.uga.edu

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Dr. Jeffrey W. Stringer

(19:28)
Hear Conference

Comment

High Impact Regeneration Treatments for Hardwoods

Jeff Stringer is Extension Professor at the University of Kentucky, specializing in Hardwood Silviculture and Forest Operations. Dr. Stringer has been a guest before on Capital Ideas - Live!, when he discussed "Producing Fully Stocked, High Value Hardwood Stands." Today his topic is similar, but a quote from High Impact Options for Hardwoods: Before, During, and After Harvest, Forest Landowner, NovDec 2010, caught our attention, and we think it will yours.

In an example in High Impact Options "the site preparation and crop tree release yielded four to five times the amount of acceptable growing stock and preferred species compared to conducting a commercial clear cut without silvicultural treatments. Also, the diameter growth of the trees was improved by the release. Both of these result in improved value. These practices increased future sawlog value by four times and reduced the length of the sawlog rotation by 10 to 30 years, both increasing the value of the stand substantially."

Phone: (859) 257-5994
Email: stringer@uky.edu

.

Dr. Charles D. Haynes

(22:38)
Hear Conference

Comment

Take Advantage of Mining Operations to Make Land Improvements

Charlie Haynes is an independent Minerals Consultant who has been referred to AFOA by many happy clients. He holds degrees in mining and petroleum engineering and is the retired head of the Department of Mineral Engineering at the University of Alabama. Dr. Haynes reminded us recently that a landowner can reap many benefits from a mining operation on his land, not all of which are in the form of cash. Before a minerals lease is signed, "Everything is negotiable." Topography can be improved and ponds can be built during the mining reclamation process, frequently at little cost to the mining operation. Record and sign-off on agreements (reclamation plan) - include a sketch or plat map in the agreement. Have a clear idea of what is to be done. Be visible to the mine operator at all times. And finally, and this seems like a no-brainer, use a professional to help you sell minerals or oil & gas.

SUGGESTED READING:  

Phone: (256) 582-7711
Email: mineralman@charter.net

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Jennifer Gagnon

(25:10)
Hear Conference

Comment

Mission Possible -- Family Land Plan

Jennifer Gagnon is an Extension Forester at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. In a discussion about the new estate tax laws (hear Henry Barclay, above), Jennifer said that many families have no plan, estate, forest management, or otherwise. We asked her how an interested family member can get the planning process started, and, once started, what should be discussed. After a brief explanation, Jennifer suggested that Alabama forest owners might consider attending her 12-week 2011 On-line Woodland Management Class that begins on March 1. Two of the topics to be covered in the class are "Setting management goals and objectives" and "Writing a management plan." One of the books provided with the $45 registration fee is Estate Planning for Forest Landowners.

Other Links Helpful for Estate & Tax Planners:

Phone: (540) 231-6391
Email: jgagnon@vt.edu

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