A new definition of “waters of the United
States” is being proposed: “Our
simpler and clearer definition would help
landowners understand whether a project
on their property will require a federal
permit or not, without spending thousands of
dollars on engineering and legal
Below is a correction to an article in
the December issue of Capital Ideas (top
left column, page 3 --
www.afoa.org/CI/2018/12.pdf) about Gift
“The annual gift tax exclusion is the amount
you may give away per person, per year, in a
tax-free manner. Gifts given as either lump
sum amounts, or as a series of amounts to
the same person throughout the course of one
calendar year, are not subject to the gift
tax, if totals do not exceed $15,000. In
2018, the annual gift tax exclusion grew by
$1000--up from $14,000 in 2017.
“The annual gift tax exclusion figures are
applied individually, based on each gift
recipient. For example, let's say that in
2018, you gave $15,000 in cash to your
daughter, a $15,000 car to your son, a
$15,000 diamond ring to your best friend,
and $15,000 worth of stock to each of your
grandkids. In this scenario, none of these
offerings would be federally taxable, since
no single individual received more than the
$15,000 limit.” Source:
The Balance, 12/10/18.
hunters harvested 144 alligators during the
2018 season, with the heaviest weighing
in at 700 pounds." Lower Alabama landowners
and next year's alligator hunters, take
note: "We still only had a few alligators
harvested south of I-10. There are a lot of
big alligators down there that are not being
Gene Wengert, known as the Wood Doctor, says
Canadian purchases of southern sawmills
“may lead to additional shortages of lumber
used in home construction in the U.S.,”
which would then
reduce housing starts and demand for wood
products used in home remodeling. He
says, “anything we can do to encourage
housing starts and remodeling will be an
advantage to our industry.”
(11/30/18)The Trucks, Construction, Forestry, and
Farm auction at JM Wood Auction is next
week, December 5-6, 2018, in Montgomery.
Check out some of the offerings online
first if you’re in the market.
The final word on the dusky gopher frog:
"The federal government can’t designate
land as a habitat for an endangered species
on the expectation that the animals might
eventually want to move there, the
Supreme Court unanimously ruled Tuesday,
delivering a victory to property owners."
“Interest in selling agricultural land is
picking up among landowners.” Farmland and
forestland sales aren’t always exactly in
tandem, but trends between the two probably
have some connection, so it's good for
forest landowners to keep an eye on these
Alabama Agribusiness Council, AgAlert,
Nov. 27, 2018.
This handy machine might not be
practical for stocking your wood pile, but
it would be nice to have on hand this
winter. The Forestry Equipment in Action
Facebook page has this and other videos of
forest equipment, including this
low-tech method of loading logs.
"At MSU (Missouri State University), a
research team is … trying to
breed a better walnut tree with a more
consistent yield that is disease-resistant,
has a thinner shell and a large kernel.
They're using DNA technology to identify the
varieties of trees that have the best
qualities.” This isn’t a major species
in Alabama, but still might be of interest
to hardwood growers especially.
“If people start getting pessimistic about
housing … pull back and don’t want to buy,
then there will be a drop in construction
jobs and that could be a seed for another
recession,” Yale Economics Professor and
Nobel Laureate Robert J. Shiller said. “We
are overdue for another recession. These
things come with regularity.”
Source: Yahoo Finance, courtesy of the NFIB
Small Business Weekly, 11/6/18
Get ready to burn: "On November 1, 2018,
the summer burn ban associated with
vegetative or land-clearing burning, as
imposed for Baldwin, Mobile, DeKalb,
Montgomery, Etowah, Morgan, Jefferson,
Shelby, Lawrence, Russell, Madison and
Talladega counties, expires." This ban
is usually renewed in the spring, and
doesn’t affect prescribed burns, which do
still need a permit. Source: In the South
Next Month (November 2018).
The Quality Deer Management Association sent
its members a letter in support of the
state’s plan for reducing the risk of
chronic wasting disease (CWD): “While
some actions may be unpopular, it is QDMA’s
professional opinion that the plan is
solidly grounded in the best available
science and represents the most viable
approach to reduce the risk of CWD
Read the full letter here.This map
shows the location of the second found case in
For those facing Hurricane Michael timber
losses: "Timber or landscape trees
destroyed by the hurricane, fire,
earthquake, ice, hail, tornado, and other
storms are “casualty losses” that may allow
the property owners to take a deduction on
their federal income tax returns. The key
for most cases is to figure out the
“adjusted basis” of the timber." Source:
National Woodlands, Fall 2018
"If your property is approximately in the
red or yellow shaded area [of
the map found here], expect some degree
of timber damage. For properties further
south and/or closer to the eye path, expect
significant timber damage. The Alabama
Forestry Commission is doing a flyover of
affected areas and is expected to have a
report available by the end of the week.
You can address questions to them about
Hurricane Michael at the following email
(10/11/18)The comment period on critical habitat
designation for the black pinesnake has been
reopened. The revised rule and
associated documents, along with directions
on how to submit comments are available at
http://www.regulations.gov using docket
No. FWS– R4-ES-2014-0065.
Further instructions are available here at
the FAQ. Comment by Nov. 13 to voice
your feelings about changes made to the
rules about critical habitat designation,
including: “fewer proposed acres are now on
private land and more are on state-owned
Based on the response AFOA has received from
members who have shown an interest in
acquiring lower cost health insurance, small
business owners aren’t the only people in
the U.S. who are
concerned about health care costs. 84
AFOA members along with 70 family members
have asked the association to help them find
lower cost health insurance. If you are
interested in lower cost health insurance, send AFOA the following for
yourself and each family member who would be
(10/2/18) "This book, beautifully
illustrated with photos and filled with useful
the stories of nine unique forest landowners—how
they got started, their goals, stewardship
philosophies, challenges, and the rich natural
and human histories of the land they tend."
“What ‘everybody knows’ is not quite correct.”
This issue takes a somewhat light-hearted look
at the growth in demand for paper and paperboard
Forest Research Notes, Vol. 15, No. 3
LOCAL AMENDMENTS NEED YOUR REVIEW BEFORE
NOVEMBER 6. We scanned each sample ballot on
Secretary of State John Merrill’s website and found several
local ballot measures that may be of interest to
some AFOA members.
Capital Ideas, October 2018, middle column
of page 3
BLOUNT COUNTY voters and GENEVA COUNTY
voters will decide whether to form or create fire
districts with dues assessments described in each
local amendment. AFOA has been hearing horror
stories about completely out-of-control fire
districts, some with charges as high as $8 per acre
for undeveloped forestland! Until the laws are
passed that rein in fire district taxing authority,
we would advise landowners to use extreme caution
before approving these districts.
MOBILE COUNTY voters will decide whether to pass
a 6 1/2 mill property tax for roads, bridges, and
ELMORE COUNTY voters will be asked to repeal
“Home Rule” and
CLEBURNE COUNTY voters will be asked to approve
MADISON COUNTY voters will decide whether the
county commission can impose ordinances regulating
excessive noise. We don’t know if the regulations
might include discharge of firearms or operation of
logging equipment, but local voters may want to
check on this before voting yes.
CALHOUN COUNTY voters will decide whether police
and planning jurisdictions should extend outside of
some municipalities into unincorporated areas.
Probably not a big deal for most voters, but a plan
for your land that prevents timber harvests could be
a big negative for you.
Logging has extra challenges out west…In a
log truck driver has had enough when a couple of
California ecological protesters climb up on his
timber “project, intended as a showcase for mass
timber products in Oregon and the U.S. Pacific
turned into a complicated cautionary tale.”
Two layers of a panel came unglued and crashed down
as a result of a process change that affected the
adhesive. We like the idea of CLT
(Cross-Laminated Timber) and hope the experts take
their time and make this work.
is a unique commodity, in that it is only sold once
or twice in a lifetime. …
By following the eight steps outlined [from
Tennessee Ag Extension], you can ensure a
successful and profitable sale.”
This site has charts and clickable maps that let
users compare forest and forest-related economic
data by state. (Note: ESRI’s Story Maps work
best when opened on a desktop (not ipad or tablet),
with a high speed internet connection, and using
Microsoft Edge software.)
Let sleeping fawns lie: "If you find a fawn
this time of year it may appear lost or abandoned,
but its mother’s absence is purposeful … to
decrease attracting predators to the fawn. While the
mother is feeding nearby, the fawn avoids detection
by hiding motionless in a grassy area." If a fawn is
found with serious injuries or confirmed to be
orphaned, contact the nearest wildlife
rehabilitator (list available at
www.outdooralabama.com) permitted to handle
Read this and be glad your forestland is in Alabama:
“...Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing broad new
changes to California’s logging rules that would
allow landowners to cut [some] larger trees and
build temporary roads [up to 600 feet long] without
obtaining a permit as a way to thin more forests
across the state. The proposal ... is being
opposed by more than a dozen environmental groups.”
(8/27/18) To our
dismay, “A surge in lumber prices and modest
increases in sawlog costs have resulted in record
profits for many lumber companies in North America
and Europe in 2018,” reports the
Wood Resource Quarterly.
you’re going on a hunt out of state, you’ve got to
be careful about what you’re bringing back.”
Restrictions on bringing cervid (deer, elk, moose,
etc.) carcasses into Alabama have now been extended
to carcasses from all states and Canada, in order to
stop the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
Remember, preventing CWD in Alabama is important for
landowners as well as hunters. Property values will
probably take a hit as CWD affects interest in deer
"McDonald's recently opened its redesigned flagship
store in Chicago and it's dominated by wood and
cross-laminated timber (CLT)."
Read the full story for more pictures of the
interior and details on McDonald’s plan to remodel
locations nationwide with a similar look.
sure to scroll through all these
maps of land use in America. Each one tells
an interesting story, culminating with a
LASER technology being tested in Israel might
stop crown fires (not common in Alabama),
provide escape routes for trapped fire fighters, or help
create fire breaks. However, it’s no replacement for
regular prescribed burning programs and other management
actions that can be employed but are not used much in
the West (and not near enough in Alabama,
for that matter).
(8/13/18)Alabama's 4-H Forestry team placed first
among the 15 states that competed in the 39th Annual
National 4-H Forestry Invitational July 29 - August
2 in Weston, West Virginia.
Read the press release here.
Alabama Hunting and Fishing Digest is now
online. Click for information about 2018-2019
hunting seasons, bag limits, regulations and more.
Be sure to check out the major changes and what you
need to know to avoid getting a ticket (page 6).
“Announced softwood sawmill capacity increases in the
South total 3.2 BBFT. Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas
have the largest increases in projected lumber
production. In the past five years, four OSB mills
resumed operations in the South and two greenfield mills
were established.” Included in the increased capacity
are new mills in
Talladega, welcome news for Alabama timber growers.
Source: Forisk News, Q3 2018
a township law that tells a farmer when to harvest his
corn, or what kind of feed to use to fatten up her
hogs.” What would be unthinkable for edible crop farmers
is not uncommon for those who grow trees. This story is
from Pennsylvania, but it has happened in Alabama as
well. Watch out for local ordinances that could
hinder your ability to harvest and sell your timber.
(7/27/18)“The urge to keep up appearances is also driving …
fighting methods are only one example of how public
pressure can steer local policies away from
understanding the whole problem in favor of flashy,
expensive measures (like aerial fire retardant drops) that
may not be right for the situation.
(7/26/18)The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) has begun
posting the results of their periodic Southern Pine
Beetle Detection Flights to the Internet.
Go to the current beetle report and map here. If
you’d like to receive updates from AFOA when AFC does a
flight in the county where your land is located, make
sure we have your email address and the county in which
you own land in your membership records. Email
RLL@afoa.org to update
(07/20/18)"Wow! [Pine Log] Exports to China from Southern ports
almost doubled in 2017 from the previous three years."
Those are the words of Marshall Thomas, President
of F&W Forestry Services in his latest
Forestry Report, Summer 2018. Read
Marshall's short article on page 1 of the report and
don't miss the graph in the second column. The graph
shows that exports from the Port of Mobile, while small
compared to Savannah and Norfolk, saw huge increases in
Southern Christmas Tree Association’s newsletterhas
been uploaded to the AFOA website here. Includes
lots of details about their upcoming Annual Meeting,
August 3-5 in Monroe, Louisiana, as well as other
resources related to growing Christmas trees.
Trump's reorganization plan would make significant
changes to the education and agriculture departments.
Removing the food stamps program from the Department of
Agriculture would reduce support for non-essential ag
and forestry subsidy programs, don’t you think?
(6/22/18)Forisk Consulting tracks
the top ten timberland owners and managers each year.
On the 2018 list, American Forest Management frequently
advertises in the AFOA newsletter, and F&W Forestry is
frequently quoted on our new page and in the newsletter.
Resource Management Services is also close to home,
based in Birmingham.
This set of videos shows an inside look at
different careers in the wood industry. If a young
person you know might be interested in a forest products
career in Alabama, Ashley Watts can offer information
and guidance. Reach her at 334-322-2435 or
“…the legal fees that Mrs. Allen would have spent to
have an attorney help with her will were likely
minuscule compared to the legal fees spent by her family”
in taking the case to court.
This Texas case is a reminder to consult an attorney
in order to avoid the expense and bad feelings heirs can
incur with a poorly written will.
County voters will vote on 11.5 mills of property
taxes that will be in effect for 27 years. That’s
equivalent to $31.05 per $100 of assessed value of
the taxable property for the life of these taxes.
Clair County voters will decide whether to establish
a Davis Lake Volunteer Fire Department and levy a
$150 per year tax on each residence or commercial
building in the district. Based on serious
complaints AFOA has received related to huge
out-of-control fire dues collections on undeveloped
forestland from several other fire districts, AFOA
urges voters to be cautious before voting yes on
County voters will decide whether to allow a $60 per
year tax (per parcel, per building, ???) to fund
Fire District 21. We have reservations similar to
those described above for St. Clair County.
County voters will decide whether to repeal “The
Alabama Limited Self-Governance Act.” Since we’ve
heard strong criticisms of the way this law has been
applied in other counties, we urge voters to learn
more about the reasons this measure is on the local
County voters will decide whether to allocate
one-fourth of an existing 1 cent sales tax for
public schools for purposes of providing matching
money for road improvements (ATRIP). We don’t know
which roads or bridges the county plans to repair,
so forest owners may want to check with the county
engineer before voting.
pipeline companies have long-enjoyed the power of
eminent domain. The Fifth Amendment to the US
Constitution states “nor shall private property be taken
for public use, without just compensation.” Alabama
landowners should be interested in the way Texas
landowners are looking to challenge companies that
invoke eminent domain when it doesn’t serve the public.
“On May 1, 2018, summer “burn bans” for the outdoor
burning of land-cleared vegetation commence in the
following Alabama counties: Baldwin, Mobile, DeKalb,
Montgomery, Etowah, Morgan, Jefferson*, Shelby,
Lawrence, Russell, Madison and Talladega. This ban lasts
until October 31, 2018.” (Source: In the South Next
Month, May 2018.) This shouldn’t affect you unless
you’re burning slash piles, but be prepared with
a burn permit from the Forestry Commission in case
local enforcement officials question your right to
conduct a prescribed burn.
This forest service satellite imaging program will
show latitude and longitude of a point on a map with
one click. Google maps also shows coordinates when
you right click. We can think of lots of uses for this
the morel mushroom season in Alabama for 2018, but
if anyone in northern Alabama would be willing to host
and lead a morel hunt next year, please let us know.
“A building material that is sustainable and durable,
quick to erect, quiet to work with, and could, one day,
ensure the future of Ireland’s bioeconomy. Surely
there’s something in this timber revolution that we can
learn from?” This article outlines
why builders in Ireland should consider a return to wood
construction, cross-laminated timber (CLT) in
"John Frank Deese can’t think of much he loves more than
the smell of fresh-cut lumber and the roar of a sawmill
ripping through trees destined for a second life." This
video from ALFA and the accompanying
article shows working with wood can be more than
just a living.
A new movie, Little Pink House, details an
infamous Supreme Court case in which “the court
ruled, 5-4, that property owners can be stripped of
their land whenever the government decides that a
wealthier owner would put it to more lucrative use.”
It could be a little pink house or 40 acres of your
forestland; this is an issue important to forest owners.
Corp. announced today that it has approved a
capacity expansion at its manufacturing facility in
Mobile to support K-C Professional’s continued bath
tissue category growth in North America."
A Vermont bill intended to protect loggers and working
forests “establishes a 'rebuttable presumption'
that logging is not a nuisance, meaning that a
logging or forestry operation can only be found to be a
nuisance if it is negligent or violates state or federal
law.” Alabama foresters and loggers could also benefit
from this kind of common-sense legislation.
Legacy, Your Land" videos from the American Forest
Foundation cover estate planning topics for
landowners, from family meetings to conservation
easements. Note; these were produced before tax law
changes of 2017, so talk over any changes based on this
series with your tax professional.
“Tree growers may gain some optimism for the future
based on several recent announcements of plans for
greenfield mills to expand lumber production in the
South.” Good news on the horizon for demand, first
quarter stumpage prices, and a tree planting report in
the latest F&W Forestry Report.
(3/30/18)This map of federal land ownership demonstrates
why people in western states view the federal government
so differently from those of us in the east.
“As a small land owner, I have had to deal with free
roamers for years. They damage my property and the
environment.” An AFOA member wrote this in a letter to
Men’s Journal to express displeasure with their
feature of a recent book that encourages trespassing.
Thanks to our members for speaking up for property
"A bill that would erase
Dunwoody and Sandy Springs’ [Georgia] restrictions
on wood-frame apartments awaits Gov. Nathan Deal’s
signature .... Both cities have codes that require
certain large buildings, especially multi-family housing
over three stories tall, to be built of concrete and
steel rather than wood…"
(3/22/18)This new fire-proof shed was made with the idea that
having a completely safe place to leave valuable or
cherished items can save time and money for those in the
path of a fire. Forest landowners might find a use for a
structure like this. .
"Trade of softwood lumber reached an all-time-high in
2017 as demand for wood was strong in most key markets
around the world. An estimated 126 million m3 of
softwood lumber was shipped from forest-rich countries
such as Canada, Russia, Sweden and Finland to markets
with high consumption of lumber, including China, the
US, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany. Since the
global recession in 2008, international trade of lumber
has gone up by as much as 50%. With the economy
forecasted to stay healthy in the US and Europe in 2018,
this might be another good year for lumber exporters."
Resource Quarterly, March 2018
If you’re interested in growing hardwoods like white oak,
don't miss the first two speakers on the agenda at the
2018 Annual Meeting.
agenda and register here.
Connecticut-based company Mohegan Renewable Energy
reopen the Crossville pellet plant that was formerly
Lee Energy Solutions. AFOA may remember touring this
plant during the 2014 Annual Meeting.
“The current industry retirement wave continues, and
the job market for recent forestry graduates who want to
work with FRA member companies is probably better than
it has been in the last 40 years.”
More reasons why forestry careers are a solid option
for young family members who love the outdoors or might
even be interested in managing the family land some day.
"The Supreme Court announced Monday that it would hear
arguments in [a case that] could potentially overturn
part of a previous ruling that critics have attacked as
making it much harder for property owners to protect
their rights in federal court." This scenario might
seem unlikely for Alabama, but for more reading see
our interview with Dr. Robert Tufts and
this Progressive Farmer story about old
cemeteries on private property.
in the European industrial pellet market is decelerating
as fewer coal units remain to be converted to wood
pellets … Like the European countries that facilitated
the first round of wood pellet development, Japan and
Korea have some key characteristics that make them
attractive markets for wood pellets."
"Alabama is known as a low tax state, but are we the
lowest? Not even close."
See how Alabama stacks up among its neighboring
"We’re trying to get it to the next generation, or
the next two generations, intact with the smallest
amount of tax pain that we could possibly have.”
Forest owners, ranchers, and farmers are often in the
same boat when it comes to
passing land down intact to the next generation.
(2/5/18)The IKEA Group “has purchased approximately 25,000
acres in Lowndes County, according
to an announcement from the company….The purchase is
part of a "broader strategy to invest in the sustainable
production of resources that IKEA Group consumes
directly," the company said.”
(2/2/18)These bills may be of interest to our members,
especially those who live in rural areas of the state.
Look up the complete text of bills here. Reported to
us by Alabama Agribusiness Council:
• SB79- increases the number of years a state
income tax credit is given for doctors and dentists who
reside and practice in rural areas. Goes to House.
• SB61-Dial- allows the taking of whitetail deer
and feral swine by means of bait. In Committee (AC&F)
• HB 242- clarifies the existing sales tax
exemption for agricultural products would apply when a
farmer cultivates and harvests an agricultural product
on leased or rented land. The bill would exempt the
gross receipts from the sale of pine straw products and
the produce would be exempt from the state sales tax.
"The State of Alabama has abundant natural resources and
forests in addition to a diverse agricultural industry…The
results of this study show that the removal or
diminishment of agriculture production, forestry, and
related industries would have a negative impact on a
wide variety of industries across the State of Alabama.
sawlog prices were higher throughout the world in the
3Q/17 and are likely to continue upward into 2018
because of strong demand for lumber in key markets …
With the outlook for continued strong demand for lumber
in key markets and higher consumption of sawlogs, it is
likely that the price index will continue upward in the
coming quarters. For the complete report, visit the
much is at stake for you to sell timber without an
understanding of the markets and of the quality and
quantity of your timber.” Remember this is from North Carolina,
so there may be some differences, but
this timber selling guide is a good start to
understanding the process. - Source:
Wednesday Woodland Word, 1/17/18.
Alabama Forest Owners’ Association frequently refers
members to consulting foresters. If you would like to
know more about the profession how they can help you,
check out this article.
stories in this quarter’s
F&W Forestry Report may be useful/of interest:
Canadian Sawmill Investments Make U.S. South the Leader
in Lumber Production in North America (p. 7), and Tax
Bill Has More Positives than Negatives for Forest
Alabama state legislature is back in session. “Of
note to forestry is SB131, sponsored by Senator Trip
Pittman (R-Montrose) which redistributes 20% of the
forest severance tax from the Alabama Forestry
Commission to the State’s General Fund. Pittman’s
bill will be taken up in the Senate’s Finance & Taxation
General Fund Appropriations committee (which Pittman
chairs) on next Wednesday.” The fuel tax will likely be
taken up again after the midterm elections.
See the AFA’s complete brief on the issue of fuel tax
(1/12/18)Firehawks “have been seen carrying smouldering or
flaming sticks in their beaks or talons to spread
the fire to where prey may be sheltering.” Although
fire can be an important forest management tool, we
don't want to see these raptors as an invasive species!
For members interested in forestry and stock
investments—Raymond James offers an industry update
heading into the new year. You can
view the full report here, but some key points from
the summary include:
Upgrading Potlatch to Outperform from Market Perform
our price targets for Rayonier and CatchMark
Introducing initial 2019 estimates
Incorporating the new tax law into our estimates for
Weyerhaeuser and Potlatch
The Black Warrior waterdog, or “mudpuppy”, is now a
federally protected species. Critical habitat for
the species will include “five tributaries within
the Black Warrior River Basin have been designated
critical habitat: Sipsey Fork (Lawrence and Winston
Counties); Locust Fork (Blount, Etowah, Jefferson, and
Marshall Counties); Blackwater Creek (Walker and Winston
Counties); and Yellow Creek (Tuscaloosa County). …The
designation will also have no impact on private
landowners taking actions on their land that do not
require federal funding or permits.”
This explanation of the new tax bill was sent by an
AFOA member who said: "Sen. Susan Collins' awesome
defense of her tax cut vote. She hits this out of
the park..most of the time I am NOT one of her
According to the Tribune, “Sales of fresh
grass-fed beef soared from $17 million in 2012 to $272
million just four years later.” Although grass-fed
operations operate with limitations like higher costs
and slower production, this might be interesting if
you're a forest owner considering cattle, especially
the lower courts’ decisions stands, the [U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service] could pick any plot of private
land anywhere in the United States, designate it a
“critical habitat” regardless of whether an endangered
species actually lives there and then tell the
landowner exactly how the land is to be used.”
In this helpful video, Reforestation Advisor
Geoffrey Lee Hill shares some great tips on how to
maximize survivability of your seedling investment.
Know a dibble bar from an increment borer. This “Glossary
of Common Forestry Terms” by Dr. David Mercker for
the University of Tennessee extension is a “handy
guide to terminology used in reference to growing and
This extension video project wants input on how to
highlight private forest lands around the nation.
This is your chance to tell the public and other
landowners about the value of private forest land and
private forest ownership to our region and the nation.
You might mention how rare the unfettered right to
manage forestland is in the world and even in major
portions of North America.
Aside from the US Senate race, Limestone, Morgan,
Montgomery, and Baldwin Counties have issues on the
ballot December 12. The deadline to apply for an
absentee ballot is Thursday, December 7, and Monday,
December 11, 2017 is the last day to postmark an
Apply for an absentee ballot here.
Find your polling place here.
As part of forest fire prevention, Israel may
"reintroduce the black goat, also known as the Syrian
goat, into the country’s forests, woodlands and nature
reserves as a way to regulate natural vegetation...after
banning them from grazing there almost 70 years ago."
Appalachian Forest Farming Coalition … has been busy
creating a variety of video presentations and hosting a
number of workshops this year.” You might start with "What
is forest farming," for an overview. Their
9-video playlist also includes information about
specific crops and interviews with practicing forest
farmers for those interested in forest farming as a
potential revenue stream on their land.
clients may see timber as an inflation hedge, it's also
a global growth industry."
This article discusses the two timber Exchange
Traded Funds we report on each month in
the AFOA newsletter (top of the middle column, page
Aerial imagery from satellites, planes, and
GPS & GIS smartphone technology
4-wheel drive pickups
Near universal phone service
Genetically improved seedlings - many sources
Stumpage price services
Hunting land lease services
Timber buyer lists
Landowner educational events
Herbicides for many uses
Online tutorials for everything
Insect monitoring flights
one of the benefits of private property rights is it
encourages people to become better informed
about the decisions that affect them directly."
This PERC article examines how the exercise of
eminent domain increases conflict between business
interests, property rights, and conservation.
the peak of the season this year, toward the end of
September, brokers paid up to $2.50 per pound of
berries.” Resourceful way to
make money on a native plant you might have on
your own land.
According to an update from the
American Forest Foundation, the draft
proposal for tax reform legislation includes these
Maintain deductions for regular forest management
Maintain deductions for and amortization of
reforestation expenses after harvest.
Maintain the capital gains treatment of harvested
Reduce the estate tax burden; maintain stepped-up
basis, even with estate tax repeal. Estate tax
exemption levels are doubled from $5.5M per spouse
($11M total) to $11M per spouse ($22M total). The
estate tax will be fully repealed after six years.
After repeal, the stepped-up basis on inheritances
will be preserved.
“Everybody else is using boxes and bags...”
Uh-oh, what is Amazon up to now? “With these … they’re gonna
rule everything from the refrigerator to the freezer to
the cupboard to the closet.”
“We are selling sawtimber trees for roughly the same
price that we did in the 1980s...We are surviving
like computer manufacturers--by reducing the cost of
The F&W Forestry Report includes third quarter
stumpage reports, news on tax reform and Canadian
softwood, and a look at how tree growers are surviving
in today’s market.
These videos show two more forest careers for those
who love the outdoors: "Tonight I could be out mist-netting, surveying bats,
and tomorrow we might be putting prescribed burn on the
ground," says Allison Cochran,
Wildlife Biologist with the US Forest Service. "A
forest engineer makes sure things get from Point A to
Point B in a working forest," says
Mary Castle, Forest Engineer.
(10/19/17)"It's either we burn it, or it's going burn on its
own.” In Florida, Parks and Natural Resources crews
a prescribed burn at Tippecanoe Environmental Park.
They cited concerns about extra debris from Irma as one
of the reasons for the burn. Here in Alabama, the
casualties of last year’s drought might be cause for
(10/12/17)Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has devastating
economic effects on deer hunting. The deer hunting
industry results in $1.8 billion in annual revenues for
the State of Alabama. States where CWD occurs have
experienced a 10-40 percent decrease in license sales.
Roughly 5,000 of AFOA’s members lease their land for
measures to keep CWD out of Alabama are important to
many who aren’t hunters themselves.
(10/6/17)Two more forest-related career options for young
people interested in natural resources, working
outdoors, and a job doing something different every day.
The two young men in these videos are foresters, one
working for the government and the other on his own
This article looks at the idea that “the [state
and local] tax deduction redistributes income from
people in low-tax states to people in high-tax states.”
The idea is that between two people in different states
with equal income, one in New York will get a larger
deduction than one in Alabama for state and local taxes
paid, and that this amounts to more money paid by
low-tax states to the federal government.
(9/27/17)Forestry Pilot Dale Hill believes that with
dedication and hard work, anyone can have a career as a
forestry pilot. “We strive hard to take care of the
environment and be good stewards of the land,” he says
this video in the Forestry Works series.
(9/26/17)Tyler Slay is twenty-one and owns his own sustainable
forestry business. He got his start by talking to
loggers, who were glad to help him succeed. If you know
a young person who is interested in an outdoor career
and being their own boss,
this video shows how Tyler got started in the business.
“Landowners’ bottom lines are tied to stewardship
practices that balance land sustainability and economic
viability.” To highlight conservation efforts on
privately owned working lands, the
Property and Environment Research Center (PERC)
collected case studies that highlight “examples of
ranchers, farmers, and timber producers managing their
properties with a conviction for conservation.”
On September 25 at 2 pm EST, the American Forest
Foundation (AFF) Farm Bill Report, a conference call
with AFF CEO Tom Martin, will discuss the Farm Bill and
AFF's plan of action for the reauthorization process.
Dial-in number: 1-866-299-7945 and Participant code:
2594# You can count on the AFF to make sure
legislators hear their point of view,so if you have a
different opinion about the government assistance, call
your U.S. House (202-225-3121) and Senate
(202-224-3121) members, or
email via this site, to make sure they hear your
Ridge Distiller has announced its plan to open a
$13.6 million [interactive] distillery in Troy, Alabama.”
You can read an
amusing review of the whiskey here, which mentions
that in 2004, "the Alabama legislature…passed a joint
resolution declaring Conecuh Ridge to be 'Alabama’s
Official State Spirit.'" The articles don’t mention the
barrels for the whiskey, but the new demand should
maintain demand (and prices) for quality white oak
stumpage. Read more about white oak barrels and
listen to our interview with Bob Russell, head of
procurement at the Jack Daniel Stave Mill.
The first topic here is especially important to forest
landowners: “Republican lawmakers are pursuing a
revamp of the corporate and individual tax systems. …
The road to a final legislative tax reform will be
bumpy, and we need to remain engaged
to ensure that forest landowners’ unique needs are
does not write letters to legislators; it’s important
that you write these letters to your representatives
and senators to ensure that your voice is heard.
For those who hunt on their land or lease land for
hunting, QDMA offers this suggestion for planting or
updating a food plot: "Clover is relatively easy to
establish, readily available, affordable, and there are
a variety of species to handle most any climate or soil
type. To put it simply, clovers are a very versatile
(9/1/17)Richard Louv, who coined the term “nature deficit
disorder,” has a new book about getting back to nature
as a family:
Vitamin N is a “guidebook for the whole family
and the wider community, including tips not only for
parents eager to share nature with their kids but also
for those seeking nature-smart schools, medical
professionals, and even careers.”
“Average annual net growth for softwood species is
48.7 million tons and for hardwood species it is 18.3
The Forest Resource Report, courtesy of Dan
Chappell, shows that Alabama’s forests continue to
thrive alongside a healthy forest industry. Both timber
land owners and industry leaders might find a great deal
of interest here, such as a breakdown by species of
standing timber inventory in each county.
losses may be significant,” said the Alabama
Forestry Commission (AFC) of the current outbreak of southern
pine beetle. “This summer, we have seen a large number
of trees dying across our state’s pine forests, and the
culprit is southern pine beetle. In Montgomery
County, AFC foresters have aerially detected over 100
beetle spots.” Landowners are encouraged to monitor
their land for damage and seek the advice of a
consulting forester on the management of this
View the current map of known SPB spots here.
giving the 4-H club a $1.5 million grant to help
teach its 6 million members about computer science.”
The initiative includes lessons designed to emphasize
real-world issues and career applications, such as
“weather modeling for agriculture projects or using an
e-textile application in 4-H sewing clubs.”
Canada-based Irving Consumer Products has announced
plans for a $400 million paper plant in Macon, Georgia.
The plant will produce tissue, toilet paper, and other
paper products, and “plans
to hire 200 at the new complex.”
In Mississippi, “242
suspected southern pine beetle spots were identified on
privately owned forestland during [monitoring]
flights. According to the U.S. Forest Service, more
than 3,500 southern pine beetle infestation spots were
found in the Homochitto, Bienville, Tombigbee and Holly
Springs National Forests.” AFOA would ask whether
there’s something different about national forest
management that could explain a difference of this
"Why would Audubon allow drilling on its own sanctuaries
but oppose it elsewhere?
The answer, in short, is property rights. Private
ownership creates incentives that often lead to more
reasonable outcomes than in the political arena."
A message about the Endangered Species Act to the House
Committee on Natural Resources, from selected
members of Congress: We ask that your Committees work
together to address the numerous regulatory
inefficiencies and statutory roadblocks in the
agriculture community by modernizing the Endangered
Species Act (ESA) and similarly outdated laws and
regulations. These much-needed updates would ease the
stranglehold on farmers and ranchers who often face the
brunt of these job-killing mandates.
Dr. John Auel, Professional Logging Manager Program
Coordinator, discusses best management practices with
landowners at a 2016 County Forestry Association Field
Day. Note: After the introduction, the content begins
around the one minute thirteen seconds mark.
(7/19/17)Federal tax dollars go up in smoke when political
leaders force agencies to
spend more on fighting forest fires than is prudent and
necessary. Wouldn't it be nice if a state's
governor were to say, "We are doing what is sensible and
useful in this circumstance and will not indulge in
political theater for its own sake."
We know many landowners try not to keep their investment
eggs in one basket. As some countries move toward
limiting or eliminating cash, this source of
value could become scarce. “However, cash is one of
the best ways to manage your privacy, economic strategy,
and the risks in your financial life.”
(7/12/17)The Montevallo community is mourning 74-year-old
pharmacy owner Larry Wayne Smitherman, who was killed in
a bush hog accident July 8.
From the Shelby County Reporter:
Smitherman’s wife found him
under his bush hog, his tractor still running at a low
“It appears,” Assistant Chief Deputy Shane Mayfield
said, “that a section of garden hose wrapped around the
blades of the bush hog, and he had gotten under it to
try to untangle it.”
Mayfield suggested the hydraulic pressure of the tractor
was insufficient for suspending the bush hog for an
extended period of time, issuing a tragic accident and
immense loss to the Montevallo community when it could
hold no longer.
Perhaps we've let things get out of hand: “The CWA
[Clean Waters Act]…gave the federal government the
authority to regulate the obstruction and fill of
navigable waters. The operational term was “navigable
waters” and this meant for vessels engaged in commerce.
… Soon, “navigable” waters and rivers became tributary
streams, creeks, and even irrigation runoff ditches.
Regulatory agencies began to control the use of private
lands and waters that were merely adjacent to navigable
waters, and then ever-farther afield until it had placed
a straightjacket of regulatory control over lands that
only became wet during rainy seasons or following
“In recent years, many states have adopted a
'bright-line' or factor presence nexus standard. This
means companies with property, payroll or sales in a
particular state above certain thresholds are presumed
to have nexus in the state and are therefore
required to file income tax returns and pay tax in that
state.” JamisonMoneyFarmer’s Jennifer
Stripling adds that
the bright-line test would apply to forest land that
generates income in another state. She encourages landowners with forest land in
other states to discuss the issue with their CPA.
Some sources predict an upcoming lumber supply gap for
2018 based on growth trends and a tight US housing
Chile and Brazil could fill some of the projected
Forest 2 Market notes: “Based on southern
yellow pine lumber capacity throughout the region, a
bulk of the supply gap will likely be filled by sawmills
in the US South in the near term.”
"On June 26th, the
Commerce Department announced a preliminary
determination that exporters from Canada have sold
softwood lumber into the United States at a 4.59 – 7.72
percent discount from fair value." The US will impose
additional duties on Canadian softwood lumber.
"Together the new duty rates can range from 17.4 to
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is
offering “technical and financial assistance to
landowners” for longleaf restoration, focusing on
four main conservation actions: managing competing
vegetation; prescribed fire; planting; and easements.
The Forest Resources Association says the American Chestnut Foundation is asking anyone
working in Southern forests to be on the lookout for
flowering American chestnuts this year. Though the
species dies before reaching maturity, young stump
sprouts can still be found in the wild.
includes instructions for sending genetic samples to aid
efforts to restore this “iconic timber and wildlife
(6/20/17)Unsurprisingly, researchers found that communities
are “far better at protecting the forest from fires when
they have formal land rights.”
An El Salvador-based think tank produced the study,
which followed a Guatemala community with the right to
“use, manage, and patrol” a 400,000 hectare nature
This article in The Progressive Farmer
suggests that tax reform, when passed, could eliminate a
tax deduction for a mortgage on a secondary vacation
home—except on existing mortgages. “Taken at its face
value, this suggests acting sooner rather than later if
you are considering the acquisition of a vacation
(6/15/17)Reintroducing American Chestnuts resistant to the
chestnut blight may be more difficult than most of us
thought it would be. A root rot that affects lowland
poses problems for silviculturists.
Combined, forestry activity contributes $23 billion
annually to Alabama’s economy, accounting for 20
percent of total manufacturing jobs (both direct and
indirect) and 7 percent of the Alabama workforce,
according to the AFA.
"...the Atlanta Federal Reserve recently projected that
the US economy is on track to grow at an annual pace of
4.3 percent in 2Q.
Growth at this rate could play into demand for pulp and
sawtimber in the coming months. The
recently-announced US tariffs on lumber imports from
Canada may also spur demand for sawtimber logs in the US
South. However, even if demand for pine sawtimber
increases as 2017 progresses, there is still an
oversupply of large logs available on the market and
stumpage prices could remain muted.
Online registration is open until June 11 for
Alabama’s annual alligator hunt. "The administrative
fee to apply for an Alligator Possession Tag is $22 and
individuals may register one time per zone.” Note: the
site experienced technical issues that have been
this site for registration instructions or to check
whether your registration was received.
In our neighboring state, a budget shortfall is
forcing the Mississippi Forestry Commission to cut 75
jobs in a statewide restructuring.
This case in Texas might be of interest to those
concerned with mineral rights and the rights of
landowners over the land underneath the surface.
(6/1/17)This fire resistant tarp protects both your campfire
The Campfire Defender is a "portable tool that can
be used over a live fire, giving your coals hours of
(5/31/17)The University of Maryland Extension will offer a
General Forestry Course for Fall 2017; you can take the
paper or online version of the non-credit course.
“You work from the comfort of your home...You will learn
how to protect your trees from insects, diseases and
fire; step-by-step procedures will walk you through a
forest inventory and stand analysis; and the details of
the forestry business are presented, including tax
nuances and the sale and harvest of forest products.
Register or learn more here. Source:
Wednesday Woodland Word, 5/31/17
Budget Includes Forestry Cuts” declares the National
Association of State Foresters in its weekly newsletter.
But while some forest owners receive state and federal
assistance to manage their forestland, does someone with
100 or more acres of forestland (a considerable asset
the median savings for all US families is just $5,000)
need government assistance for forest management
activities such as tree planting and site preparation?
We suspect government agencies and industry lobbyists
are leading the “government assistance is needed”
parade, not private forest owners.
is investing $50 million to upgrade the paperboard
machine at the company’s mill in Escambia County,
following the completion of a $388 million energy
improvement project that involved two years of
(5/23/17)The forestry industry is a great place to go for
. This is because REITs, real estate
investment trusts, are structured in a way that requires
them to “pay out 90% of their income out to shareholders
via dividends. The net result is that the dividend
yield of the top forest owners is often more than double
that of the average stock in the market.”
Read more about the top five dividend payers in the
One less regulation for anyone who owns a drone for
personal use: "A federal appeals court in Washington on
struck down a Federal Aviation Administration rule
requiring recreational drone owners to register their
devices with the government."
Prescribed burns are valuable for a variety of
reasons, both in the West and here in Alabama. We
suspect the high cost
in this article about a prescribed burn in Arizona--$66
per acre--is the result of federal officials lack of
concern for economics, something private landowners have
to consider more carefully.
"Farmers and forest landowners often have a lot of
questions when they consider how to deal with land as
they begin the estate planning process. Who will
manage the land and pay the taxes? Will children get
along after the death of a parent? How can parents
ensure that farming children have use of the land? ...
Alabama Extension is hosting a workshop to assist
farmers and forest landowners make better informed
choices as they make plans to transfer the family farm
to the next generation."
Check the AFOA calendar to find one of these
workshops near you.
A rather interesting idea from Senator Whatley:
SB399 would ”transfer all functions of the
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to the
Department of Agriculture and Industries, effective
October 1, 2018.”
Appalachian regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI)
is looking to enroll northern Alabama landowners with
reclaimed mine sites in their reforestation program.
If you have a site that might qualify, you can find out
more about the program by contacting Cliff Drouet with
the Office of Surface Mining by phone (303-549-7249) or
Forest Research Note reminds us that many
factors affect the price you can get for the timber on
your land: "Timber prices are not stock prices.
Published stock prices are based entirely on
transactions and the published price applies to all
shares of a given stock. Some published timber prices
are based on transactions, but most are based on
surveys. Because timber is not a uniform commodity,
published timber prices cannot be applied directly to a
timber property, but can provide an indication of the
value of the timber on the property.
Stephan Tomlinson of Growing Assets, LLC, wrote in their
newsletter: "Growing Assets, LLC., has been asked to
administer a cost share program designed to encourage
private landowners in the Cumberland Plateau to plant
shortleaf pine after a harvest. Last year our firm
planted over 1,100 acres for this program and we are
signing up potential candidates for this next planting
season (winter 2018). The cost share will pay half of
the planting and site preparation expenses up to a
maximum of $110/acre and is directed at landowners in
northwest Alabama." If you are interested in this
email or call their office at (256) 383-8990 for
A seminar on the behavior of black-legged ticks (a
species that carries Lyme disease) will
be hosted at Auburn’s
School of Forestry and Wildlife
Sciences Wednesday, April 19. Read the abstract below,
which has some good news for the US South.
Abstract: In the northeastern U.S., the key vector of
Lyme disease is the nymphal life-stage of the
blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis). In northeastern
states there is a very strong association between the
early summer peak in nymphal host-seeking and the timing
of human Lyme disease onset. A very different pattern is
evident, however, in southeastern states. Despite robust
populations of I. scapularis in some habitats there, few
ticks that bite humans in the Southeast are I.
scapularis, and those few are almost entirely the adult
life-stage. Behavioral experiments suggest that a major
change in nymphal I. scapularis questing behavior helps
explain why human Lyme disease case reports from
southeastern states are currently two orders of
magnitude lower than in the Northeast. The potential
future consequences of southwards expansion of northern
I. scapularis populations will be discussed.
Does the federal government really need
more land? For reference, the federal government
currently owns 640 million acres of land, roughly 28% of
the country's total acreage. UPDATE:
Read a brief statement from PERC on the need to
reform the LWCF before any new lands are added to public
About 250 years ago, New Hampshire citizens rose up
against the British colonial government's punishment of
mill owners who sawed white pine marked for the use of
the Royal Navy. “Despite its scarcity among today’s
narrative of the American Revolution, the Pine Tree Riot
was a locally significant colonial uprising to take
place between the Stamp Act riots and the Boston Tea
Read the full story here.
In the latest F&W Forestry Report, Marshall Thomas says the
number show housing starts may finally be reaching
the threshold for putting demand pressure on prices. He cautions that some other factors,
such as a large standing inventory of pine sawtimber and
differences in the size and type of houses being built,
might slow a rebound in prices. “So, maybe in the next
quarter or two, we can celebrate reaching the threshold.
Then, hopefully sometime next year, we can celebrate
some higher sawtimber prices.”
“On Monday, April 3, members of the Alabama Forestry
Commission (AFC) selected Rick Oates as the new State
Forester for Alabama. His appointment was later
confirmed by Gov. Robert Bentley.”
Read more at the AFC website.
The Forest Resources Association is asking for support
for the Future Logging Careers Act, which would “allow
for sixteen and seventeen year olds in mechanized
logging operations to work in the business under
Read more and find out how to support this legislation
at the Florida Forestry Association newsletter.
Joe Mallard talks about long and short term financing
for agriculture and forest industries in
this video from the Mississippi Forestry Association.
“We work with landowners to come up with ways to
purchase property and afford rural investment.” For
Alabama contacts, you can find advertisements for
Alabama Farm Credit and Alabama Ag Credit are on page
three and six, respectively, of the
If you love aviation and the outdoors, some careers let
you do both. The Alabama Forestry Commission has an
aviation unit that spots fires as well as insect
infestations and logging violations.
This video shows a firsthand look at pilot Robert
Trimble in Baldwin County. Likewise, the
Georgia Forestry Commission employs “ten full-time
pilots and about twenty-three part-time pilots.”
compass and pacing can be useful in many different
woodlot activities. A compass indicates the direction
you are headed relative to magnetic north, and pacing is
a simple means of measuring linear distance by walking.
Combining the use of a compass with pacing will help you
as you travel across country or traversing property or
stand boundaries.” H/T: Wednesday Woodland Word.
You can get firsthand
instruction on pacing and other field skills at Dr.
Becky Barlow’s Forest Measurements for Landowners
workshop at the
AFOA 2017 Annual Meeting.
"We can use our trees and enjoy them too."This video is a good resource if you need to explain
to friends and acquaintances why good forest management
and forest products don't interfere with wildlife and
The Boy Scout
forestry merit badge booklet and free,
downloadable worksheets can be a useful tool for
getting your young one in the forest and learning,
whether you have a scout or not. “…Scouts will explore
the remarkable complexity of a forest and identify many
species of trees and plants and the roles they play in a
forest’s life cycle. They will also discover some of
the resources forests provide to humans and come to
understand that people have a very large part to play in
sustaining the health of forests.”
Bringing back pork projects is no way to keep
government costs under control. If forest owners may
lose capital gains treatment of timber sale income and
the ability to annually deduct tree planting and other
forest management costs, there is no place in the
federal budget for new pork barrel projects. “Remind
your friends that when the government pays for it, it’s
forestry firms racing to replace paper business lost
to the internet are trying to transform their pulp
mill by-products into glue, biofuel and carbon fiber for
aircraft and wind turbines.” Meanwhile, “as
retail sales [of incontinence products] grow so does
the demand of fluff pulp, a moisture-absorbing fiber
made by such paper companies as International Paper Co.
and Domtar Corp.”
Almost 50% of the wood fiber for pellets came from
sawmill waste and forest residue after logging so
far in 2017, which represents a shift in source
material, according to a news release Wood Resources
International, LLC. However, the energy fairness
PACE reports that Europe could be rethinking their green
energy initiatives: “Meanwhile, after spending $750
billion on subsidies and doubling power bills, the European Union has decided to quietly step back from its
green energy programs."
(3/20/17)Auburn University is offering the Forestry Field Camp
again this summer. “This hands-on camp will give
students an opportunity to get outdoors and learn about
forestry in Alabama and the importance of forestry field
measurements in making forest management decisions.”
This is a good learning opportunity for students
interested in natural resource professions as well as
the next generation of forest landowners. Listen to
Dr. Becky Barlow describe the program on Capital Ideas—Live! in 2015, or learn more and
sign up at the Auburn website.
Economist Dr. Terry Anderson of the Property and
Environment Research Center
suggested in a recent article in
The Wall Street
Journal that a 10% excise tax on outdoor gear should
be imposed to pay for public land access and
maintenance. The AFOA sent this response to Dr. Anderson
and the Journal:
landowners already subsidize public land recreation
through our property and income taxes, adding an
excise tax on the gear that is used on private land
would just be adding insult to injury. Thousands of
our members provide outdoor recreation access to
tens of thousands of hunters, campers, hikers,
birdwatchers, ATV enthusiasts and others. We suspect
that most of the gear purchased for these outdoor
activities is never used on public land. Please
rethink your idea and re-propose.”
In his newsletter, Georgia-based consulting forester
Mike Matre presented a side-by-side comparison of
tracts planted with different seedlings and preparations.
He outlines the difference in cost per acre and lists
the differences in his site prep and planting practices
for each tract.
Forest owners need loggers, tree planters, road
builders, and many other "doers" to improve our forests
and harvest timber.
Mike Rowe's message on the value of work and pride
of accomplishment may help your child or grandchild find
their own place on your forest management team.
Yes, baiting might be legalized soon. But with a new
fee and permit. “Alabama sportsmen could eventually
use bait legally to hunt deer and hogs if
a bill passed by the state house of representatives
becomes law. … However, the baiting privilege will
come with a price tag if the bill becomes law as
rights are an effective means for conserving and
recovering endangered species. If someone owns these
animals and sees some gain from their flourishing,
recovery is more likely. But if endangered species are
merely a liability and any economic incentive to protect
them is vigorously opposed, we can’t expect much better
results than the Endangered Species Act’s woeful 2%
The composite southern yellow pine lumber price has
surged since week 4 of 2017. Though there has been
no resolution to the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA),
the price increase is reflective of the larger market
optimism and major stock market indices that have also
soared since President Trump’s inauguration on January
20. Mild winter weather and an early arrival of Spring
in many regions has also prompted inventory building
that is a few weeks ahead of schedule.
“Often, it makes sense to give family members
financial gifts or gifts of property while you are still
This blog post from a Texas law firm outlines an
example of how you can strategically make tax-free gifts
that help your loved ones.
If you know any teachers interested in the
environment and conservation, be sure to let them
know about the annual Alabama Teachers Conservation
Workshop by the Alabama Forestry Association. This four-day program gives educators of all kinds hands-on
learning, valuable classroom resources, and an in-depth
perspective on the role of forests in the environment.
AFOA is a proud sponsor of this event each year,
including a scholarship to fund one educator’s
attendance, so help us spread the word. Learn more here, or
Do you know how big an acre is? At the
2017 AFOA Annual Meeting, Alabama Cooperative
Extension Specialist and Auburn University Associate
Professor Becky Barlow will teach landowners key field
skills, such as how to estimate acreage or determine
the wood volume (and by extension the value) of a tree.
The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC)
announced a new program for students: "Enhancing
Environmental Quality through Property Rights and
Markets." PERC will provide a full
scholarship to cover tuition, meals, lodging, and a
stipend of $500 for each student's travel expenses.
A great program for students concerned about the
environment and who would like to explore solving
problems without command and control methods.
The Q1 Forisk News is available now, with
highlights including the timber price forecast, trucking
capacity and prices, timber market growth potential,
and a year-end analysis of Forisk’s 2016 forecasting.
We’re glad to announce two more speakers for theAFOA 2017 Annual Meeting:
a professional registered landman, will describe how his
services can help you keep a handle on your mineral
rights. In addition, Auburn University Research
Engineer James Johnson will speak about the current and potential future uses of UAVs (drones) by
Alabama Private Forests, a Discovering
Alabama Production sponsored by the Bradley/Murphy
Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Trust, is
scheduled for statewide broadcast on
Alabama Public Television three times in April: 9 PM
Monday, April 17th, 9 PM Friday, April 21st, and 6 PM
Sunday, April 30th. The Discovering Alabama host, Dr. Doug Phillips,
will be at the
AFOA 2017 Annual Meeting to introduce a special
showing of this segment of his long-running program.
We're pleased to announce two more speakers for
the 2017 AFOA Annual Meeting: Joe Clark, Stumpage Forester at
Forest2Market, Inc., will talk about
realities and finding your niche market, and Gary Lemme, Director of the
Alabama Cooperative Extension System, will present
the newest data about the impact of forestry and
agriculture on Alabama's economy.
A little background on Neil Gorsuch, nominee for
Supreme Court: His mother, Ann Gorsuch Burford, was
the first female head of the EPA. "She became known
for her efforts under Reagan for working to lessen the
clout of the federal government in the area of
environmental regulations, trying instead to devolve
authority and give the states more leeway over their own
We are happy to report all seven Alabama
representatives are members of the
Working Forests Caucus. If you live or have land
in another state,
check this list to see if your representatives are
members. Updating the tax code is one of the goals of
"An estimated 1.17 million housing units were started
in 2016—a nearly 5 percent increase over 2015—making it
the strongest year since 2007. However, there was a
continued divergence in the types of residential
buildings under construction; single-family starts were
up 9.3 percent last year, but multifamily units fell 3.1
Forest2Market analysis also predicts
what we can expect from Millennials and housing.
"A story map developed by U.S. Forest Service
researchers allows users to interactively chart the ebb
and flow of forest products across the southern states...
Southern Forest Products – An Economic Engine
provides a constantly updated guide to southern timber
product outputs and the mills that process them."
Mark Thomas, Certified Wildlife Biologist and
Consulting Forester, will bring humor and expertise as
he leads a discussion on common forest and wildlife
management problems and how a variety of herbicides can
be used to solve them at the
AFOA 2017 Annual Meeting.
"The good news is that with thoughtful planning and
orchestration before the meeting, the family can
participate in effective dialogue together and produce
meaningful results." Ways to keep folks engaged in the family business –
including managing family land – and make family
"The optimal planting window for bareroot seedlings is
late November until mid March and containerized
seedlings can be planted from October until May."
This guide gives detailed tips for improving
planting success. Also available in
Spanish if you work with a planting crew that might
benefit from the guide.
"'If you look at the statistics from the U.S. South,
close to two-thirds of the timber harvest is coming from
small landowners,' said Robert G. Flynn, director,
international timber, for RISI, a forest-products
This NY Times article looks at the risks and returns
of three ways to invest in forests.
a fuel tax may be on the 2017 legislative agenda, we
want to be sure lawmakers know that timber and
agriculture crops locked behind low-weight bridges and
roads are worthless. If we maintain and improve our
major highways, but neglect the maintenance of rural
roads and bridges, there will be nothing to ship on the
highways and Alabama will be poorer for the neglect.
A California sheriff is using a high tech chemical for
ag theft prevention. "The product is made up of
water and solvent-based traceable liquids. Each vial has
a unique chemical code that can be traced back to the
farmer or person who registers it through a database...Once
sprayed on ag equipment, the liquid which is invisible,
odorless, stays on a thief for up to five years without
them noticing and is picked up using an ultra-violet
light." Could this also help with logging equipment
The Alabama Forestry Association invites young
professionals to participate in an exclusive
professional development training program. The AFA
hopes to attract participants across the whole spectrum
of the Alabama forestry community to connect with peers
and mentors, and grow professionally. Anyone
interested should apply as soon as possible to secure a
Application and more details here.
"The possibility for permanent, positive change was
there, but appears to have been “trumped” by the
existing power structure. There will be no 'draining
of the swamp' at Interior." - Frank DuBois on the
Secretary of the Interior appointment.
Bareroot, LLC is pleased to announce that it has
reached an agreement with Weyerhaeuser Company to
purchase four forest seedling nurseries as well as
the Flint River Seed Orchard. These nurseries are
located in Jesup, Georgia, Washington,North Carolina,
Pine Hill, Alabama, and Shubuta, Mississippi."
Senticnel is a
tree-mounted sensor system designed to identify the
location of a forest fire, alert responders, and predict
the path of the fire using modeling software. Though
this system might not be practical yet, we think it’s an
interesting technology with promise for forest
trade-offbetween the benefits of sustainable
energy and the negative impacts of razing swaths of
forest has come up multiple times...in several locations
around the United States." Alabama Power issued a
call for proposals on renewable energy last fall.
Edward (Tony) Hubbard has experience negotiating
solar leases, and will be speaking on April 22 at the
AFOA annual meeting.
have now developed a low-cost, environmentally
friendly way to create printed materials with
rewritable paper. The rewritable paper can be
“printed” on with a stencil and ultraviolet light; it
erases when exposed to oxygen in air or ozone.”
"The way you protect and handle seedlings can have a
huge impact on their survival.
Use the following guidelines to de-risk your
investment, increase survival rate and get maximum
A word of caution to rural communities about
broadband consultants. "People think consultants are
a mystical group of people who have all the answers,” he
said. “They’re selling snake oil.
They’ve found a niche for getting taxpayer money.”
Rocky Mountain Region is hiring nearly 900 temporary
positions across 17 national forests and seven
national grasslands located in Colorado, Kansas,
Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming." Applicants are
encouraged to begin now to complete the process in time.
"Applications for wildland fire and other early seasonal
positions will be accepted Jan. 4-11. Applications for
recreation, fisheries, wildlife, forestry, engineering,
administration and other positions will be accepted Feb.
Read more or apply here.
"Timber harvesting will not require additional
stormwater regulation. In 2014, Congress
included in the final Farm Bill a provision that forest
roads and forest management continue to be regulated
through state BMPs (Best Management Practices) under the
Clean Water Act. The action ended litigation that began
in an Oregon district court in 2006. Congress did not
address EPA’s authority to adopt a regulatory program
for stormwater discharges but saw no need for regulatory
action." Source: West Virginia Forestry Association
eNews Weekly, 12/13/16.
Standard pump gasoline quickly deteriorates and
should not be kept over 30 days in any season. Start
each season with a fresh batch of 50:1 2–cycle fuel mix.
Read STIHL’s complete steps for prepping outdoor
power tools for winter storage.
We have highlighted this annual Human Freedom Index a few times over the years.
For perspective, the US fell out of the top 10 list
for economic freedom for the first time in 2005, and
fell 12 spots this year to number 24. We are
concerned that interest in property rights continues to
lessen in the US.
Find your dream property: A collection of
essays to help simplify the process of finding and
purchasing rural land from Tom Brickman of Birmingham.
Scott Pruitt has been named to head the EPA.In his statement, Pruitt said: “The American people
are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our
economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend
to run this agency in a way that fosters both
responsible protection of the environment and freedom
for American businesses.”
"The development of
Prescribed Burn Associations (PBAs) is becoming an
increasingly popular approach to increase private
landowner’s ability to utilize prescribed fire."
"Hardwoods are a smaller component of wood production
and consumption in the US, but provide
diversification due to differences in end-uses and can
produce some high-value timber." Source: Forest
Research Group, Forest Research Notes, Vol 13, No. 2.
PRT USA Inc. announced construction of a
containerized forest seedling nursery at the former E.A.
Hauss Nursery site north of Atmore, to be completed in
early 2017. Seedlings will be available for the
2017/18 planting season. According to its
Canada-based PRT is the largest producer of
container-grown seedlings in North America.
Jordan Rappaport, a senior economist for the Federal
Reserve Bank of Kansas City wrote, “Looking forward,
single-family construction is likely to continue to drag
down residential investment. Single-family housing
starts peaked in March 2016 and have since sharply
declined. As building a single-family home typically
takes about six months, the recent decline in starts
will put downward pressure on single-family construction
during the third and fourth quarters. Moreover,
single-family permits, a more forward-looking and
better- measured indicator of construction, have been
running considerably below starts, suggesting that
single-family construction will remain weak in 2017.”
Virginia Tech – U.S. Forest Service housing market
report for Sept. 2016. Hear more from Rappaport in
his 2014 interview for our
“Ignoring the potential impacts of running heavy forest
products trucks on these access lanes can potentially
result in expensive remediation—and in unhappy
landowners, neighbors, and members of the general
public...One way to mitigate this potential is to
spread the weight over a wider area with a
temporary and portable plastic road.” An AFOA
member recently saw these successfully in use on the
Chief Ladiga trail in north Alabama east of Piedmont.
“…the loss of the International Paper mill in Courtland
dealt a severe blow to [northwest Alabama] timber
forestry consultant and AFOA member Stephan Tomlinson.
“…a port on the Tennessee River in Colbert County
would provide an inexpensive way for [northwest Alabama]
timber owners to get their product to new markets.”
“There are an estimated 10.7 million family forest
ownerships across the United States who collectively
control 36% or 290 million acres of the nation's
forestland. The US Department of Agriculture Forest
Service National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) provides
information on the characteristics, attitudes, and
behaviors of these ownerships.”
View the full report here by clicking "Download PDF"
listen to the podcast by clicking the blue button
This video from SuperTree Seedlings shows the
process of preparing bare-root seedlings for sale,
from when they are lifted from the nursery through being
packaged for shipping out to buyers or planters.
Alabama state representative Seth Hammett said that
“prior to looking at the report, he would not have
thought Alabama would be fifth in the use of biomass,
or fuel from organic material, such as scrap lumber and
forest debris. Much of Alabama's contribution comes from
wood and wood waste from the state's forest products
industry. In fact, Alabama has the third largest
amount of timberland acreage in the lower 48 states,
according to the report."
“Environmentalists are increasingly confronted with
two emerging ideas about the natural world: that there
is no balance of nature, and that nature cannot be
easily separated, if at all, from human action. Many
are now embracing a new reality—known as the
“Anthropocene”—reflecting the magnitude of human
influences over the planet.” A new book of essays from
Property and Environment Research Center explores
ideas about environmental policy in light of this new
Read online or
download for Kindle.
Agroforestry integrates trees with crops and/or
livestock in a single management unit. These
practices can provide landowners with additional short
term income opportunities managed alongside their timber.
If you practice agroforestry or might be interested,
this newsletter from the Association for Temperate
Agroforestry is a free resource. You might also
listen to our past Capital Ideas--Live! interviews from
Richard Straight and
Greg Ruark on silvopasture, one type of agroforestry
"While housing starts continue to ease upward along with
lumber prices during the third quarter, prices paid
to landowners for pine sawtimber stayed flat—a
condition that is unlikely to change until hosing starts
rise considerably." "Unfortunately the Canadians aren’t helping us
pine sawtimber prices. Since the expiration of the
Softwood Lumber Agreement last year, imports into the
United States have risen by about 23 percent." "The long term outlook for forestry remains good but in
the short term it will probably remain more of the same."
F&W Forestry Report, Fall 2016
"Over the past four decades, the U.S. has seen a
dramatic increase in the proportion of homeowners to the
U.S. population, peaking just short of 70% in the first
quarter of 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Since then, homeownership has declined to the low 60s.
The rate of homeownership is likely to continue to
decline further into the mid-to-low 50s as changes
in demographic trends, increased regulation and stagnant
real incomes all work to make the dream of homeownership
more difficult to achieve.” Source: Chris Whalen, senior managing director for the Kroll
Bond Rating Agency, quoted by Virginia Tech-US Forest
Service, August 2016 Housing Commentary: Section I
"The emerald ash borer is now
confirmed in Alabama. … The USDA APHIS, the USDA
Forest Service and the Alabama Forestry Commission will
work with the Alabama Department of Agriculture to
decide on the immediate action and response of this
pest. Official statement from the Department of
Agriculture and Industries is expected soon." See also
Capital Ideas—Live! segment on the ash borer
and the status of ash trees in Alabama.
Weyerhaeuser announced plans to upgrade its softwood
lumber mill in Millport, Ala. “This investment … is
designed to improve cost competitiveness and long-term
mill viability. In addition, it will add jobs and expand
product offerings.” In addition, Two Rivers Lumber
Company will build a
state of the art sawmill in Demopolis, WSFA in
"Methods other than clearcutting often find considerable
interest on private family forest as well as public
lands. There’s no better place in the South to see
this variety of successful practices than at the
Crossett Experimental Forest." You might find it
worthwhile to visit the demonstration site for a closer
look at good forest management.
a new report from the American Forest Foundation
"family landowners, who own the majority (58 percent) of
the forests in the South, are key to providing forested
habitat for at-risk species and sustainable wood
supplies for the industry...Thus it is possible to
grow and support the South’s forest-based economy and
improve habitat for wildlife at the same time by working
with family landowners." Source: Woods to Mill Blog, Forest Resources
The Alabama Forestry Commission has issued a Fire
Danger Warning for 46 Alabama counties effective
immediately, until appreciable rainfall is received.
See the news release for more information and list
of affected counties.
We are giving away a hard copy of
Southern Pine Beetle II at our October Dinner
& Discussion meeting. The publication features
full-color photos, maps, and everything you need to know
about this destructive pest. The October 20 meeting will
be at the Boot at Brook Highland, and Rick Norris,
CPA will give a short program on forestry taxes.
See our calendar for full info.
can play a vital role in supplying renewable fuel
wood energy and make the most out of the uptick in
international demand …Without continued growth of
our forest products industry to create new markets to
utilize these valuable resources, it is very likely that
forest owners across our state would be faced with
looking at alternative uses for their land.” – John
“This announcement is a call for help from the
administration and an acknowledgement that [the
Endangered Species Act] is broken … No matter who
wins the White House in November, the law’s failings
necessitate reform.” - Rob Bishop, chairman of the House
Committee on Natural Resources, calling for an end to
the “excessive litigation driving ESA-related policy
decisions.”Read the full news release here.
This research from
Forisk Consulting digs deep
into costs and returns on management activities by large
timberland owners. Some key points form the report:
571 trees planted
per acre with an 87.8 percent survival rate
83 percent conduct
first thinnings and 71 percent also conduct second
average age of
first thinning is 15 years with $371/acre revenue
average age of
second thinning is 21 years with $401/acre revenue
average age of final
harvest is 33 years, with range of 21 to 75 years, with
average clearcut revenue of $1,614/acre
Source: Report compiled
by Forisk Consulting and published by Forest Resources
Association, Technical Release 16-R-17, 8/16.
A new law in New Hampshire allows landowners to
sue for treble damages and legal fees for damage caused
by off-road vehicles or dumping. “This
bill gives courts the authority to order clean-up
and restitution to the landowner of any illegal dumping.
It’s a strong deterrent for an illegal activity that is
all too common,” said
Hampshire Timberland Owners Association executive
director Jasen Stock.
Family Business Consulting Group offers advice on
wealth continuity. "In my view, the key to successful
wealth continuity (i.e., preserving both family
relationships and family assets) lies in ensuring
that the structures created to preserve family assets
are aligned with the hopes, dreams and capacities of
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not add the
angular dwarf crayfish, Icebox Cave beetle, Clifton Cave
beetle, and the Virgin Island coqui to the threatened
and endangered species list, the service said this
week. This decision comes after petitions from outside
organizations to list these species.
Read the news release here.
Land Handbook" provides a document to help
landowners ensure land is "smoothly and effectively
passed on to the next caretakers." Although it was
written for Wisconsin landowners, much of it will be
useful for landowners in any state.
"Gov. Robert Bentley issued an executive order
Thursday declaring a state of emergency in Alabama
over concerns about fuel shortages in the wake of a
gasoline pipeline spill that released about 250,000
gallons of gasoline south of Birmingham and shut down a
major pipeline connecting refineries in Houston with the
rest of the country."
The newly announced Alabama Master Naturalist Program
will offer a course in East Central Alabama beginning
October 13, 2016. We look forward to attending these
to learn more about the land we own and manage. Class
locations will be at Wind Creek State Park in Alexander
City and other to be determined locations. Cost of this
course is $30 per day or $200 for all 8 sessions. Full course details as well as online registration can
be found here.
The Alabama Forestry Commission has hired Ray Metzler
to serve as a Threatened and Endangered Species
Specialist. In addition to gathering information and
providing comments to state and federal agencies, Metzler will also be a resource for landowners.
See the full news release here.
If you’re interested in turning your drone hobby into
a business, Auburn University is preparing to offer
a class on UAS (drones) that will help individuals get
certified to become Remote Pilots. Please
email Earle Thompson at email@example.com to
ask questions or express interest in this Part 107 UAS
class. If you have other questions about UAS related
to agriculture or forestry,
email Christian Brodbeck in Auburn's biosystems
Wildfire prevention cited as reason for subsidizing
use of biomass in power plants in California: “Here
is the real issue: there are 66 million dead trees in
the Sierra Nevada that need to be removed. The taxpayer
is going to pay either way."
Additional videos of the AFOA 2016 Annual Meeting
presentations are now online:
If you own land in one of the
fifteen Alabama counties with shale formations, you
might want to consult an expert before selling mineral
rights too cheaply. “Last week, the Energy
Information Administration (EIA) released data showing
the world’s tight [shale] oil production could more than
double by 2040.” Furthermore, “the United States is
expected to contribute the vast majority of the tight
Read the full article here.
Research from South Carolina suggests that coyote
predation on deer fawns could force changes in hunting
regulations and deer management. “Deer numbers in
some areas of the Southeast have declined below the
level desired by wildlife managers,” says
an article from the Southern Research Station. A
long term study from 2012 “established predation by
coyotes as the leading cause of death of fawns and
suggested that levels of deer harvest in South Carolina
at that time were unsustainable.”
states including Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas and
Alabama filed a petition in support of a landowner’s
request to have his case heard by the entire 5th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals. In the case of Markle vs. U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service, the Louisiana landowner is
hoping to keep his 1500 forested acres from being
classified as “critical habitat” to the dusky gopher
frog, a species classified as endangered by the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service." The frog hasn't lived on
the land in question since the 1960s, and the FWS deemed
it unlikely to ever live there again.
Read more about it in an article posted here.
A Sumter County, Florida man is fighting charges
after shooting an alligator that was in his horse
and which then injured his son.
The local news station reported that some details are
unclear, but the FWC report noted that he knew a
license was required to shoot an alligator. This
story seems to suggest that a person can legally use a
firearm to protect his home against intruders, but
possibly go to jail for protecting livestock and a
person from an attacking animal.
Videos of selected presentations from AFOA's 2016
annual meeting are now available online. More will
be added soon, so check back in for helpful seminars for
landowners from experts.
Forestry for Non-Foresters Dr. Bill Hubbard, Cooperative Extension Service -
Southern Region Dr. Kris Irwin, D. B. Warnell School of Forestry &
Natural Resources, UGA
Trapper School Mike Sievering, Alabama Trappers & Predator Control
“If you have been considering transferring your
family business to your heirs, now may be the time to
Proposed changes may affect the valuation discount
historically allowed for a family-controlled
corporation, partnership or limited liability company.
"There is good reason to feel optimistic about the
economic contributions the wood energy industry has the
potential to make in Alabama and beyond,"
said Lance Brown of PACE. For example, "Wood energy
is proving to be a critical asset to British energy
security, allowing the U.K. to meet its emissions goals
and avoid over-dependence on foreign natural gas."
With sorrow, we announce the passing of forestry
leader Mike Dixon, Jr. from
brain cancer. We were pleased to have Mike as an
AFOA board member who helped us by giving us good advice
over the years. Funeral services for Mike will be held
Wednesday 8-17-16 at 2 PM at the First Baptist Church in
Eufaula. Source: Alabama Forestry Association Newsroom, 8/15/16
Single family houses are getting larger, but that does
not necessarily mean more lumber.
The 2016 first-quarter analysis of the housing market
by the Forest Research Group has current and historical
data on housing starts, and also some good information
about trends in lumber use in one of the biggest markets
for pine growers.
Many landowners would benefit from the upcoming
Forestry for Non-Foresters. “This course will be
especially useful for landowners and those who work with
foresters and the forest industry such as forestry
agencies, associations, forestry investment firms, real
estate investment trusts and banking institutions with
forest investments.” The two speakers also presented
a successful seminar on this topic at our annual meeting.
The meeting program and links to speaker bios can be
A timely reminder: If you order seedlings now,
suppliers are more likely to have what you want; if
you wait until they're needed, you might not be able to
get what you need. Contact information for some seedling
suppliers is below:
You don't have to negotiate a timber sale by yourself.
"Working with professional foresters and consultants
consistently brings in higher bids on timber sales...There
are many benefits that a landowner can receive by
working with professionals such as local regulation
expertise, tax advice, timber sale administration,
reforestation assistance, financial cost share
assistance, etc." Source:
National Woodland Owners Association'sWednesday
Woodland Word, 7/27/16
“'For sixty years now, the sign of active fire
protection has been an airplane dropping retardant or a
helicopter dropping water,' says Stephen Pyne, a
professor of history at Arizona State University and the
author of over a dozen books on wildfire.“
This article is the best we’ve seen on the topic of the
cost and effectiveness of fighting fire with aircraft.
It argues that with any significant fire, “the effect
is a bit like spitting on a campfire.” Some call
unnecessary use of planes and helicopters to fight
wildfire “the CNN drop” because good "media optics"
reassure the public that enough is being done.
AFOA's current Hunting Insurance Liability Policy
ends at midnight on July 31. To prevent a lapse in
coverage, current users need to send renewal
applications and payments ASAP..
New users can click here for the application.
you are renewing, your renewal application should have
been received in early June. Please call our office
at 205-987-8811 if you cannot locate yours.
Pokemon Go and the free market: "People are walking,
and even running, some for the first time in their lives
... it took a nostalgic video game available on every
smartphone in the country to accomplish what no
government program ever really could." Source:
The Republican 2016 platform calls for big changes
to the EPA and administration of the Endangered Species
Act. The platform calls for changing the EPA from a
federal agency to a bipartisan commission to “…shift
responsibility for environmental regulation from the
federal bureaucracy to the states.” The platform also
calls for the end of the practice called
"sue-and-settle"—"in which environmental groups sue
federal agencies whose officials are complicit in the
litigation so that, with the taxpayers excluded, both
parties can reach agreement behind closed doors.”
Read more at this July 20 post from
The Fifth Circuit Court in Louisiana handed down a
baffling decision recently about the dusky gopher frog:
decision [to reject the challenge to the critical
habitat designation] is remarkable because it upholds
the determination by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(FWS) to designate areas as “critical habitat” that
are not currently habitable by the frog and have not
been shown likely to be habitable in the foreseeable
Lodges, based in Bear Creek, Alabama, makes mobile,
customizable cabins. We were impressed--photos show
lots of wood in the
March 2016 issue of
Business Alabama placed
the cabins in the larger trend of tiny homes: "Steve
Sullivan, sales director, now sees a different audience
as three or four of these 400-square-foot park models
are produced every week, covering the gamut from the
most elegantly appointed and modernized to rustic and
functional. Lil’ Lodges, too, was featured on Tiny House Nation, with a spectacular
mini-structure built as a posh family getaway in the
Are you considering purchasing a bulldozer for your
Equipment Trader is a new marketplace that
connects buyers and sellers of used forestry machines,
attachments, components, and parts; it connects
allied service providers with potential customers; and
it connects employers with potential employees." The
service is provided in partnership by
Hatton Brown Publishers and
Southern Loggin' Times.
TheF&W Forestry Report,
available here now, features second quarter
stumpage prices, a surprising move by Weyerhaeuser, the
first new pulp and paper mill in the US south since
1985, and more timber market news.
We haven’t heard of issues problems in Alabama lately
with the designation of a river under
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, but
Pendley, President of the Mountain States Legal
Foundation, is looking for evidence that these
designations can have adverse effects for locals and
their property rights. If you have any experience
with or information about problems related to this act,
please share them with him at 303-292-2021. He can also
be reached via
contact form on the MSLF website.
The West could learn some lessons about fire from the
this article reports, but attitudes here might also
be changing as people unused to prescribed fire move
closer to forests that need it. “They want the
experience of living near nature, but they bring
attitudes of not wanting to smell cattle urine or smoke
from fires,” says Johnny Stowe, who manages fire in
South Carolina. Managing where people and wild lands
meet is an issue worldwide:
this city has imposed new rules to regulate building
near wildfire prone areas.
“It is a rich irony that it is often experts who have
exacerbated economic problems.” Forest landowners
might want to watch the growing field of behavioral
economics, which suggests that experts are needed to
guide the decisions of irrational citizens.
This article calls behavioral econ an “assault on
reason,” and we agree it’s wise to think hard
before completely turning over your rights to the
Bringing deer parts into Alabama from
Chronic Wasting Disease-affected areas (see
this map) is now prohibited. "Body parts from
[CWD] infected animals can carry the same deadly risk to
Alabama’s deer herd as live animals ... Under this
new regulation they must take steps to debone the meat
or remove all brain tissue from their harvested deer
before returning home to Alabama."
Read the full news release from
“In enterprising families, there are many facets to
preparation: leadership, ownership, independence and
stewardship…Continuity in the family business is
dependent upon the next generation.”
This article from the Family Business Consulting Group
on how to get teens and young adults interested in the
family business might be helpful for forest landowner
"Alabama had a great year in 2015 for new and
expanding industry with over $7 billion in new capital
investment. The forest products industry had its
best year since the recession with nearly $900 million
invested in the state, continuing a 7- year upward
trend." - Ken Muehlenfeld, Director of the Forest
Products Development Center, Alabama Department of
Read the news release from the Alabama Forestry
“Forest owners are pleased EPA exercised its broad
discretion under the CWA by keeping management of water
quality programs at the local level through state
Best Management Practices (BMPs),” said Dave Tenny, NAFO
President and CEO.
Read the news release at the NAFO website.
"Unfortunately, certain toxic chemicals have been
found in some lakes and rivers in Alabama. Some of
these chemicals can accumulate in fish. With some of
the chemicals, higher levels of the contaminants can be
found in older and/or larger fish. When chemical
concentrations are elevated in fish, they can pose
health risks to people who eat them."
Read the full report on toxins in Alabama fish.
For a worthwhile read on the background and
management of shortleaf pine, check out the
Shortleaf Pine Restoration Plan released by the
Shortleaf Pine Initiative. “The Plan is intended for use
by practitioners of such disciplines as forestry,
wildlife and conservation biology, and natural resources
management, as well as policy makers in state and
federal governments, and most importantly, by the
private landowners and public lands managers whose land
management decisions are so vital to the future of
shortleaf.” According to the plan, shortleaf pine
(Pinus echinata) has the largest geographic extent of
the southern yellow pines, and commercially, shortleaf
pine was once a valued timber commodity.
Brooks Mendell's Forest Finance Simplified is a solid guide to
forest investment and the financial side of forest
management, according to Steve Wilent in his article
"Net Present Value: A Business Skills Refresher" in
The Forestry Source, June 2016. “'At the end
of the day,' Mendell said at the workshop, 'the ability
to do the math about where capital is spent or allocated
responsibly and getting returns [is important because]
the research shows—and we know from experience—that when
forest owners and investors have the opportunity to
manage their resources and generate a reasonable rate of
return, they replant.'” Mendell also writes the
Aunt Fanny series on forestry for beginners.
A recently signed law in New Mexico bars the public
from walking or wading in streams that run through
private property without written permission. Source:
The Westerner, 6/16/16
AFOA member J. Hudson Hines of Beatrice, Alabama was
named "Young Forest Landowner of the Year" by the
Forest Landowners Association at their national
conference in Orlando, Florida on June 6, 2016. This
national award is given to an outstanding FLA member
under 50 years old and involved in the promotion and
sustainability of timberland.
Bourbon producers testified recently to the Kentucky
state legislature about the demand for white oak and
their efforts to educate landowners on management
techniques favorable for white oak. “'We need forests
the size of Rhode Island populated with white oak just
for our use,' said Jason Underwood with Sazerac, the
parent company of Buffalo Trace and Barton 1792.
Underwood said his company’s demand for white oak has
reached “crisis” proportions as Buffalo Trace and the
company’s other distilleries ramp up bourbon production
each year." Source: River
City News, 6/3/16
“Most people will conduct just one (or two) sales
from an individual timber tract in their lifetimes.
Getting full market value for the timber is therefore
This primer from Forest2Market.com walks you through
the basics of selling your timber.
“…solid flooring sales have been impacted by the
overall slump in the market across the United States in
the past year and losing ground to and market share
to engineered flooring.” Source:
Woodworking Network, 5/19/16.
At a special called meeting of the Alabama Forestry
Commission on Tuesday, May 31, the Commission voted 4
to 2 to dismiss State Forester Greg Pate. Source:
AFA Newsroom, June 1, 2016.
The governor has signed
HB418, a local bill sponsored by Representative
Ralph Howard (D-Greensboro), which will allow a referendum in Sumter County to raise property taxes by
6 mills. We assume it will be on the ballot for
general vote this fall, but will put it on the AFOA
calendar of events when we get a definite date. Source:
AFA’s From the Weeds blog, 5/26/16
Chalk one up for the black pinesnake.
of the species listed was the Black Pinesnake,
and in the second meeting, they said it could be
found in the Scotch Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
At first, they indicated they were not likely to
designate any critical habitat in Alabama, but
rather on Federal land in Mississippi.
“There had been a possible sighting in 1994 and
another in 1995, for what was believed to be a Black
Pinesnake. In 2014, they went back to sightings that
were 20 years old, even though a single snake lives
only about 11 years in the wild.
“All it takes is for someone to think they see it
and report it to your state’s agency. You don’t
have to be a herpetologist. Or have a photograph.
That becomes the 'best available science.'
“The two sightings were three and half miles apart.
From their studies of the New Jersey Pinesnake, the
snake needs at least 5,200 acres. So, based on these
two sightings and the satellite imagery, topography
and soil, they decided they might make the two
sightings into a 32,000-acre critical habitat.”
Source: Gray Skipper, Scotch Land Management Company
“…the listing of the
Black Pinesnake as a Threatened Species … was
based on insufficient scientific evidence that
was presumably gathered by individuals accessing the
WMA for their own purposes.” - Scotch Land
"Why we reached this decision."
Woodland Owner Profiles developed by the Sustaining
Family Forests Initiative break down landowner data by
state and region. Some things, like landowner
demographics and the average tenure of the land, remain
remarkably similar nationwide. Some factors vary widely,
like landowner objectives and reasons for owning
forestland. Peruse the cache of information at
"What message does this send regarding our priorities?
Timber and Agriculture are two of the most important
segments to the state’s economy. At the rate that
Medicaid and Corrections are expanding, the other
General Fund agencies will soon be completely swallowed
up. To make matters worse, the other agencies are
forced to adopt higher fees and earmarked taxes in order
to make up their reduced budget appropriations."
Source: From the Weeds, Alabama Forestry
Association, 5/24/16. Editor's Note: Agencies are not
"forced" to adopt higher fees and raise earmarked taxes.
It is the nature of agencies to almost always seek
higher funding than appropriated by the legislature. It
is the responsibility of lawmakers (appropriators) and
voters to rein in this instinct.
Subdividing, selling and developing land is the sad
result forced on many landowners by this country’s
laws and regulations that have unintended adverse
environmental consequences.- Source: The Daily Caller,
Read the full article here. Additional
information:Panel discussion on family-owned forestland at the
AFOA Annual Meeting, led by Joe Hopkins, quoted in the
The Alabama Teachers Conservation Workshop (TCW) will
be held July 11-14, 2016 at Auburn University. The
TCW program focuses on forest ecology, management, and
products through guest speakers, field trips, and
hands-on activities. Please spread the word about this
outstanding workshop and encourage teachers in your
area schools to attend. If you are interested in
financially supporting this effort,
email Ashley Smith.
Click here to learn more or register for the event.
"...the housing sector remains a welcome support to an
otherwise fragile economy; however, unlike the run-up
leading into the Great Recession, the housing market
will no longer be the driver of the economy with a
positive but limited contribution." - Lindsey
Piegza, Chief Economist, Stifel Fixed Income. Read the
March 2016 housing commentary here, and get
past commentaries along with a new economic conditions
report here. Both reports contain in-depth housing
data, useful for market-minded forest landowners.
The new monthly Driptorch Digest newsletter
from SERPPAS Prescribed Fire Work Group offers
current relevant news stories; articles and online
resources of interest; training, webinar, workshop and
conference listings; and more. It should be useful to
any landowner or professional with an interest in
Click here to read and subscribe.
"AFA supports sufficient funding for rural
infrastructure, specifically, the repair/replacement of
the approximate 1,000 bridges that are posted. HOWEVER, AFA further believes that adequate funding
would exist for this purpose if existing fuel tax
revenues are allocated fairly between ALDOT and the
counties. Currently, 99% of the tax on diesel fuel is
directed to ALDOT, while the current tax on gasoline is
distributed 55% to ALDOT and 45% to the counties. AFA
supports allocating the existing diesel tax in a similar
fashion to that of the gasoline tax."
Read the AFA's full position on the fuel tax here.
We found this relevant in light of yesterday’s article
about Tata Steel and
green energy in the UK: “The main driver for wood
pellet demand is the European Commission’s 2020 climate
and energy plan… The United Kingdom is far and away
the primary destination for wood pellets from North
America.” We spotted this on page seven of
F&W Forestry’s newsletter, available online here.
Read through for more good articles on tree planting
numbers, housing starts, and timber markets.
If you sell to the export pellet market, it might be
a good idea to watch that market carefully.
Tata Steel has announced an immediate withdrawal from
Britain, threatening 4000 steel working jobs, and
40,000 jobs in dependent industries. The main reason
given for abandoning Britain, is the high price Tata is
forced to pay for energy, thanks to Britain’s green
"Katrenia Pruitt Kier of Huntsville and Robert N.
Turner of Sulligent, the two newest appointments by
Governor Robert Bentley to the Alabama Forestry
Commission (AFC), began their five-year terms by
attending their first Commission meeting on April 19."
Read the news release here.
Both the Property and Environmental Research Center
(PERC) and the American Land Rights Association (ALRA)
call for stopping the continued conversion of private
lands to the federal estate under a permanently
funded Land and Water Conservation Fund.
An ALRA newsletter tells what to say to your Congressman.
PERC describes why, “Without reform, the LWCF
should be terminated.” Update: The
was barely defeated 212 to 205. Rep.
Terri Sewell is the Alabama representative we spotted
who voted "Yes" in favor of permanent funding of the
American Land Rights Association, June 1, 2016
We're not sure if
SB416 - allowing the use of purple paint on trees to
mark property lines and boundaries as a conspicuous
notice against trespassing - is a good idea or not. Be
sure to let
Senator Melson and
your House member know what you think.
If your property lines are already painted bright
white, blue, or something other than purple, will
trespassing loggers and hunters be allowed to ignore
Alabama is home to 23.1 million acres of forest land.
The number of live trees on Alabama’s forest land in
2014 is estimated at 17.0 billion trees, an increase of
2.0 percent from 2013.
Read the full report from the USDA.
Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,089,000. This
is 8.8 percent below the revised February estimate of
1,194,000, but is 14.2 percent above the March 2015
rate of 954,000. Single-family housing starts in
March were at a rate of 764,000; this is 9.2 percent
below the revised February figure of 841,000. The March
rate for units in buildings with five units or more was
Read the full report.
From a healthier stand to better return on
investment, thinning forestland can yield many benefits.
This page from the University of Florida will tell
you everything you need to know about thinning your
stand before maturity.
now recognizes alternate paths to certification. But it
must be remembered that
Certified Tree Farms,
now all recognized by LEED, still only account for a
small fraction of the wood grown in Alabama and the rest
of the U.S. Most forestland is "self-certified" as
“private forestland managed in the best interests of the
owners’ families and their forested acres.” Organizations, private or government, who bias their
wood purchases in favor of certification schemes
negatively impact the vast majority of American private
forest owners and the forests they manage.
to the fuel tax increase maintain that there is
plenty of opportunity to cut the size of government to
address the critical need for infrastructure…without
having to raise taxes."
(4/1/16)Check this map from the Forestry Commission to
determine whether or not your property is in the
habitat range of the protected Northern Long-Eared Bat.
It also notes which counties have documented cases of
White Nose Syndrome, and the article lays out the
Endangered Species Act rules for landowners in areas
where the bat lives.
John Lancaster and Wilson Lowe were presented cash
awards on March 30, 2015 from the Alabama Forest
Owners' Association Educational Fund at the
University School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences'
Student Awards Ceremony. John and Wilson were selected
by an AFOA committee led by Dr. Emmett Thompson, former
Dean of the School and a forest landowner. Award
applicants were required to submit course transcripts
and an essay reflecting their appreciation for the
profession of consulting forestry. These awards
totaled $2,500 and are given with the goal of improving
the availability of quality forestry services to forest
America's First Forest: Carl Schenck and the
Asheville Experiment will air Thursday, April 7 at
9:00 pm on Alabama Public television. Based on Schenck’s
memoir, the program examines the pivotal role played by
pioneering forestry educator Carl Schenck and his
founding of America's first school of forestry—the
Biltmore Forest School.
Click here for more info and additional air dates.
Forestry 2017: The Simulation is available for
PC today, March 25, with console versions coming later.
Players will “use first- or third-person views to
operate heavy machinery, process the wood in a sawmill,
and then afterwards market the goods.” AFOA will give
one copy away at the end of the
annual meeting in April (must sign up and be present
to win) and tentatively plans to have the game running
on a PC during the meeting.
The role that forests play in the water cycle is widely
known and celebrated. Yet, many are unaware of the
contributions of forest product markets in the
Read the full article.
Biologists have determined [four] species found
in the southeastern United States do not require further
review for federal protection at this time. The
Southern Dusky Salamander is found statewide, so its
listing would have potentially affected many Alabama
If you want a food plot on your land, you might
need chainsaws instead of tractors. “Savvy deer managers
know that planted food plots are nice, but native
vegetation is necessary part of the deer property
Click here for the full article. Source: Wednesday
National Woodland Owners Association, 3/16/16
for Economic Education is offering a full
scholarship to its economic seminars for students
(ages 14-26) who apply by this Friday, March 18."Economic
thinking gives you an advantage in life. You’ll be
better equipped to make decisions, take advantage of
emerging opportunities, and gain a clearer view of the
world around you."
Use tuition scholarship code FEE2016 when you apply
to take advantage of this opportunity.
and Graduate Colloquium will introduce students
to a property rights and market approach to
environmental issues. A scholarship covers tuition
and lodging, and a travel stipend is included.
Information and application here.
Graduate Fellows program offers a mentored
research experience for students who have a
well-defined natural resources or environmental
economics topic. This opportunity includes a monthly
If you are leasing land for turkey hunting, it
might be a good idea to coordinate with your hunters
before you visit in the morning during turkey hunting
season. Even if you're not leasing it, be sure to wear
bright colors in the woods for safety. Click here for official turkey season dates.
"The South’s forests are so productive that,
while they makeup only 2 percent of the global forest
cover, they produce 12 percent of the world’s industrial
roundwood and 19 percent of its pulp and paper
products—greater production than that of any other
This data-rich slideshow from the Southern Forest
Products Industry includes graphics and interactive
maps for large or small scale perspectives on the
"If you are contemplating selling stands with
hardwood sawtimber, this is the time before the
prices plateau or even fall. Any tract with merchantable
timber that can be harvested during wet weather should
do well relative to wet tracts with similar timber."
Newsletter of Forest Management Specialists, Inc., Vol.
3, Iss. 2. Other topics include: Timber market
update; like-Kind exchanges; forest-use trends; pricing
Property tax and timber
severance tax increase proposals:Senator Trip Pittman (a Republican from Daphne), is
exploring legislation that would almost double the
forestland property tax (now 10 cents/acre, proposed 19
cents/acre). The tax would be called an “assessment” to
avoid the “burdensome” necessity of requiring a vote of
the people to raise the tax.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission released Mississippi
Trees, a free Tree ID app available on
Google Play and the
App Store. Based on their popular handbook, the app
has photos and information for both native and
non-native species, searchable by common name,
scientific name, or family group.
reforms would enable parks to become more
self-sufficient and less reliant on Congress for annual
appropriations." Proposed reforms begin with "Stop
acquiring more land for the park system and start
prioritizing the care and maintenance of existing
and Environment Research Center, 2/16/16
Tax changes related to property and roads will be on
the ballot in five Alabama counties on March 1.
Click the county name to view the sample ballot.
BALDWIN: 1 mill, 30 years; 3 mills, 30 years BARBOUR: 2 mills – no end date specified on
ballot CHOCTAW: ½ mill, 30 years FRANKLIN: ¼ cent sales tax from schools to
be moved to roads (ATRIP)
– to be continued with elections every 2 years RUSSELL: $50/residence and $100/business for
volunteer fire protection outside city limits of
(2/12/16)Rural county roads and bridges are vital to the
income of forest landowners and farmers, and they
need your support.
Click here to read more.
2016 VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINES:
February 12, 2016 -
Hand-delivery to county Board of Registrars
"With the real unemployment rate in the U.S. at 10.3%
(16 million individuals unemployed, stopped locking, or
work part-time) and household income growth nonexistent
or negative, it's hard to envision a scenario where
the U.S. housing market returns to "normal" anytime soon."
Read Virginia Tech's December 2015 Housing Commentary
Cam Ward (R- Alabaster) introduced SB15 to
un-earmark approximately $400 million in taxes to direct
them to the General Fund as opposed to specific state
agencies. Included in his bill is the Forest Products
Severance Tax and the Forest Product Processor’s
Privilege Tax. These taxes amounted to $5.865
million in FY15 and had previously been directed to the
Alabama Forestry Commission. AFC’s total budget for FY15
was $22.4 million which included the $5.865 earmarked
tax and also a $8.757 million General Fund
Appropriation. AFC’s budget for FY16 (the current year)
is $25.2 million which includes a $7.042 million General
Fund Appropriation. Potentially losing the earmark for
AFC will have a dramatic effect on services provided to
Alabama’s timberland owners. Additionally, by
removing the earmark, the bill also removes the
statutory requirement that AFC must use 85% of the
severance tax for fire protection." Source: From
the Weeds blog. We wonder if the severance tax on
timber would have passed had the funds not been
earmarked for fire protection? Is it time to repeal
the timber severance tax? AFOA members will be
Alabama Agribusiness Council's Legislative Reception at
5 PM tonight. (see AFOA
"The Forest Landowners Association Awards recognize
outstanding landowners and forestry professionals
contributing to the stewardship and sustainability of
private forests – and protecting the rights of the
families who own them …Think of private forest
landowners who set an example in the landowner community
and nominate your peers for the recognition they deserve.
A new Senate bill will
set forest biomass on equal footing with other
bioenergy sources. The amendment directs federal
agencies to establish policies that:
Reflect the carbon
neutrality of forest bioenergy;
Recognize biomass as
a renewable energy source;
investment throughout the biomass supply chain,
management to improve forest health; and
It's important to have the support of local law
enforcement to prevent and control illegal dumping
and littering. This
conference may help. PALS asks: "Please contact
your local law enforcement agencies and encourage them
to send a representative from their agency."
"Despite slower growth in China’s overall economy,
the nation’s high timber deficit will sustain growth
in its already high import volumes of wood fiber."
Read the full article at RISI, Inc.
The law allows landowners to deduct from their income
tax return up to $10,000 in reforestation
expenditures per tax year, per qualified timber
property. Note that you are allowed more than one
qualified property. We strongly advise you to consult
your tax advisor about what constitutes a "qualified
How do you determine the age of a tree? Just
count the rings, of course! One ring equals one year of
growth. But if you're counting rings on a stump, the
life of that tree is over. So how do you count those
rings while the tree is alive? Foresters use a special
tool called an "increment borer".
Read more and listen to the audio segment here. You
can buy this tool from
Ben Meadows or
Forestry Suppliers. Thanks to the Wednesday Woodland
Word (Volume 4 Number 2) for this story.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service published its
much-awaited Final Rule concerning the threatened Northern
Long-Eared Bat, found in north Alabama. One notable
change from the Interim Final Rule reduces the protected
radius from 1/4 mile to 150 feet around “known, occupied
maternity roost trees” during the June 1-July 31 pup
Read more at the FWS website.
Ballotpedia has sourced
information about each of the candidates for the
upcoming March 1 primary for US Senator in Alabama.
Links to the candidate's campaign site can be found in
the "External Links" section on each page.
This article suggests that forestland might soon be
facing an ownership crisis, but savvy commenters
disagree. A 2014 age survey of AFOA membership
reveals 78% of members are age 60 or older, but we are
not convinced this is either new or a source of worry.
Source: American Public Media’s Marketplace,
1/11/16. Editor’s Note: For as long as I can
remember, typical hair color for forest landowners has
"The Southeast accounted for a little over 8 million
acres [68%] of the total activity and continues to
lead the nation in all categories of prescribed fire
2015 Prescribed Fire Use Survey Report, National
Association of State Foresters
The Big Short attempts to describe the cause of The
Great Recession (and the crash of sawtimber stumpage
markets), but the movie leaves out the role of
government in creating the housing bubble that led to
The House That Uncle Sam Built by Steven Horwitz &
Peter Boettke provides background information not
included in the film. On a related note, Virginia Tech's
Housing Reportfor November 2015 is
out and mostly positive; see slide 6 for a useful
recent listing of the Black Pine Snake is the
first time I know of where a landowner must get approval
from the US Fish & Wildlife Service to change land use
(e.g. longleaf to loblolly, or longleaf to agriculture
or pasture)." Tune in to Capital Ideas - Live! on January 20 to hear more
from Keville Larson, quoted above, about how the
Endangered Species Act could affect you. For additional
Q & A from the USFWS - scroll down to the last
paragraph of Q5.
is betting that the sharing economy can cut costs
for the agriculture industry. Could the Uber and
Airbnb model work for forestry equipment? Source: Progressive Farmer,
"...increasing overall profit on timber sales is only
one of several benefits that a landowner should
consider when contemplating hiring a consulting forester
to help manage their land. Consulting foresters also
provide other valuable services that improve the quality
of the timber and, therefore, the overall value of the
Read the full article here.
According to the American Land Rights Association
"The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the enemy of
rural America, ranching, farming and private land
ownership." ALRA would like you to "Call your
Congressman to oppose reauthorization of the Land and
Water Conservation Fund as a permanent Trust Fund. Call
any Congressman at (202) 225-3121."
recent email for details.
“After you have harvested several deer from your
ground blind, you might wonder why you don’t hunt
this way more often.” One hunter says ground blinds
offer safety, concealment, and ease of set-up.Read the full story at
Georgia Forestry Today, page 27.
“Landowners may face different types of eminent
domain situations with local utility companies or
government agencies [called the “condemning authority”]
that will take private land for public use [think
power lines or pipelines], with payment or
compensation.” Here are tips to consider if you
find yourself in this situation (Source: Georgia Forestry Today, p. 14):
How did the
condemning authority arrive at its offer amount?
Request a written summary of the appraiser’s
Request a drawing or
map identifying the land being acquired. Is the
location of the land being acquired established or
is the location subject to change?
Is the land going to
be owned by the condemning authority, or is it
acquiring a permanent easement and/or temporary
What use limitations
will the landowner be subject to with regard to the
land being acquired?
Did the landowner
have any plans to use his/her land for any
particular purpose?If so, will the acquisition
impact the future planned use?
What impact will the
loss of land have on the value of the remaining
If the land being
acquired does not abut a public road, how will the
condemning authority gain access to the land being
acquired, and is the landowner being compensated for
that access right?
Most of all, contact
an attorney and a local appraiser with expertise in
condemnation law. This is a complicated area of the
law with many pitfalls for the unwary landowner.
Seedlings need to experience cold weather acclimation
to withstand freezing and below-freezing temperatures,
says an alert from the
Southern Forest Nursery Management Co-op. Warm days
and nights before a freeze can compromise dormancy,
especially in pine seedlings. Take special care with
your seedlings this winter, and
learn more about how to protect them with tips from
Message to Lawmakers and Government Procurement
Officials buying lumber and other construction
materials made from wood: Buy the best quality
products at the lowest possible prices. We have been
watching various “certification schemes” pressuring
government agencies and lawmakers to reject lumber and
other forest products not blessed by their particular
organization. Please ignore emotional pleas from
Forest Stewardship Council,
Sustainable Forestry Initiative,
American Tree Farm System, and others.
best quality wood product at the lowest possible price,
whether “certified” by one of these schemes or not.
"The [Pacific Northwest] fires have been in the
mainstream news for months, but a recent Wall Street
piece about the “controversial” subject of forest
thinning and its impact on fire suppression simply gets
it wrong. In the article, journalist Jim Carlton
failed to discuss the myriad benefits that regular
thinnings have on the overall health of our forests and
their peripheral ecosystems, wildlife habitats, and the
safety and economic wellbeing of the communities that
Read the six reasons thinning trees is good for the
(12/3/15)Intended as a comprehensive and authoritative
history, "Forestry in the U.S. South
explores the remarkable commercial and environmental
gains made possible through the collaboration of
industry, universities, and other agencies."
Purchase directly from the Forest History Society here.
submit comments here until December 11, 2015
Sabal Trails Pipeline Project, a 515-mile natural
gas transmission pipeline. “Roughly 86 of those miles
are located in Alabama. The current study corridor
affects four counties in Alabama, including Tallapoosa,
Chambers, Lee and Russell Counties.” Source: The South
Next Month, Jim Noles, Balch & Bingham LLP.
This interactive Federal Footprint map is an
interesting, detailed look at land owned by the U.S.
government. "The feds control a lot of land and
shouldn’t be rushing out to add more territory and
responsibility. In these days of budget deficits and
spending cuts, the federal government clearly is
becoming hard pressed to manage what it already owns."
Ketchican Daily News, 11/21/15
"Georgia-Pacific last week announced plans for $110
million in upgrades to its Alabama River Cellulose (ARC)
mill in Monroe County." Work will begin in early
2016, and is expected to take 18 months. Source:
Yellowhammer News, 11/19/15
A new report says
wood pellet export markets pose no threat to the
sustainability of U.S. Southern forests
or the viability of other forest products manufacturers.
In fact, removals for export pellet production
represented .08% of the total forest inventory in 2014.
National Alliance of Forest Owners, 11/18/15.
The EPA wants information from the public on any ongoing
efforts to address stormwater discharge from forest
roads to determine whether additional measures to
protect water quality are necessary. Since these
“additional measures” could include regulations or a
permitting program imposed on the owners of forest roads,
consider whether you want to take advantage of this
opportunity. Such input could very well shape any future
regulatory rulemaking on this topic. Submit your
comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–
OW–2015–0668, to the
Federal eRulemaking Portal.
Read the entire announcement from the
Federal Register. (1/5/15) Update: Comment period
has been extended to Feb. 11
Prescribed Grazing is a term we hadn’t heard
before for using goats and other livestock to control
unwanted vegetation. A Google search found
Goat, unfortunately based in North Carolina, but
with a focused message that will be of interest to
anyone in Alabama who is thinking about setting up a
prescribed grazing business. A 2010 WBHM story,
Rent-a-Goat Business Takes Off, featured Todd &
Allison Sluiss. The Michigan couple were also featured
Farm Show article back in 2009. At that time they
charged $300 per day with a 2-day minimum.
Goat Busters were used in 2014 to clear privet and
other brush and vines on
Birmingham’s Red Mountain Park.
Cogongrass, a weed that burns hot enough to kill
mature pines, now infests over 65,000 acres in the South,
and is, unfortunately, common in south Alabama.
Herbicides applied in late April and late September have
proven to be the most effective form of eradication.
"The two herbicides currently being used are 41%
glyphosate [Roundup] and 52% imazapyr [Arsenal]. A good
tank mix is two quarts of glyphosate and 12 to 15 ounces
of imazapyr per 25 gallons of water. Adding a non-ionic
surfactant at one pint per 25 gallons, or AMS (ammonium
sulfate) at five pounds granular per 25 gallons can
increase herbicide efficiency." For more details about
identification and control, go to
Great Days Outdoors, 11/15.
The White Fringeless Orchid has been proposed
for the endangered species list by the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service. The orchid has been found in 8 Alabama
counties: Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, DeKalb, Jackson,
Marion, Tuscaloosa, and Winston. Since forestry
practices may cause modification of the orchid’s habitat
that could harm individual plants, forest owners may
want to learn more about the proposed listing, and
possibly send comments to the Fish & Wildlife Service
before the November 16, 2015 comments deadline.
See 9/14/15 press release for contact information.
"US Department of Agriculture Terminates Consideration
of Hardwood Checkoff." "Based on comments
received, outstanding substantive questions and
significant proposed modifications from stakeholders,
USDA is terminating the proceeding." Many of the wood
processors were so unhappy with the proposed tax that
they created a website entitled
Editor's note: While stumpage growers (landowners) do
not directly pay the tax (the check-off is paid by the
wood processors), the burden of the tax falls directly
on stumpage growers, since payments for standing timber
tend to be the amount left over after costs of producing
lumber and plywood are covered. Stumpage growers would
not have been given a seat on the decision making board,
if the checkoff had been imposed.
Aunt Fanny Learns Forestry: Managing Timberland as an
Investment "highlights the key obligations,
risks and metrics for owning and managing timberland
investments. The book serves any investor, from
individual to institution, interested in a tight and
entertaining tutorial for prioritizing what matters and
what does not when managing their timber assets as an
investment." $12 from Forisk Consulting. To read some of
the Aunt Fanny essays click here
"Understory Prescribe Burns: Understory burns in
pine plantations are typically conducted during the
dormant season. Now is the time to begin planning for
those burns. Install firelanes after leaf fall and have
both a prescribe burn and smoke management plan prepared
by a Certified Burn Prescriptionist." Source: Newsletter
of Forest Management Specialists, Inc., Vol. 2,
Issue 3. Other topics in the newsletter include Timber
Market Update, Focus Industry, Timber Sales, Boundary
Line Maintenance, and Mineral Leases.
Letters to Dad is a short video created by the
Paper Check-off as part of a consumer campaign to "slow
the decline in paper usage." A check-off for softwood
lumber similar to the Paper Check-off has been opposed
by Resolute Forest Products, Inc., as an
unconstitutional tax. A hardwood check-off under
discussion has been reduced in size so much as a result
of complaints that "it would exclude over 80% of the
hardwood forest products industry," and be "severely
underfunded." Source: Timber Mart-South ~ Market News
Helpful fire weather links are available at the Alabama
Forestry Commission website. Even if you're not planning
a prescribed burn, we think you'll find some of this
The domestic cat is the top killer of America's
A new study suggests that even with this knowledge,
cat owners are unwilling to restrain their cats to
protect wildlife. Source: Great Days Outdoors
magazine, October 2015
Confiscatory Property Taxes Push Wisconsin Forest Owners
into Untenable Position. In order to avoid very
high forestland property taxes, many Wisconsin forest
owners signed on to the Managed Forest Law program which
reduced property taxes, but also forced participants to
open their lands to public access. Now a district court
has "approved regulations allowing Wisconsin's Lake
Superior Chippewa Indians to conduct night hunting for
deer on lands open to public hunting (including Managed
Forest Law "open" lands)..." Source: Wisconsin Woodland
Owners Association, 10/14/15.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today stayed the
waters of the U.S. rule issued by EPA and the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers that became effective on August
28. The court vote of 2-1 suspended the effectiveness of
the rule nationwide. The following statement in response
to the court’s decision was issued by Dave Tenny,
President and CEO, National Alliance of Forest Owners:
“We are pleased the
court took the prudent step of staying the rule
while it sorts through the legal issues. The finding
of the court that the petitioners have a strong
likelihood of success on the procedural and
substantive issues in the case is encouraging, but
it will take time for the court to consider these
issues individually. Postponing implementation of
the rule pending a determination of its legality
makes good sense. In the meantime, we continue to
encourage Congress to enact legislation that will
enable all parties to take a fresh look at this
issue outside of the courtroom.”
Is it reasonable to ask why government should be in
the entertainment business? If entertainment is not
an important function of government, why do we worry if
several state parks will soon be closed? See: 5 Alabama state parks to close following budget cuts.
Forest and Humans: From the Midwest to Madagascar
is the focus of a University of Wisconsin "Massive Open
Online Course," scheduled to begin on 9/30/15. "Massive
Open Online Courses (MOOCs), are unique virtual
teaching, learning and research experiences that are not
for credit, aimed at unlimited participation and
available at no cost to learners around the world." An
introductory video about the course and enrollment
information is at:
Seattle, USA. Softwood lumber prices (in US $) have
fallen throughout a majority of the main markets in the
world during the 2Q/15 because of weaker demand,
ample supply throughout the distribution chain and a
strengthening US dollar. The biggest declines have
occurred in the US, Canada and the Nordic countries,
while the drop in import prices to China and Japan has
been more modest. Source: Wood Resource Quarterly
Press Release, 9/16/15.
A gun law passed during the 2015 Regular Legislative
Session went into effect Tuesday, after a
bipartisan effort ushered through several significant
reforms. The changes,
sponsored by Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), were
backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Governor Bentley signed the bill into law on June 4.
“This is a victory for the
Second Amendment and Alabama’s law-abiding gun owners”,
said executive director of the NRA’s Institute for
Legislative Action Chris W. Cox. “Among other
reforms, the new law gives young people greater
opportunities to learn and enjoy our firearms and
hunting heritage…” Source: Yellowhammer,
Tom the Sawyer was introduced to us in the latest
Independent Sawmill and Woodlot Management
magazine and we thought you might like to visit
Tom's Portable Sawmill Service webpage. One of the
links on his Resources page is the
"Portable Sawmill Finder" which can help you find
portable sawmilling services here in Alabama and other
The U.S. South remains significantly cost competitive
for delivered softwood fiber when compared to
Coastal British Columbia, Scandinavia, U.S. Northwest,
and New Zealand/Australia. Only Southern Brazil is close
to us according to a chart in a F2M Market Watch
article by Suz-Anne Kinney,
Finnish Forestry Expansion: Increased Demand Affects
Supply and Price.
Need a land surveyor in Alabama? Use the Find a Surveyor webpage of the Alabama
Society of Professional Land Surveyors. We selected
"Marion" in the "Professional County" drop down menu and
then clicked on the "Continue" button. In about 10
seconds Phillip Lindley's name popped onto the screen.
When we hovered over his name with the mouse/cursor, Mr.
Lindley's name, address, and phone number popped up.
When we selected Talladega in Professional County, seven
names popped up. A great service.
"Threatened bats halt some timber projects."
"Some members of the industry are already being
affected, even with the interim rule in place. Five
hundred timber projects that were to receive federal
funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service,
part of the United States Department of Agriculture,
have been tabled for the summer. June and July are the
months when the bats tend to raise their pups in the
trees, and the NRCS has opted to err on the side of
caution and stop funding all projects until the pup
season ends." Source: North Andover, Massachusetts
Eagle Tribune, 7/19/15.
"How much rain fell on my land during the last 24
hours?" If you have ever asked yourself that
question, Intellicast might have an answer for you.
Check out their 24 hour precipitation map here.
State Budget Mess - Part II -- a morning
commentary from forest industry lobbyist, Tom Saunders,
in From the Weeds, July 13, 2015. You may also
find Tom's commentary from
June 10, and
June 5 useful background information for what you
will read or hear in the daily news duing the next 30
"Adding more land to the federal estate is irresponsible
when the government is failing to maintain the parks,
forests and grazing lands it currently owns. Rather than
using the conservation fund to acquire more land,
Congress should use the money to help address the
deferred maintenance backlog." Source: Property and
Environment Research Center, 6/30/15.
"Beetle Plague Spurs Canadians on U.S. Lumber-Mill
"Chased from their home forests by rising costs and a
plague of tree-killing beetles, West Fraser Timber Co.,
Canfor Corp. and Interfor Corp. have been on a buying
spree, doubling the number of mills they own in the
South since 2009 to about 34. The Canadians are drawn by
the region’s 210 million acres of fast-growing forests
and expanding housing markets from Texas to Virginia to
Florida, according to Brooks Mendell, president of
Forisk Consulting, an Athens, Georgia-based timberland
researcher." Source: Bloomberg.com, 6/22/15.
Pope Francis:Let us realize, for example, that most of the
paper that is produced is thrown away and not
Borders & Bier:
So would Pope Francis have us burn fossil fuels to
go around and collect processed pulp? Is he unaware
that demand for paper is what drives the supply of
new trees? We aren’t running out of trees because we
throw away paper. The Pope’s plan sounds like it
could have been hatched in Berkeley, California,
instead of Vatican City.
"On May 26, 2015, the United States Fish and Wildlife
Service (FWS) issued a Notice of Intent (Notice) that
initiated environmental review of a proposal to
regulate the incidental take of most of the bird species
found in the United States. In the Notice, FWS
outlined a plan for development of a multi-layer permitting
program under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
(MBTA), an almost 100-year-old statute designed to
control poaching and commercial hunting." "The MBTA
makes it a crime to 'pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill,
attempt to take, capture or kill,' possess, sell,
purchase, or ship any migratory bird or any part, nest
or egg of a migratory bird." About 1,000 species of
birds are included. FWS invites comments on their
proposal through July 27, 2015. Source: Marten Law, June
A bipartisan effort to "preserve timberland tax
provisions in an ongoing national tax reform effort"
resulted in a June 3, 2015 letter sent by 80 Members of
Congress to Chairman of the House Ways and Means
Committee Paul Ryan and Ranking Member Sander Levin. Read an Alabama
Forestry Association press release praising the
leadership of Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell and the
rest of the Alabama delegation. Read the
letter here. Editor's Note: While we
appreciate the efforts made by our Members of Congress
and the other 73 signers of the letter in our behalf, we
couldn't help chuckling at the 4 words in fine print at
the bottom of the first page of the letter: PRINTED
ON RECYCLED PAPER. We wonder if it would be
appropriate for a letter sent to a Congressional
committee focused on agricultural issues to bear a
message: EAT LESS CORN, or, in Congressman Ryan's
case: EAT LESS CHEESE. ☺
Waters of the U.S.: "Congressman Gary Palmer
spoke out this week against the Environmental Protection
Agency’s (EPA) latest major regulation, which opponents
say is a significant overreach of the bureaucracy’s
power. Along with the Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA
is seeking to redefine “Waters of the United States”
under the Clean Water Act to include small areas water
collects or could collect, such as ditches, puddles and
small ponds." Source: Yellowhammer, 5/29/15
"Outpost Campsites" at Gulf State Park may be
just the idea you've been looking for to add extra
income from your forestland.
A Key to Common Native Trees of Alabama,
ANR-0509, was revised last year by Auburn University's
Dr. Nancy Loewenstein. The 16 page publication contains
good line drawings and a dichotomous key to help you
identify 69 native trees. Open it in your tablet or
print out a copy and take an educational walk in the
Pine Beetle (SPB) Prevention Cost-Share Program.
For a limited time, help is being offered to fight
against the number one killer of pine trees in Alabama.
Now through the end of June, technical assistance and
financial incentives are available to help forest
landowners across the state apply prevention practices
to reduce the susceptibility of their pine stands to
attack by southern pine beetle.
Don't Write Off Paper Just Yet. Be sure to look
at the top two lines in the graph, "Ten Years of Paper
Production." Tissue and Containerboard -- diapers and
cardboard boxes -- stable or slightly growing demand.
Source: NPR, 5/26/15
No more public funds in tax increase referendums.
"Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R), announced in a
press conference Monday morning that he is personally
filing a lawsuit to stop school boards from using
taxpayer money to campaign for tax increases." "It
is estimated that the Baldwin County school board spent
upwards of $1 million to campaign for the failed tax
hike." Source: YellowHammer, 5/4/15.
Time to Move on from the Endangered Species Act,
an article on the Heartland blog, 4/30/15, concludes
that authority over environment and land issues be
returned to the states. We might suggest that
authority over property should be returned to the
millions of private owners who have a strong vested
interest in caring for the land and the plants and
animals that live on it. The constant grinding away of
property rights by governments, large and small, must
Take Action on Black Pine Snake.
From Fear to Facts: A Landowner's Perspective
was produced by Michigan State University Extension to
help forest owners overcome their fears of harvesting
the trees they have grown. If you have never made a
timber sale, this video may be useful to you.
Allows General Fund to participate in growth tax
General Fund Appropriations Bill that would cut
budget by 11% from 2015. Forestry Commission would
receive $1.7 million less than last year
SB227 (Singleton)/HB477 (Knight) Constitutional
increase property taxes statewide by 8.5 mills
HB485 (Melton) Perry County Constitutional
Amendment raising ad valorem taxes by 3 mills
Message to Governor Bentley: "Sell the Parks."
AFOA received an email a few days ago that read: "One
question that should be asked at this public meeting is
-- 'Since the purpose of government is not to
entertain, why doesn't the state sell the parks to
""Bentley to address budget crisis, possible state park
closures", source: The News Courier, 4/17/15.
"Mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae just debuted its new
'HomePath Ready Buyer Program,' which lets
first-time homebuyers get up to a 3% rebate of a home’s
purchase price if they buy a Fannie Mae property, so
long as they complete an online homebuyer education
course which costs $75.00." "But is this new effort good
for taxpayers and the economy, or is this similar to
programs that led to the subprime mortgage crisis and
housing crash? Is the federal government acting once
again like the boozy bartender handing out free drinks
at the frat party?" Source:
"The Park Service gets around $2.6 billion to manage 84
million acres at 407 different sites, and includes
Parks, Monuments and Wilderness areas.
Congress, the administration and various lobbying groups
keep telling us there is a huge demand for these type
areas. If that be the case, why hire a private marketing
firm to conduct a seven-year, multimillion dollar
campaign to raise 'awareness' of these areas? Sorry, but
this is all about current and future funding, i.e.,
money. First, they want to use the 100 year anniversary
to obtain a substantial increase in their annual
operating budget. Second, the dirty little secret is
that youth and minorities make fewer visits to these
areas than their national population would indicate,
thereby becoming a threat to future funding. The future
of the agency and the crony capitalists in the outdoor
industry is at stake. Jarvis says they want a 'personal
connection to the public.' They do. To your wallet and
to Congressional coffers. Just wanted you to be 'aware'
of that too." Source: The Westerner, Frank
Federal Land Acquisition and its Impacts on
Communities and the Environment is the title of a
public hearing to be conducted by the Subcommittee on
Federal Lands of the U.S. House Committee on Natural
Resources. Visit the
Committee Calendar for additional information, once
it is made available. The meeting is open to the public
and a live video stream will be broadcast at
House Committee on Natural Resources. Contact:
Committee Press Office (202) 226-9019.
The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land
Management (BLM) "manage more than 100 million acres of
timberland in the United States, yet both agencies
lose money on their vast timber resources. Simply
put, these losses are the result of high management
costs and low revenues. From 2009 to 2013, the Forest
Service generated 32 cents for every dollar it spent on
timber management, while the BLM received 38 cents per
dollar spent." See Table 3 on page 14 of Divided Lands: State Vs. Federal Management in the West
by Holly Fretwell and Shawn Regan.
Baldwin County voters "crushed a tax increase proposal
at the ballot box." "On the ballot in Baldwin
County Tuesday were referendums that would have
implemented a new 30-year, 8-mill property tax to pay
for a $350 million education building campaign, and the
renewal of three separate existing taxes totaling
7-mills. The county reportedly spent nearly $1 million
in taxpayer dollars to promote the tax increase and hold
the election. The new taxes were each defeated by over
30 points, and only one precinct in the entire county
voted to support them. Only one of the renewals
succeeded, which will keep an existing 3-mill tax in
place." Source: YellowhammerNews.com, 4/1/15.
Shipments of Southern Pine Lumber Up in 2014.
The Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA)
announced on March 3rd that, for the fifth consecutive
year, shipments of Southern Pine lumber recorded an
increase from the previous year. Shipments in 2014
totaled 15.79 billion board feet (Bbf), an increase of
5% over the volume shipped in 2013 (15.03 Bbf) and 34%
above 2009 shipments (11.79 Bbf). Source: SFPA Press
Investing in Timberland is a blog written by
realtor and consulting forester Eddie Stone. We think
you might find the conversation interesting.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposes eliminating red
tape that strangles private forest owners in his state
-- and by eliminating regulations that require a state
forester to approve of timber harvests on private land,
he also proposes eliminating a few state forester
positions due to the reduced workload. To reduce
confiscatory property taxes, many Wisconsin forest
owners have allowed the state to take over the
management of their land. Walker's proposals may be
good, but will not eliminate the problems caused by
unreasonably high property taxes. According to the LaCrosse Tribune,
the Wisconsin Department of
Natural Resources has 2,600 employees!
Planning to build a boat dock or light vehicular
The Southern Forest Products Association has
recently published the Marine
Construction Guide: "The 40-page publication
provides information for the correct use of southern
pine materials for the construction of docks, piers,
bulkheads, pedestrian walkways, and light vehicular
bridges. New to this edition are 16 pages of
sample designs and a glossary of marine construction
Marina Dock Age, Dec 14/Jan 15.
"Based on the vote [on
Amendment 5 on November 4, 2014], 20% of Alabama
voters were not in favor of hunting being guaranteed as
a basic right. That means one out of five people who
voted do not support hunting. The constitutional
amendment should stand as a vivid reminder that our
rights are defined for us by society. This is why our
conduct as hunters should always be responsible and
ethical." Source: Hunting at the Ballot Box by
Corky Pugh at
Editor's question: Do you believe "growers and
harvesters of timber" would command greater respect from
Alabama voters than "hunters" if the question were put
to a vote?