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News, Issues & Information

 

(09/17/21) "Bird migration forecast maps show predicted nocturnal migration 3 hours after local sunset and are updated every 6 hours. Colorado State University and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology currently produce these forecasts." Editor's note: They're quite small, but we suppose the chimney swifts that grew up in our old chimney in Helena, Alabama will soon be lighting up the map as they head south to Peru, South America.

(09/16/21) Stepped-Up Basis: "Biden’s proposal to end a tax break on inheritances known as 'step-up in basis,' which wipes out the capital gains tax on assets, was not included in the House bill; Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (OR) hopes to include it still, but opposition in the House means he is unlikely to succeed. This is a positive development, especially for family-owned companies and small businesses." 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges: "These were not included in the House bill and are unlikely to be included in the Senate, meaning the existing program would remain as-is." Source: National Alliance of Forest Owners, House Budget Reconciliation Legislation Update, 9/16/21.

(09/15/21) Latest proposed top federal Capital Gains Tax Rate is now 25 percent plus 3 percent surcharge and 3.8 percent net investment income tax. Source: Tax Foundation, 9/14/21.

(09/14/21) Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material is a 500+ page resource published by the Forest Products Lab. It will be useful to anyone who would like to know more about using wood -- furniture makers, builders, architects, etc.

(09/13/21) To prevent timber theft, you should:

  • Visit your property frequently.
  • Have someone you know and trust report any cutting on your land immediately.
  • Never sign a contract without checking several references of the buyer.
  • For the best price, insist on getting bids for your timber.
  • Mark all property lines to assure cutting on adjacent property does not encroach on yours.
  • Utilize trail/deer cameras on your property that can record suspicious activity or individuals.
  • Always hold your timber contractor to the agreed upon terms.
           Source: Pleasanton Express, 9/8/21

(09/10/21) What Should You Ask a Consulting Forester? Joe Baya, Huntin' Land podcast, August 12, 2021, leads Forest Appraiser Denson Helms through a great discussion on how and why a forest landowner should use the expertise of a consulting forester. Audio: about 1 hour or save 8+ minutes by sliding to 8:50. Worth your time if you are thinking of hiring a consulting forester. Find a consulting forester at www.ForesterSearch.com.

(09/09/21) Check out a new video on the identification, history and control of kudzu created by Clemson Extension. Kudzu is a prolific invasive species throughout the U.S. Originally introduced in the 1870s as an ornamental plant, people then tried to use it for erosion control. Unfortunately its rapid spread soon earned it the name: “the plant that ate the south."

(09/07/21) "According to the July LandThink Pulse results, 38.1% of respondents indicated that they would prefer to purchase rural land for sale that was located in the Southeast region of the U.S."

(09/03/21) Two stories in the news:

(09/02/21) Storm Damage and Salvage Safety Video from Forest Resources Association was produced to help professional loggers avoid injury while cleaning up after tornadoes and hurricanes. If there is someone in your family who is likely to be doing some clean-up work this weekend, you might want to watch this video together. Good luck.

(09/01/21) Little Timber Damage from Hurricane Ida: The Alabama Forestry Commission reported today that they have not heard any reports of storm damage to any large forested areas. Their Mobile County office said there was "wide-spread damage from tornadoes," but not enough to merit an aerial survey. We'll update this article if future AFC reports indicate significant damage somewhere in the state. If you suspect your timber may have been damaged by the storm, this may be a good time to ask your consulting forester to do a damage assessment. If you don't have a consulting forester, find one at www.ForesterSearch.com. If you need tax advice to help you deduct storm damage losses, a list of forestry tax experts has been posted to the web, here.

(08/31/21) How about some good news on this rainy Tuesday?  Wellborn Cabinet in Clay County [broke ground earlier] this month on a $15 million expansion, projected to add another 200 jobs. The manufacturer of kitchen and bath cabinets [many of them made from Alabama grown hardwoods], a mainstay of the economy in Ashland since 1961, already employs about 1,400 people. Source: AL.com, 8/20/21.

(08/30/21) Aunt Fanny Asks About Forest Carbon is a new episode of Brooks Mendell's Aunt Fanny series.
   o   Aunt Fanny Learns Forestry  The Book, $12
   o   Aunt Fanny Analyzes Her Timber Market
   o   Aunt Fanny Asks About Bare Land Value (BLV)
   o   Aunt Fanny Asks About Timber Taxes
   o   Aunt Fanny Asks About Forest Rotations and Financial Maturity
   o   Aunt Fanny Asks About Forestland Appreciation
   o   Aunt Fanny Asks About Timberland Returns
   o   Aunt Fanny Thins Her Forest
   o   Aunt Fanny Asks About Cash Flow
   o   Aunt Fanny Asks About Timber Prices
   o   Aunt Fanny Tours Her Forest

(08/27/21) Do carbon payments do anything to solve the carbon dioxide problem or are they just a form of greenwashing? Ryan Dezember, the Wall Street Journal writer who has written a number of forestry-related articles in the past year or two discusses the issue on The Journal podcast with host Kate Linebaugh. Audio about 15 minutes - with transcript if you can't listen. Greenwash: disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.

(08/26/21) How to Get Rid of Armadillos is an interesting article in Great Days Outdoors , August 2021, by David Strickland. Turn to page 26.

(08/24/21) "In reality, wildfires in the West aren’t evidence of a lack of funds, forest mismanagement, or climate change. They happen because the West is a fire plain, and, just as a flood plain floods, a fire plain is going to burn. For as long as we’ve kept records, about one-half to one percent of the West burns each year, and nothing we can do is going to stop it." For an interesting discussion on western forest fires, read Randle O'Toole's "The West Is a Fire Plain. Get Over It." Liberty and Ecology Blog, 8/23/21. O'Toole spoke to AFOA in July of 2013.

(08/23/21) It all adds up. If you are looking for something to discuss with your children or grandchildren during your next visit, read The Simple Math of How to Retire with Millions by Kurt Rotthoff, Foundation for Economic Education, 8/21/21.

(08/20/21) The Sandhill Crane hunting season presents an interesting new opportunity for landowners in the Tennessee Valley and the Weiss Reservoir on the Coosa River. Hunters will begin registering to win the 400 hunting permits on September 8. The hunting season is split into two segments: December 3 to January 9 and January 17 - 31. AFOA members can find interested hunters by listing land for lease at www.HuntingLand.bz.

(08/19/21) Home Power magazine provided information on powering up remote, off-grid property. An archive of 31 years of the magazine is available at no cost, but you have to register to access the mags.

(08/18/21) Are No Till Food Plots Worth It? Listen to wildlife biologist Dr. Grant Woods describe the pros and cons of using no-till technology to install and maintain game food plots. Huntin' Land Podcast #87, 7/29/21. Audio about 1 hour.

(08/17/21) Boundary Line Issues: "Where does one property begin and another end? It seems like a simple question, because most landowners have a sense about where their land starts and ends. But over a period of years, neighbors can develop vastly different interpretations as to where the boundary line exists." Listen to Pat Porter, Broker, RecLand Realty, discuss problems and solutions on LandThink.com, 8/10/21. About 4 minutes.

(08/16/21) "With stumpage prices seemingly stuck at historically low levels, many southern timberland owners are asking the obvious question: Why continue growing timber at all?" Joe Clark discusses opportunities in his 7/26/21 blog: Creative Markets & Opportunities for Southern Timberland Owners.

(08/13/21) "The U.S. is the largest lumber market in the world and is very dependent on imported lumber. Imports have consistently accounted for about 30% of consumption over the past 10 years." Source: Global Lumber Supply to Shift, building-products.com, 8/10/21.

(08/11/21) Online Master of Forest Business & Investment Degree is now being offered by Auburn University. Collaboratively taught with Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business and the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, "this non-thesis master’s program enables non-traditional students in Alabama and beyond to conveniently acquire these specialized skills from a top-ranking university with minimal disruption to their home life and current employment."

(08/10/21) The US Sawmill: How Hardwood Lumber is Made is a 9-minute video produced by Banks Hardwoods. Since their mills are located in Michigan and Wisconsin, there will be references to cold weather, otherwise the lumber making technology is similar to that used in Alabama and the South. Hardwood lumber is in demand and hardwood stumpage prices have been very good in Alabama for the past several years. Hardwood pulpwood and oak sawtimber prices reported by TimberMart-South, 2Q21, can be found in the top left corner of page 2 of AFOA's July newsletter, Capital Ideas.

(08/09/21) Preppers - a never-ending variety, from being self-sufficient, 'Preppers' Quietly Stock Up For The 'Perfect Storm', Zero Hedge, 8/6/21, to "looking for a hedge if things get bad," Weathering A Social Storm…In Style, Forbes, 7/30/21.

(08/06/21) Your Final Harvest is Complete: So, What's Next? Tom Brant from Clemson University answers some frequently asked questions. For most forest owners in the South, the automatic answer of the past has been to plant pines, but many of us are thinking twice before giving all our land to Mr. Pine. We may let Mr. Oak climb a little further up the hills than in the past. See: Managing Stands of Mixed Pine & Hardwoods, John Willis. See also: Managing for Quality Hardwoods, Callie Schweitzer.

(08/05/21) "Firefighters in France are using a balloon to spot forest fires as soon as they start," reports Euronews, 8/2/21. A camera mounted on a tethered balloon almost 2,000 feet in the air "that can automatically detect fires within minutes of them starting and alert nearby firefighters"  is being tested in the French city of Marseilles.

(08/04/21) 12 Steps for Building a Bridge: NWOA's Wednesday Woodland Word, 8/4/21, featured a story from MyFarmLife.com on building a simple wood bridge for ATVs, wheel barrows and lawn mowers. Detailed plans are provided.

(08/03/21) Why the Middle Class Should Start Paying Attention to the Death Tax. Currently, estates valued at less than $11.58 million are exempt from the death tax in the US tax code. That may soon change. Source: Foundation for Economic Education, 7/28/21. See also: New CTUP Study: Biden’s Double Death Tax Destroys Up to a Million Jobs, Costs the Economy $10,000 Per Household. Source: Committee to Unleash Prosperity, 7/27/21.

(08/02/21) So,... you don't like the vaccination or mask rules in your part of the world. We wonder what you'd think about the forcible conscription - press-ganging - of civilians to fight forest fires, as was done in British Columbia as recently as the '60s. Read: How the government can still forcibly conscript you to fight forest fires, National Post, 7/22/21.

(07/30/21) Feral Hog Traps: Even if you don't have feral hogs on your property, we think watching these videos will hold your attention. Cell phone triggered trap. Pig Brig trap (net) (read the comments under the video). Also, for information on the Alabama Feral Swine Control Program, click here and here.

(07/29/21) In a recent episode of the National Deer Association's Deer Season 365 podcast, Brian Grossman talked with Mark Olis of Moultrie Mobile about the benefits of cellular trail-cameras, some tips for getting maximum performance from your cellular trail cams, as well as some trail-camera strategy. Mark also discusses some of the very cool new features of the Moultrie Mobile app. Scroll to about the 25 minute mark in the podcast to focus on the cellular connected cameras and the mobile app.

(07/28/21) Timber Market Update: Forest Management Specialists sent us a fairly optimistic timber market update today. If you think it might be time for you to put some of your timber up for sale, find a consulting forester who seeks work in your county at www.ForesterSearch.com. Forest Management Specialists' contact information is included on the search website here.

(07/27/21) The native common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is "high in antioxidents, vitamin C, vitamin A, bioflavonoids, beta carotene, iron, phosphorus and potassium. Although long used medicinally and in many other ways by Native Americans and rural dwellers, there is a renewed interest in its use as an antiviral and anti-inflammatory agent." Source: Alabama Gardener by Lois Chaplin, Neighbors, July 2021.

(07/26/21) If you have coal on your land, don't give up hope. “Coal prices have climbed to their highest level in a decade, making the fuel a hot commodity in a year when governments are pledging reductions in carbon emissions…. Prices for thermal coal—which power plants burn to boil water into steam, spin turbines and generate electricity—have more than doubled over the past year as a result." Source: The Wall Street Journal as quoted by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity (CTUP), 7/13/21. Subscribe to free CTUP daily news commentary here.

(07/23/21) "Ozark Forest Mushrooms harvests between 100 and 500 pounds of mushrooms a week year-round, and drives them to St. Louis where they are sold wholesale to restaurants and specialty grocery stores for $10 a pound and for a couple of bucks more at farmers markets." Source: St. Louis Public Radio, 7/19/21.

(07/22/21) Forest and small business owner, Allen McBride, describes business survival skills needed in era of increasing taxes. Source: National Federation of Independent Business, 6/21/21. You may have crossed through McBride's Camp Mac if you've ever driven the windy road from Talladega heading up the mountain to Cheaha State Park.

(07/21/21) Trail cameras have been banned in Arizona. Read an article from an Arkansas perspective, Arizona trail cam ban cautionary tale for Arkansas, and listen to a podcast, The Politics of Trail Cameras, from CFACT with Gabriella Hoffman and Trent Marsh. Slide to minute 22:47 to 31:07. "Besides Arizona, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada restrict the use of trail cameras during hunting season." These stories are hard to believe.

(07/20/21) Do you need help controlling beavers or coyotes or some other animal pest on your land? Read more about Nuisance Animal Control on the Alabama Conservation Department website. Click here for a list of nuisance animal control experts on Alabama Trappers and Predator Control Association website. List on ADCNR website.

(07/19/21) Absentee Landowners: Spot canopy changes on your land when trees have been removed (new roads, timber harvesting - theft? sale?, new greenfields, etc.). HuntStand Pro now provides a monthly satellite imagery update which can alert you to timber theft and other canopy change surprises. Open https://huntstand.com/pro/ and scroll down to "Monthly Satellite Imagery." While we would like the imagery to be sharper, this new service is a huge first step towards obtaining real-time information about your land. AFOA members receive a 20% discount when purchasing from a desktop or a laptop. Discount code: AFOA20.

(07/16/21) The National Rifle Association may have dropped their support for the Biden administration's 30 x 30 program, and, if so, we commend them for it. See 7/8/21, below. Yesterday AFOA received the following message from American Stewards of Liberty.

     We just had a call from one of our readers who had called NRA to cancel her membership because they support 30 x 30. Whomever she talked to said that is not their position.
     We checked the link to their statement, which is now missing. Here is the original link. You now see a "Sorry, the requested page is not available." https://www.nrahlf.org/articles/2021/6/24/nra-joins-hunt-fish-30x30-to-conserve-30-of-lands-and-waters-by-2030/
     However, the "Hunt & Fish 30 x 30" document still lists the NRA Hunters Leadership Forum and NRA Institute for Legislative Action as supporting the effort.
[scroll down for list of supporters; AFOA has a copy of this webpage in case it should be deleted in the future]
     So, it appears they have changed their position, which is a huge win for landowners.
     Thanks for your help on this.

(07/15/21) Morgan Stanley answers questions about the Biden Tax Proposal.

  1. Will my federal income and capital-gains tax rates change?
  2. What is the proposed change to federal capital-gains taxes on inherited assets?
  3. Would the proposed reforms limit how much wealth I can give away free of federal estate and gift taxes?

(07/14/21) Solar Farm in Butler County: For those of you who worry that Alabama might be following Texas into a brown-out phase of power generation, this AL.com article, Alabama Power receives approval for Butler County solar facility, might give pause for thought. At the level of technology we are at today with batteries and solar collectors, we suspect that the land area that will be dedicated to solar power production could produce a lot more usable energy if it were used to grow fuel wood, constantly and forever (even though fuel wood would likely not be the best forest product that could be produced on the land). And … the electricity generated from fuel wood could be produced 24/7/365 with technology that exists today. Just sayin'.

(07/13/21) We were surprised when we added up the number of AFOA members who bought the Huntstand Pro map sharing and property owners app using AFOA's 20 percent discount. Less than 2 dozen of you are on the list. We know people who bought the app using their smartphone or tablet, and suspect they didn't receive the discount because that method of purchase doesn't allow the buyer to give the discount code, AFOA20 (all caps). We suggest you buy it from your desktop or laptop computer, since you will then have the opportunity to input the discount code. Read more about the app.

(07/12/21) Is there a difference? We're not lawyers, so there are probably a million legal reasons why it's OK for a game warden to enter private property without the owner's permission, but now, after a U.S. Supreme Court decision, it's not OK for union organizers to enter a private workplace without the owner's permission. Source: Supreme Court Upholds Landowner's Right to Exclude, Liberty Matters News Service, 7/6/21. Be sure to see Pacific Legal Foundation's report. Also read related story below.

(07/09/21) During a recent Carbon Program for Hardwood Landowners webinar on June 15, 2021, a number of questions were posted for future follow-up. The questions and answers are available here. Source: Wednesday Woodland Word, 7/7/21.

(07/08/21) The National Rifle Association has put itself on record as being in support of the Biden administration's 30 x 30 program, according to Liberty Matters News Service, 7/6/21. About 10 years ago the NRA supported using state funds to purchase hunting land in Alabama. Would it be fair to suspect that the leadership of the NRA, both in Alabama and at the National level, lack faith in the ability of private landowners and the free market system to provide their members with hunting opportunities? See Gov. Ivey's reaction to 30 x 30.

(07/07/21) "Almost nobody wants to raise the estate tax," especially when they take into consideration that an increase might cause job losses. Source: Kudlow, Fox Business News, 7/6/21. See graphs, Capital Gains Tax at 5:34, and Estate Tax at 6:24. Video is 9 minutes long.

(07/06/21) Labor Shortage Impacting Timber Sales and Harvesting: A few quotes from F&W Market Update, 7/1/21:
  o   "...because of the trucking shortage, they’re looking close in harder than ever..."
  o   "...logging shortage, trucking shortage, and related labor shortages are impacting..."
  o   "...reluctant to strongly pursue timber sales in many situations..."
  o   "...not sawing what they could due to a lack of personnel."

(07/02/21) "I have absolutely no idea whether our tax returns and our tax payments are accurate," wrote Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to the IRS on April 15, 2014. Rumsfeld died Wednesday at the age of 83.

(07/01/21) Be careful if you're planning to celebrate the Fourth by shooting tracer ammunition or incendiary rounds. "Those will cause fire almost every time if they land in receptive fuels. And sometimes people use exploding targets. These are made of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder and they blow up when hit by a bullet." We lifted these comments from a dry Utah radio station (KUER 90.1), so you probably won't cause a wildfire in wet Alabama... but it could happen. Be careful.

(06/30/21) Forest Economist Jack Lutz discusses the Southern Timberland Index in this quarter's Forest Research Notes. The Southern Timberland Index "allows timberland owners in the South to estimate how the value of their timberland is performing compared to an average southern timberland property." In the discussion he mentions the NCREIF Timberland Index (NCREIF = National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries), and he refers to an earlier report in 2016 on the Southern Timberland Index.

(06/29/21) Have you taken on debt to invest? We suspect that most forest owners won't find themselves in too much trouble here, but you may have family members who need your advice. View graph here ("Gen Z and Millennials—just one bear market away from bankruptcy") from Powerline Blog, The Geek in Pictures: Summer Solstice Edition, 6/24/21. Scroll down to the 15th graph/chart.

(06/28/21) Southern Pine Beetles -- and other insects and diseases -- are mapped by the Alabama Forestry Commission. Rangers crisscross each county in light aircraft marking beetle infestations on a map. Beetle monitoring flights will begin soon. Infestations will be posted on the AFC website at this link: Insect and Disease Map. Zoom in to see exact locations. Satellite imagery layers are available in the menus. Check back about once a week for updates.

(06/25/21) "...you even want to buy rural land in front of major demographic moves in the US..." Source: Hayman Capital's Kyle Bass on CNBC's Closing Bell, as quoted by Zero Hedge, 6/25/21.

(06/24/21) Is Fed Bringing About Another Housing Bubble? In an online analysis, CNN (6/19, Egan) said that even with home prices that are climbing at the quickest “pace on record, the Federal Reserve continues to prop up the housing market by purchasing $40 billion of mortgage bonds each month.” Though the Fed was at last “‘talking about talking about’ removing some of its support, some fear the US central bank is creating another housing bubble as it deliberates.” CNN added, “That’s because the Fed’s emergency strategy is artificially lowering the cost of mortgages, and further boosting prices that already looked stretched in many markets.” Source: NFIB Small Business Weekly, 6/22/21.

(06/22/21) Wood pellet industry not causing overharvest of our forestland. "The growth of the forest products industry, including the wood pellet sector, continues to create new demand for biomass, which has resulted in an increase, rather than a reduction, in forest inventory. In other words, healthy demand is driving reforestation, not deforestation across the US South." Read more: New Markets for Wood Products Help Preserve Forests for Future Generations by Larry Sullivan, F2M Blog, 6/21/21.

(06/21/21) Common insect pests of trees in Tennessee (and Alabama, too, sometimes) is the topic covered by Dr. David Mercker in this recent episode of Back Porch Forestry. Tree Insects: Something Old Something New.

(06/18/21) The June 2021 issue of Mississippi State's The Overstory newsletter contains a Timber Price Report that may be interesting to AFOA members with land in west Alabama and Mississippi. Oak sawtimber: $39.38 per ton.

(06/17/21) "How to Make Oak Trees Produce More Acorns for Deer. It's Not What You Might Think." Source: National Deer Association Video with Lindsay Thomas, Jr. About 3 minutes.

(06/16/21) A Hunter's Perspective: Forest owners who allow hunters to hunt on their land may find it useful to learn what a hunter thinks is important to discuss with non-hunters. Read What I Learned From Talking to Non-Hunters by Zack Vucurevich, National Deer Association, 6/9/21.

(06/15/21) GIFT TAX: "In 2021, you can give any amount up to $15,000 per person per year with no gift tax liability. However, gifts exceeding that amount are counted against a gift tax exemption of $11,700,000 and are subject to gift tax." Source: DeLoach, Barber & Caspers, P.C. Newsletter, June 2021.

(06/14/21) INFLATION! Focusing on the Consumer Price Index (an indicator of inflation), our sarcastic and cynical friend at PowerLine Blog, Steven Hayward, said this on June 10: "With today’s bad inflation number, here’s what the trend looks like — but not to worry, I’m sure it’s nothing, and I’m sure the Biden Administration and the Fed are on it."

AFOA's question to forest owners: Is this a good time to be invested in productive timberland, gold, Bitcoin, stocks, or cash under the mattress?

(06/11/21) Buy, Borrow, Die: "Using that strategy, wealthy households purchase assets that appreciate (increase in value), and then borrow money against their assets to consume their wealth without paying tax. When the household passes away, the assets with unrealized gains escape taxation due to step-up in basis, which removes the unrealized gain and associated tax liability for the heirs." Source: Taxing Consumption Progressively Is a Better Way to Tax the Wealthy, Tax Foundation, 6/8/21. Editor's request: If you can describe a "Buy, Borrow, Die" scenario that has actually worked for you or a client, please send a note to RLL@AFOA.org. See also: Tax Planning 101: Buy, Borrow, Die.

(06/10/21) Black Walnut management videos (free) and a book ($15) are available from the Walnut Council. The video topics include pruning, thinning, soils & sites, and markets. The book is Black Walnut: The History, Use and Unrealized Potential of a Unique American Renewable Resource by Walnut Council member Bob Chenoweth.

(06/09/21) "The Associated Press (AP) ... recently published [an article] largely critical of the wood pellet industry. Sadly, [The AP did] not provide a full-spectrum view of the forest supply chain or the environmental benefits of sustainably managed forest resources." Read more: Inaccurate Portrayals of Forestry & Wood Biomass Persist by Larry Sullivan, F2M Blog, 6/9/21.

(06/08/21) If Alabama state employee and teacher pensions are underfunded because of lack of legislative support or because of poor investment strategies, where do you think lawmakers will look for funds when the money runs out? The Tax Foundation recently asked the question, "How Well-Funded Are Pension Plans in Your State?" Alabama's state pensions are not in as bad a condition as New Jersey's (only 36% funded) and not as good as South Dakota's (99% funded). Did we hear someone say "Property Taxes"?

(06/07/21) CBS News reported from Vestavia Hills, Alabama on the high lumber prices and their effect on new home costs. The reporter failed to report on low stumpage rates -- the amounts paid to landowners for their trees.

(06/04/21) "Since COVID-19 struck in the early days of March 2020, the number of people swapping city life for country living has risen. According to the April LandThink Pulse results, 77.6% of respondents believe that the migration of people from big cities and metropolitan areas to rural locations will continue post-pandemic." Source: LandThink.com, 5/18/21. Editor's note: I suspect that the majority of respondents to the survey were rural real estate agents. Just a guess. Someone will probably set me straight soon.

(06/03/21) The Hurricane Michael [and Lee County tornadoes] Block Grant will provide $10 million in financial relief to qualifying non-industrial private forest landowners of Alabama with a one-time payment. Eligible citizens must own timber in the following counties: Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Montgomery, Pike, or Russell. Read Alabama Forestry Commission Press Release and Eligibility Requirements and Sign-Up Procedure.

(06/02/21) The Biden administration wants to impose capital gains taxes on the growth in value of estates "when assets transfer ownership at death." They would do this by repealing the step-up in basis that currently applies to estates. For example: Joe bought 400 acres of forestland at $50 per acre back in 1970. Joe dies in 2021 after the capital gains tax rate is raised to 43.4 percent and step-up in basis is repealed.  He leaves the land, now worth $3,000 per acre, to his daughter. He had no other assets. The estate must pay 43.4 percent of the $1,180,000 capital gain ($1,200,000 minus $20,000) resulting in a tax lien on the estate of $512,120. The land, or at least the timber, may have to be sold to pay the tax. Fortunately for forest landowners, we are not facing this dilemma alone. Small business owners face similar and maybe even worse situations. Read: Over 120 Associations Join Coalition to Support Continuation of Stepped-up Basis, NFIB, 5/25/21. Editor's note: We are not tax advisors, just speculators. Read more on Stepped-up Basis and Family Forests by Tom Straka.

(06/01/21) After reading an interesting story about wooden toothpicks, A tiny Maine town was once the 'toothpick capital of the world', Bangor Daily News, 5/24/21, we learned that some toothpicks are still being made in the U.S., Penley, for example. Editor's note: You may see some rather aggressive and deceiving ads from Penley's Chinese competitors when reading these stories. Or have we been deceived?

(05/28/21) Simply Southern TV Episode 708 features the Learn and Burn program. Learn and Burn events are a great way to be introduced to prescribed burning. Attendees are given hands-on opportunities to set back fires and try out some of the tools used by prescribed burners. Lee and Eyvon from AFOA's office participated a couple of years ago and thought it was a great experience.

(05/27/21) Northern Woodlands shared a refreshing forestry family story today. We think you will enjoy meeting Mary Hull: at Home and at Work in the Woods.

(05/26/21) Wild Turkeys: An Alabama Extension System recorded webinar, Wild Turkey Mortality: Populations, Predators, & Disease, and a South Carolina DNR research report, Collaborative Research on the Future of Wild Turkeys, both landed in AFOA's mailbox this week. We hope you find them useful.

(05/25/21) Deducting business-related vehicle expenses is one of the topics covered in DeLoach, Barber & Caspers, PC, Certified Public Accountants, May Newsletter. Depending on how you, as a forest landowner, are viewed by the IRS, you may or may not be allowed to deduct mileage or vehicle expenses. Be sure to clear it with your personal accountant before going to a lot of trouble.

(05/24/21) Forest landowners can now participate in forest carbon markets via short-term timber harvest deferral agreements (watch the May 6 Florida Land Stewardship webinar). SilviaTerra's program asks the landowner to defer harvest for one year on mature timber and pays for the costs of delaying the harvest. See Forisk's analysis, below, to estimate the cost of delaying the harvest and, thus, arriving at an estimate of the amount that should be paid by the carbon renter.

(05/21/21) "Practical, Helpful." Property Lines, Fences, & the Law is a seminar (video) presented by D. Mitchell Henry, J.D. and produced by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

(05/20/21) "'We'll get you again': Victim of timber theft warns thieves across Tennessee," reported WKRN News 2 Plus in Nashville on May 8, 2021. Landowners whose trees have been stolen in Alabama should report thefts to their local sheriff or the Alabama Law Enforcement Rural Crime Unit. Based on reports AFOA has received from landowners during past few years, don't expect much help from either of those sources.

(05/19/21) "Why Invest in Timberland? The fact that makes timberland real estate an attractive option is that trees grow physically. Moreover, past records have proved that timberland returns can be as good as those from equity investments. The added advantage is, it comes with lesser risk." Read more on The Basics of Timberland Real Estate Investing by Christian Saunders, LandThink, 5/11/21.

(05/18/21) Wouldn't it be nice ... if an Alabama law firm were to conduct a training session for landowners entitled, Tips for Navigating Property Tax Protests? It would be especially nice, if an Alabama law firm, or perhaps a loosely knit collection of firms, were to provide a low-cost service which would represent landowners who have valid property tax complaints. Watch Texas law firm Braun & Gresham's recorded Tips and give us suggestions on how we might produce a similar program for Alabama. Please give us the name of someone who could teach such a class. 

(05/17/21) "Because birds use a variety of forest types and conditions, management prescriptions intended to benefit birds can be complicated." Learn more from a new booklet: Bird Friendly Forests: Opportunities for Private Forest Owners in the Southeastern U.S.

(05/14/21) Makers Mark is working with the University of Kentucky to make sure they don't run out of quality white oak trees used to make their bourbon barrels. Source: Lexington Herald Leader, 5/10/21

(05/13/21) Do you jointly own your forestland with siblings or cousins? If yes, you may enjoy listening to From Partners by Chance to Partners by Choice: Building Trust-based Partnerships with Siblings and Cousins, a webinar produced by The Family Business Consulting Group.

(05/12/21) "West Fraser Timber Co., the world’s biggest lumber producer, plans to expand capacity at five of its lumber mills in the U.S. South. Interfor Corp. is rebuilding a sawmill in Georgia that is on track for completion by the end of 2021. Both companies expect home-building and renovation demand to continue supporting strong prices for wood products in the near future." Source: Bloomberg, 5/6/21

(05/11/21) Population Change. You may have invested in your forestland hoping one day to develop it into home sites or business lots. Others may own forestland in undeveloped areas of the state and hope no one will ever move to their neck of the woods. Whichever hat you wear, you will likely find interesting AL.com's May 8, 2021 article, Alabama's fastest growing and fastest shrinking counties from 2019 to 2020

(05/10/21) Brooks Mendell, forest industry analyst, sheds light on "voluntary short-term 'rental' program" in Break-Even Analysis for Forest Carbon Contracts. So, if you delay harvest on one acre for one year in order to rent its carbon, you'll lose about $10 (see graph). Therefore, you should rent the carbon for at least $10. Easy-peasy.

(05/07/21) If you have an interest in gopher tortoises, we think you will find this 4-minute video interesting: How Foresters Protect Gopher Tortoise Burrows. We thought Rayonier's idea of leaving high stumps to mark burrows a useful heads-up tool (scroll to about 2:05 if you're in a hurry).

(05/06/21) "Few Specifics" offered on whose land will be taken when the 30 by 30 plan is activated. Would it be wrong to guess that targeted lands will be near national forests like the Bankhead or Talladega, or near federal wildlife refuges like the Cahaba River or the Eufaula? Read Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful (Cached Copy), commentary in The Washington Post, 5/6/21: A narrow path for Biden's ambitious land conservation plan, and a DOI News Release: Biden-Harris Administration Outlines "America the Beautiful" Initiative.

(05/05/21) Roots and Branches -- Tree growth characteristics are discussed in a new "Back Porch Forestry" by Dr. David Mercker, University of Tennessee. He has also recently published Firewood Harvesting as a Forest Management Tool. Click here for the entire collection of Back Porch Forestry.

(05/04/21) A time lapse of Google Earth aerial images of Alabama "shows something special: forests as a renewable resource. Large tracts of land turn brown immediately after harvest, but just as quickly re-green as the forest grows back. Active forest management helps maintain forests as a sustainable industry. Click here to see 35 years of sustainable forestry in 10 seconds!" Source: National Association of State Foresters Weekly Newsletter, 4/23/21.

(05/03/21) F&W Market Update reported Friday that in Florida many sawmills will no longer take sawlogs larger than 18 inches in diameter at the butt. The Update also reported that fire "devastated the East Alabama Lumber Company sawmill on April 22.

(04/30/21) If you're thinking about harvesting timber on your land, you need to find out what some of the experts are telling the loggers. Timber Harvesting Guidelines for Forestry Best Management Practices by Richard Cristan and Carey Potter is full of information that will help you and your forester spell out your requirements for maintaining clean water on your land. A PDF version is available as well as a link to Alabama's Best Management Practices for Forestry. Assistant Professor Cristan assisted with the demonstration of the portable sawmill at our Annual Meeting at the 4-H Center.

(04/29/21) "Property taxes are generally the most hated of all taxes," wrote Jonathan Williams in The Heartland Property-Tax Rebellion, National Review, 4/26/21. While property taxes have been reasonable in Alabama, appraisals of forestland are frequently inconsistent between counties and even within counties. We think you will find Williams' discussion interesting.

(04/28/21) Fence It Right The First Time: Adverse Possession in Alabama by John Allen Nichols, Neighbors, April 2021.

(04/26/21) "As a forest landowner, one of the most important questions you must answer is when to conduct a harvest. How you make that decision can involve several factors specific to your circumstances and objectives." Read more from Cut or Wait Decision-Making for Landowners by Shaun Tanger, Mississippi State University.

(04/23/21) "Biden Eyeing Tax Rate as High as 43.4% in Next Economic Package." Source: Bloomberg, 4/22/21. Read commentary on the proposed increase from Daniel J. Mitchell, 4/23/21, here. Editor's Note: Of course, most forest owners won't make million dollar timber sales, but we suspect the proposed rate changes will reach down to affect many more than a few at the top.

(04/22/21) Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a letter yesterday with 14 other governors objecting to policies that would increase federal ownership and/or control of land.  "Fifteen Governors signed a joint letter notifying President Biden that section 216 of the Climate Crisis Executive Order (14008), to conserve 30 percent of America’s lands by 2030, 'infringes on the sovereignty of the states and rights of the citizens.'" Source: Liberty Matters News Service, 4/21/21.

(04/21/21) "Tight Supplies and Higher Prices for Softwood Lumber Has China Looking at Alternative Solutions," reports Forest Economic Advisors (FEA), 4/20/21. The last sentence in FEA's brief International Markets article reads: "There are several solutions emerging in China, and one of the most practical options is using imported softwood logs to produce lumber products by Chinese domestic sawmills."

(04/20/21) "A FEW SPOTS AVAILABLE." "Live Fire Event." "Interactive Field Day in Walker County." The Alabama Forestry Foundation and Tree Farm are doing a Learn and Burn Live Fire Event in Walker County one day during the week of April 26-30.

(04/19/21) In a recent study published in the journal Forests, John Willis, US Forest Service Researcher and his colleagues discuss mixed stands as a reasonable alternative to pine plantations or exclusively managing for hardwoods. Source: CompassLive, 3/30/21. Listen to Willis when he spoke to AFOA on Mixed Pine & Hardwood Management on April 27, 2019 in Atmore.

(04/16/21) Awaiting Governor's signature, according to ALFA's Capitol Connection, 4/16/21:

  • Police Jurisdiction Bill Passes House, Goes to Governor

  • Feral Hog, Coyote Night Hunting Bill Awaits Governor Signature

(04/15/21) Attorney Banks Ladd is offering several Estate Planning Workshops next week. He plans to cover the following topics:
  o   How to protect your belongings against your kid’s debts, divorce, or disability.
  o   How to maximize the inheritance you leave to your children.
  o   How to protect your belongings if your spouse remarries.
  o   How to plan with blended families.
  o   How to understand the difference between a will and a trust.
  o   How to avoid the expenses and delays of probate.
​  o   How to keep your affairs private.

(04/14/21) Controlling Feral Pigs is on the top of many landowners' ToDo lists. If you want to see demos of trapping devices (some old-school, some high-tech), plan to visit with Mark Smith, Extension Specialist and Auburn University Professor, between 1:30 and 4:30 on April 17 - this Saturday - at AFOA's Annual Meeting at the Alabama 4-H Center, a few miles east of Columbiana in Shelby County.

(04/13/21) "We're still enjoying a booming morel season and we have plenty of time to keep finding those." If you don't know where to look for morel mushrooms or how to cook them once found, you may want to join the Alabama Mushroom Society - $20 per year. Their address is way down at the bottom of the April newsletter, a little ways below a recipe for Morel Cream Sauce - mmmm.

(04/12/21) Editor's Note: I can't think of many things that are more disturbing of a quiet day in the woods than to have a dog hunting group (hunting for deer) drop off their dogs on a road a mile or two east your property and then block the road along side of your property while they wait to get a shot at a fleeing buck.
That said, an AFOA member wrote today, "The Senate has passed out of committee Senate Bill 381 doing away with bans for dog deer hunting in Alabama. Please make forest owners aware that we may lose our property rights should this bill pass." Read more from Alabama Political Reporter, 4/9/21. Find your Senator.

(04/09/21) Hardwood Silviculturist and American Chestnut Expert Stacy Clark has produced two excellent short videos on work being done to restore the American Chestnut to our forests. Part 1 -  Introduction (9 minutes 44 seconds) and Part 2 - Science in Action (10 minutes 15 seconds).

(04/08/21) Drones with "dragon eggs" are being used to start prescribed burns in Virginia. Make plans now to see how it's done by attending AFOA's Annual Meeting on April 17. The Alabama Forestry Commission's Kelvin Daniels will demonstrate the drone technology similar to that used in Virginia at the 4-H Center in Shelby County. Register online here or by mail and check here.

(04/07/21) CURB APPEAL: "When the time comes to sell your land, you can maximize your return by making a few simple land improvements, as Pat Porter, broker at RecLand Realty explains. Curb appeal is a term that is usually associated with the general attractiveness of a house, but the concept can also be applied to land." Source: LandThink, 3/30/21

(04/06/21) Brown Gold falls from longleaf pine trees, says The Washington Post, 3/31/21, "generating an estimated $200 million in annual sales across the Southeast." Pine straw harvesting will be featured at AFOA's Annual Meeting on April 17. David Sherer, Sherer Straw Supply, and Zachery Hind, MTE Pine Straw will describe Sherer's straw marketing business and MTE's straw harvesting system on Saturday afternoon, April 17 at the 4-H Center in Shelby County. Register online here or by mail and check here.

(04/05/21) National Association of Home Builders wants cheaper lumber, so they are asking federal officials to increase the supply of domestic timber. One wonders how a big organization like NAHB can know so little about their supply chain that they think cheaper stumpage will somehow improve the supply of lumber. Got a problem? Call Uncle Sam to fix it. Sad day. Read more here and here.

(04/02/21) "Just last week I was reading about a western Massachusetts solar project that’s enormous, that’s going to clear forest, and the town can get 450 thousand dollars in tax revenue by allowing it to occur. That’s pretty tempting for some rural towns." Read more from interesting discussion of pros and cons of solar farms, ecoRInews, 3/24/21.

(04/01/21) The Emmett F. Thompson Endowed Deanship was established last week at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. Dr. Thompson is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Alabama Forest Owners' Association (AFOA) and past Chairman of AFOA's Consulting Forester Scholarship Committee. Read more about the scholarship program below.

(03/30/21) A recent attack by NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education on private investment advisor, Suze Orman, whose message "is basic financial common sense combined with some discipline," should probably worry all investors, including those who own forestland. Read more on PowerLine Blog, Steven Hayward, 3/29/21.

(03/29/21) "Introduction to Handguns" courses scheduled this spring. "As firearms sales continue to set records, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division’s Law Enforcement Section recognized a demand in basic training for handgun safety and use. Eight million new gun owners were created in 2020 alone."

(03/26/21) Forestry Extension Specialist Becky Barlow talks about her work at Auburn's School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences (starts at 2:34), Alabama Farmers Federation's Preston Roberts describes his efforts to rein in regulatory activities of cities outside their city limits (SB107) (starts at 17:27) on The Land Show Episode 280. Becky will speak to forest owners at AFOA's Annual Meeting on April 17.

(03/23/21) "Tax Tips for Timberland Owners: Maximizing Your Deductions" is the headline for today's Forest2Market Blog.

(03/22/21) Should forest owners be allowed to conduct prescribed burns on their land? What about harvesting timber? That discussion is going on right now in Florida as landowners tell why active forest management is good for the state's economy and environment. Lynetta Usher Griner in The Gainesville Sun, 3/17/21. Jim Karels in Florida Politics, 3/17/21. (04/29/21) Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 88 this morning.

(03/19/21) Mass Timber is a semiannual publication of The Architect's Newspaper. We think you will enjoy the photos in the Winter 2021 edition demonstrating the numerous ways architects are putting wood to work. Enjoy.

(03/18/21) The cost of a 3D-printed concrete home reported to be competitive with the cost of a stick-built home in New York. What might happen to our stumpage market if interest in the new technology were to catch on across the country? Might high lumber costs push builders in this direction?

(03/17/21) The completion of Westervelt Lumber’s Thomasville, Alabama, mill was celebrated on Friday, March 5. The first load of lumber left the facility, purchased by Great Southern Wood Preserving. Second shift to start up in second quarter of this year.

(03/16/21) Back Porch Forestry's creator David Mercker, University of Tennessee, has been busy this winter. He has released 5 new training programs for forest landowners. They are Forest Measurement - Part 1, Forest Measurement - Part 2, Forest Measurement - Part 3, Options for Treating Degraded Hardwood Stands, and Hardwood Log Defects. See a menu of all Back Porch Forestry episodes here.

(03/15/21) Workaround to mitigate some of the adverse tax effects on timber investors arising from 2017 tax law changes is described by University of Georgia's Dr. Yanshu Li. If your tax advisor treats your forestland activities as an investment, you may want to forward Dr. Li's short explanation to him.

(03/12/21) Red Bugs! Chiggers! It's about to be that time of the year again. David Strickland wrote about the pests in the March 2021 issue of Great Days Outdoors magazine, Chigger Bites: How to Prevent, Identify, and Treat (turn to page 20). Editor's note: Last spring we learned (in May), to our discomfort, that our permethrin treated clothing did not prevent chigger bites, so we added Deep Woods Off to our armor (in June). End of problem.

(03/11/21) Should a city have the right to condemn your property to create a biking or hiking trail? Senate Bill 105, sponsored by Senator Tom Whatley, would prevent that from happening. Read the Alabama Forestry Association's Legislative Alert.

(03/10/21) "Caution Urged with All Burning," reported the Alabama Forestry Commission on March 8. WSFA12 (Central Alabama) and WKRG5 (South Alabama) reported on numerous wildfires in the the state. If you do plan to burn in or near your forestland, burn permit information from the AFC is available here.

(03/09/21) Easements, Agreements, Contracts and Emails. Braun & Gresham's Landowner Newsletter today contains an interesting discussion on the legality of agreements made only by email. Scroll down to Easement Contract Considerations.

(03/08/21)At 3:30 a.m., with such dignity as I can muster of a July morning, I step from my cabin door, bearing in either hand my emblems of sovereignty, a coffee pot and notebook. I seat myself on a bench, facing the white wake of the morning star. I set the pot beside me. I extract a cup from my shirt front, hoping none will notice its informal mode of transport. I get out my watch, pour coffee, and lay notebook on knee.” - Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac. For bench building plans, click here. Topic idea source: Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association, 3/8/21.

(03/05/21) When we purchased this land, never in my wildest dreams did I think we would spend such a high percentage of our income on gravel and (my husband’s) time on road maintenance. We are in fact, the “road crew.” Read more from Virginia Forest Landowner e-Update (March 2021), including five linked publications on road building and maintenance.

(03/04/21) Earlier this week, we've been told, Case Western School of Law hosted a seminar entitled: Wildlife as Property Owners: A New Conception of Animal Rights. The speaker was Karen Bradshaw, an Arizona State University Professor of Law. Reading material here.

(03/03/21) Weyerhaeuser will acquire 69,200 acres of "high-quality" timberlands from Soterra in southwest Alabama for $149 million ($2,153 per acre). Highlights from Weyco's press release included:
o   Fee simple ownership
o   Excellent operability
o   Well-stocked timber inventory (76-percent in plantation average age 14)

(03/02/21) Municipal Planning & Police Jurisdictions which reach outside of city limits (SB107) and a Broadband Authority bill (SB215) were discussed by Preston Roberts, Alabama Farmers Federation, in a brief video. About 4 minutes.

(03/01/21) "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" No, that's not what the south Alabama landowner said when filing a lawsuit last week against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service over their designation of critical habitat for the "endangered" black pinesnake, but the thought may have been hovering in the air nearby. Read the 35 page lawsuit.

(02/26/21) MARKETS: "Lumber Prices Are Soaring. Why Are Tree Growers Miserable? Sawmill operators harvest gains while Southern landowners struggle with tree surplus; 'I'm not making anything.'" Source: The Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2021. Cached version if you have trouble opening the WSJ.

(02/25/21) "Abnormally high amounts of rainfall we have seen over the last few months in the South have caused stumpage prices to surge in some pockets and based on the continued wet weather predictions, these prices will not reverse anytime soon." Read more at Forest2Market Blog by Mike Powell, 2/25/21.

(02/24/21) Two new webinars that you might find interesting are Getting Started Managing Your Land and The Digital Toolbox for the Woodland Owner: There's an app for that! We have not watched either of these webinars, so would very much appreciate a note to tell us if they were useful to you, or not. Thanks. RLL@AFOA.org.

(02/23/21) Use extra caution when using an electric chainsaw -- even when wearing safety chaps. Video - about 3 1/2 minutes.

(02/22/21) Advances in herbicide technology for pine management with Pat Minogue, Associate Professor of Silviculture at the University of Florida, is the follow-up workshop that Vegetation Management Primer (see below, 2/16/21) prepped you for last week. Starts at about 2:10; about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

(02/19/21) The new Northern Logger App is free and contains information you might find useful, such as "log volume rules, timber volumes, woody biomass tons per acre, lumber tallies, culvert sizing, gravel requirements and a retirement planning calculator." An introductory webinar is on line, but we had trouble viewing it. Let us know if you find the App useful. Thanks.

(02/18/21) Nature Trail Development on Small Acreages is a 36 page booklet published online by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. This is a good time of the year to plan a trail, since visibility in the woods is better now.

(02/17/21) The Overstory is Mississippi State University Extension's newsletter for forest landowners. Topics from the September 2020 issue included: Mississippi Timber Price Report, Successful Hardwood Plantings, and Can a Change in Pine Planting Strategies Provide for a Better Fit for a Changing Market? Past issues archived here. A new issue will be published in March.

(02/16/21) Controlling competition so your planted trees are free to grow, reducing fire hazards, maintaining roads and trails, reclaiming land taken over by kudzu or cogongrass -- these are few of the reasons we can think of that might encourage you to use herbicides (weed killers) on your property. Florida Extension Agent Chris Demers narrates Vegetation Management Primer: Why Use Herbicides? Starts at about 2:06; about 40+ minutes.

(02/15/21) IRS FORM T: "The purpose of IRS Form T is to provide information on timber accounts for your records and to be filed with your tax return when required. If your timber is held as an investment, not as part of a business, you are not required to file IRS Form T. This will be the case if you only make an occasional sale of timber (one or two sales every 3 or 4 years). You are, however, required to maintain records which, at a minimum, provide the information included on Form T. It is recommended that you complete the applicable Parts of Form T even if you are not required to file it with your return for the current tax year. The completed form should be maintained in your records." Source: Wednesday Woodland Word, 2/10/21.

(02/12/21) Freeze Injury Alert -- If you have seedlings on hand waiting to be planted, this message from the Southern Nursery Management Cooperative is for you.

(02/11/21) In an attempt to undo restrictions on expansive federal land purchases, 90 members of Congress sent a letter yesterday to the U.S. Department of the Interior. One AFOA member wrote: "If your Representative signed, you may consider giving him/her 'therapy,' as the late great Chuck Cushman said." We did not see anyone from Alabama on the list.

(02/10/21) Take a walk across Alabama with the winners of the Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest.

(02/09/21) Chinese Tallow or Popcorn Tree. If that tree has become a pest on your land, you might want to weigh in on the proposed release of two insects (a beetle and a moth) that could be used to control the tree's spread. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would like your comments before February 22.

(02/08/21) Forest products company stocks up. Raymond James today raised the target for PotlatchDeltic Corporation to $61 per share (it was $50.33 at the time of the notice). They did the same on 2/1/21 for Weyerhaeuser: Target to $37 per share (it was $32.04 at the time of the notice). Source: Raymond James Client Reports.

(02/05/21) LandThink: "When searching rural land for sale, which social media platform are you most likely to use?" Of course, we would be remiss if we didn't tell you to check out AFOA's www.ForestLand.bz.

(02/04/21) Legacy Planning: A Guide for Virginia Landowners is a new book published by Virginia Tech Extension Service. The 56-page book is available on line, but hard copies may be available - perhaps for a grandparent who is not comfortable with online publications. Check with Jennifer Gagnon, Coordinator, Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program - jgagnon@vt.edu.

(02/03/21) An Estate Planning Basics webinar for landowners was presented by Texas attorney Margaret Menicucci, Braun & Gresham, on January 26th, 2021. "This webinar highlights the 3 common challenges landowners face: protection against exploitation, leaving a legacy, and keeping up with changes in the law. It also identifies basic estate planning documents you should consider when meeting with an advisor." About 14 minutes.

(02/02/21) How much does it cost to plant an acre of loblolly pines? How much does it cost to prescribe burn 40 acres? How much does it cost to ... ? We've all asked questions like these and you may have recently spent money on forestry practices and know very intimately the costs of getting work accomplished. Auburn University's Professor Adam Maggard would like your help to produce a report: Costs and Trends of Southern Forestry Practices. Please consider sharing information with Dr. Maggard by answering a few survey questions. Click here to see 2018 report.

(02/01/21) Woodcock. Did you know the strange looking little birds live in Alabama and other parts of the South in the winter. According to Seth Maddox, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division’s Migratory Gamebird Coordinator, the ideal habitat for woodcock is forests that have been manipulated. "Logging operations really help,” he said. “Every time you clear-cut a patch of land, when it starts coming back up, that first five or 10 years provides the ideal cover for woodcock. When the trees get tall, the woodcock don’t use it as much because there is less underbrush.”

(01/29/21) We received a rather upbeat timber market report this week from F&W Forestry Services. The F&W Market Update of 1/27/21 contains one sentence that you should pay attention to, if you have marketable timber on land that can be logged in wet weather: "As is common this time of year, timber sales that are wet weather-operable and accessible can bring a significant premium."

(01/28/21) "Missouri Poacher Burns Down Landowner's Cabin in Retaliation," by Patrick Durkin in MeatEater, 1/19/21.

(01/27/21) "NO! We don't want to give anyone an almost unlimited right to raise our taxes!" That's what we think voters in southeast Shelby County said yesterday to proponents of a Southeast Shelby Rescue District when they voted overwhelmingly to prevent the creation of a new taxing authority. Source: Shelby County Reporter, 1/26/21. Alabama legislators must get this destructive method of taxation-without-representation under control. 

(01/25/21) Mark your calendar for 2022. If you are interested and concerned about the health and direction of Alabama state government, you won't want to miss the Alabama Forestry Association’s Governance Policy Seminar next year. Here is the Seminar's 2021 Agenda.

(01/21/21) The Age of Wood by Roland Ennos: "Brilliantly synthesizing recent research with existing knowledge in fields as wide-ranging as primatology, anthropology, archaeology, history, architecture, engineering, and carpentry, Ennos reinterprets human history and shows how our ability to exploit wood’s unique properties has profoundly shaped our bodies and minds, societies, and lives." For Wall Street Journal subscribers: 'The Age of Wood' Review: How to Carve a Civilization.

(01/20/21) Concerns for the comfort of your neighbors was one of the reasons you might want to use a silencer on your high-powered rifle. For an interesting discussion about suppressors or silencers, please listen to a Great Days Outdoors interview with expert Mike Pappas. Starts at 17:16.

(01/18/21) Just gobbledygook to most of us, but to the mushroom people among us, please enjoy the Alabama Mushroom Society's January 2021 Newsletter's Fungi Foragecast:

These colder months bring out familiar friends that may be a bit different depending on where you’re looking in the State of Alabama. Be on the lookout for Pleurotus (the oysters) which are much-less buggy while cold out, Lepista (such as L. nuda, the wood-blewit), many species of Cortinarius (the web-caps), an abundance of wax-caps of the family Hygrophoraceae (including Hygrocybe, Hygrophorus, and Cuphophyllus), Hydnum (hedgehogs), Tolypocladium, Clavaridelphus, Hericium species (including lion’s mane, H. erinaceus), Amanitas, especially in the Lepidella group, a cacophony of Stereum, Trichaptum, and more Trametes than you could count (T.’s versicolor, lactinea, hirsutum, betulina, aesculi, etc.)! Down South you may also find large amounts of Lacarria, Amanitas from the sections Amanita, Lepidella, and Validae, or even some winter Craterellus! Happy Hunting!

(01/15/21) So... What do you think will happen with timber markets this year? Forest2Market experts have made 18 Predictions for the Global Forest, Pulp & Paper, and Chemical Industries in 2021.

(01/14/21) "We've got to have wood and lumber," said Hal.
"Of course we have. But there won't be any unless we go in for forestry. It's been practised in Germany for three hundred years."

Two Pennsylvania boys discuss their future while camping on their parents' land along the Susquehanna River - about 1910. Here's a link to the Zane Grey novel, The Young Forester.

(01/13/21) Control the weeds and brush that slow down the growth of the little pines you plant. Extension's Ryan Mitchell and Richard Cristan have teamed up to help you pick the best herbicides for your special needs in their online publication: Forestry Herbicides for Site Preparation of Pine Plantations. You may find the PDF version handy if you plan to print and carry with you.

(01/12/21) Virtual Upland Hardwood Workshop. "This [16 hour Southern Research Station] workshop was designed to provide foresters and other natural resource practitioners with the most state-of-the-art, science-based information necessary to sustainably manage upland hardwood ecosystems of the Central Hardwoods Region of the US for a wide variety of goods and services. You can view the recorded presentations and course materials from each day!"

(01/11/21) Handbook of Alabama's Prehistoric Indians and Artifacts by David M. Johnson. "Alabama's diverse projectile points and other artifact types get concise and thorough treatment in this paramount book, as each example is eloquently brought to life with full scale photos, geographic distribution charts, and descriptions." $42.95 at Barnes and Noble.

(01/08/21) $50 per first 100 acres property tax proposed for forest landowners in south Shelby County! The not-yet-created Southeast Shelby Emergency Medical Services District proposes to lean heavily on undeveloped forestland for support. A vote open only for residents of the proposed district is to be held on January 26. Town hall meetings are scheduled for Jan. 12 at 6 PM at Risen Life Church and Jan. 14 at 6 PM at Wilsonville Baptist Church. Editor's Note: Alabama legislators must get this destructive method of taxation-without-representation under control.

(01/07/21) Does the South produce a lot of wood pellets? Jay Engle discusses (and shows) how much and where in his blog: How Much Energy is Produced Using Wood? A Forester's Perspective.

(01/06/21) Chronic Wasting Disease Detected in Two Additional Northeast Mississippi Counties. Now within 25 miles of Alabama. See also: CWD Roundup from NDA.

(01/05/21) Clean Water: Good Forestry. If you are planning to work on your woods roads or to make a timber sale, you will benefit from watching Dr. Richard Cristan's webinar, Best Practices for Forest Road and Skid Trail Construction, Maintenance, and Close-out BMPs. About 52 minutes.

(01/04/21) You are invited to join Clemson University forestry students on a Visit to Germany (and Switzerland) in July 2022. "A good way to understand the forest-management activities and limitations from other countries is to actually visit the country as part of a forestry tour or program." Source: Understanding the Other Party!, Journal of Forestry, 11/20. We'll post details and contact information for the visit as soon as they become available.

(12/30/20) How about some good news? "Jasper Lumber announces $45 million expansion, to create 60 jobs." AL.com's headline forgot to mention that the sawmill expansion will also create markets for lots of sawtimber stumpage grown by local forest owners. But that's OK. We'll take expansion any way we can get it. Happy New Year!

(12/29/20) Each month we receive, by email, the Alabama Wildlife and Conservation News from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. We copied two stories from the December issue for you to read. One is on measuring browse pressure on game food plots, the other is on the value of snags (standing dead trees) to wildlife. If you would like to sign up to receive the newsletter or other information from the Department, click here.

(12/28/20) "Some demographers say the baby who will live to 200 years old is already born," says economist Olivia Mitchell, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Source: The Wall Street Journal, 1/10/20. You could grow some mighty big trees in 200 years. Cached copy of WSJ article.

(12/23/20) "Is there a land bubble out there?" Georgia Consulting Forester Bob Hatcher asks that question in a Letter to the Editor to AFOA's Capital Ideas newsletter. Read Bob's letter here.

(12/22/20) How to Keep People Off Your Property. Huntin' Land podcast talks to Josh Phifer, Barn Owl Tech, "about how to keep people off your property, what you can do legally to prevent people from coming on your property, catching trespassers who already are, and the steps you need to take when you do." Interview begins at 6:26. About 26 minutes.

(12/21/20) Volunteers Needed! The folks who are trying to bring back the American chestnut tree are looking for volunteers to plant blight resistant trees in a seed orchard in Moore County, Tennessee, next week, Tuesday and Wednesday. Probably a fun day (or two) with nice people. Invitation and details...

(12/18/20) Volume 2 of Freshwater Fishes of North America is a "monumental, fully illustrated reference (936 pages, hundreds of photos and illustrations) that provides comprehensive details on the freshwater fishes of the United States, Canada, and Mexico." ($150) Volume 1 was published in 2014. ($120)

(12/17/20) Raymond James downgraded their rating of Rayonier Inc. (RYN-NYSE) ($30.48) Tuesday to Market Perform (from Outperform). RJ's headline included: "Covid Surge Limiting Mill Capacity."

(12/16/20) North American Softwood Lumber Capacity Continues to Shift South. "The South surpassed Western Canada to become the largest region in North America for softwood lumber capacity a few years ago, and the shift continues." Source: Forisk Blog, December 15, 2020.

(12/15/20) How Would a Biden Administration Increase Income Tax?, a slide presentation by Robert Tufts, Visiting Professor, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University. About 15 minutes.

(12/14/20) Forest Technology Instructor Wanted! Lurleen B. Wallace Community College Forest Technology Instructor, Mark Hainds (you may have met Mark at past AFOA annual meetings) is retiring, so the College is looking for his successor.

(12/11/20) Can I use my IRA to buy land? Carla McEwen of IRA Innovations discusses the possibility in Great Days Outdoors podcast. Starts at 12:53.

(12/10/20/) Learn more about growing Christmas trees on an excellent virtual farm tour with an Extension Agent in North Carolina.

(12/09/20) Becky Barlow, Auburn professor and Alabama Extension’s Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources coordinator, has been appointed the Harry E. Murphy Professor of Forest Measurements and Management in Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. Murphy was a consulting forester, a strong advocate of the free market system, and an early supporter of the Alabama Forest Owners' Association.

(12/08/20) World's Tallest Timber Tower Rising in Milwaukee (25 stories - what? about 300 feet?). World's tallest tree is a coast redwood named Hyperion -- 380 feet tall.

(12/07/20) Some truth about hurricanes from a real estate investor. From Ross Rant, 12/5/20:

The press has been playing up the line that climate change has spawned a major uptick in hurricanes. Here is reality. Until the 1970’s there was no way to know about all of the storms in the ocean that never hit land, or just lasted two days, unless a ship spotted it. Now we have satellite coverage of the whole ocean. In addition the former head of hurricane reporting and tracking, who has retired, said there are two day storms that today are labeled as tropical storms, that in the eighties, and prior, they were not even reported because they were classified as just bad storms, or were not even noticed due to no satellite coverage in those days. Since the 1880’s when records began to be kept, there has been no increase in frequency of major storms, just more naming of them and highlighted news about them. In 1950 there were 8 storms labeled as major hurricanes, in 1961 it was 7 and in 2020 it was 6. In summary, there has been no consistent recording of storms over the past 140 years, and no consistent terminology to identify severity of storms, so to try to claim now there are more major storms due to climate change is nonsense, and propaganda by the climate change press and politicians. It is simply that today every big storm is suddenly a name storm and makes the national news. Climate change has spawned a whole industry, and just look at the Biden focus on it. Be careful what you read, and are told about the effects of climate change. Some is true, but some, like hurricanes, is not.

(12/04/20) Thinking about building a cabin? A long list of Log Cabin Kits was provided along with contact information in an article by John Phillips in the December issue of Great Days Outdoors. Turn to page 39.

(12/03/20) Upcoming webinars, woodland owner retreats, and "Noon on Fridays" are topics included in the December Virginia Tech Forest Landowner e-Update from Jennifer Gagnon. Several Alabama Forest Owners' Association members have participated in Gagnon's "On-line Woodland Options for Landowners" in past years.

(12/02/20) Motley Fool discusses: Why Timberland REITS Are Riskier Than They Appear. See middle column at top of page 2 of each issue of Capital Ideas for quotes and links for several timberland REITS. 

(12/01/20) Alabama Mushroom Society Newsletter, November 2020. Enjoy.

(11/30/20) Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers recently completed a video project with marketing students from High Point University (North Carolina). The project is titled Appalachian Hardwood Forest to Finished Products and shows a student learning the process it takes to make beautiful hardwood products. About 5 minutes.

(11/25/20) If Sally or Zeta visited your forestland, you may need to salvage damaged timber and learn more about claiming a casualty loss on your 2020 tax return. University of Tennessee Extension Forester David Mercker wrote a piece for our December newsletter, entitled After the Catastrophe: Steps in Claiming a Timber Casualty Loss (page 4). On page 5 of the same newsletter, we printed Consulting Forester Ed Travis's Timber Sales and Timber Casualty Losses program notes from November 12. See also: Dr. David Mercker's AFOA interview, Back Porch Forestry, June 1, 2020, and When a Tornado Strikes.

(11/24/20) SmartMap, the mapping and drone class that Beau and Christian Brodbeck have led at AFOA's annual meetings for the past few years, is now available online. And while online courses are great, Beau and Christian have agreed to conduct the in-person class at AFOA's 2021 Annual Meeting on April 17.

(11/23/20) Your comments wanted: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed to change the status of the red-cockaded woodpecker from “endangered” to “threatened.” The Service also proposed a “4(d) rule” – new regulations that will govern how landowners can manage their forests when this species is present. These proposals are open to public comment in the Federal Register until December 7, 2020.

(11/20/20) Chestnut Chats: The American Chestnut Foundation has been conducting Chestnut Chats on Fridays since April 17. Topics have included The Art of Grafting, Finding and Conserving Chestnuts in the Wild, Using Drones to Locate and Pollinate Chestnut Trees, Research on Large Scale Reintroduction of American Chestnut, and Cooking With Chestnuts.

(11/19/20) "This week, the Republican governor released a budget recommendation that proposed eliminating Mississippi’s income tax within the next decade in a bid to attract more residents." We wonder how Mississippi will balance its budget when the income tax is put aside.

(11/18/20) Do you need a water well at your cabin or do you have one already? If yes, you may find this University of Georgia webinar just what you need. Well... Let's Talk Water Safety & Protection. Two video recordings and speakers' PowerPoint slides are down near the bottom of the web page.

(11/17/20) A look at the future of forestry education: Forestry 350 at the University of British Columbia. Patrick Culbert, Assistant Professor in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, provides a taste of the future of forestry education in dozens of unique 360° view videos (use your tablet or smartphone to appreciate the videography - hint -- look up, look down, look behind you). Start with this example: Plant Identification Walk in Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Part 1 (360° Video)

(11/16/20) "In 2020 tax rates on capital gains [income for timber held longer than one year] and dividends remain the same as 2019 rates (0%, 15%, and a top rate of 20%)." Read more -- click, then scroll down to Investment Gains and Losses. Source: DeLoach, Barber & Caspers, P.C. Newsletter, 11/16/20.

(11/13/20) "Explosion of interest." "People tell us they want a place to get away." Read more: Seller's Market by Victoria G. Myers, The Progressive Farmer, November 2020.

(11/12/20) Should game wardens or others be free to trespass on your forestland? 1) Read this story from Tennessee, 2) listen to our interview with Institute for Justice attorney Josh Windham, and 3) read Windham's request for help from Alabama forest owners.

(11/11/20) Mill construction and expansion make a difference. Read F&W Market Update, 11/6/20, and listen to Markets Expert Amanda Lang, Capital Ideas - Live!, 11/11/20.

(11/10/20) The Natural Inquirer program provides a variety of science education materials for PreK through grade 12. We don't know much about the site (Developing a Testable Question looked like it might be interesting), so if you have any suggestions for parents or grandparents, please let AFOA know -- rll@afoa.org. Thanks.

(11/09/20) Critical Habitat for the Canoe Creek Clubshell, a freshwater mussel which lives in St. Clair County and Etowah County (see map in Frequently Asked Questions), has been proposed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The Service seeks public comments on their proposal with a deadline of January 4, 2021.

(11/06/20) Reports from Secretary of State on Local Amendments Related to Property Taxes (counties which voted against property tax amendments highlighted in red):
o    Crenshaw County:    Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Elmore County:      Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Fayette County:     Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Geneva County:      Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Greene County:      Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Macon County:       Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Marshall County:    Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Mobile County:      Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Montgomery County:  Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    St. Clair County:   Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Sumter County:      Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Washington County:  Voting Results    Sample Ballot

(11/05/20) "Exposure to forest floor enhances young immune systems, study finds," reports Siobhán Dunphy in the European Scientist, 10/27/20. "Scientists have long suspected that increased hygiene, urban lifestyles, and insufficient contact with nature have played a role in the rise of chronic disorders such as asthma, diabetes, and allergies – which are all related to an overreactive immune system."

(11/04/20) Remember economist Milton Friedman? We think you will enjoy his brief comments on free markets and manufacturing a simple wooden pencil (about 3 minutes).

(11/03/20) How much carbon is stored on an average acre of Alabama forestland? Experts will be asking that question as different groups begin pilot projects next year testing out their carbon buying schemes with real Alabama forest owners (Finite Carbon, AFF's Family Forest Carbon, and Natural Capital Exchange). Hint: 24.2 tons in aboveground trees...

(11/02/20) Kith Kitchens opening cabinet factory in Florence, creating 131 jobs. Who is Kith Kitchens?

(10/30/20) Don't wait too long to thin your planted pines. "The importance of thinning at the right time overrides the desire to wait for higher prices" said Consulting Forester Stephen Butler at an Alabama Forest Owners' Association Forestry Field Day in Choctaw County on October 8. Source: Talking Trees by Dee Ann Campbell, The Choctaw Sun-Advocate, 10/21/20.

(10/29/20) Stephen Pyne discusses "The Pyrocene: How Humanity Created a Fire Age." The occasion is the Lynn W. Day Distinguished Lectureship in Forest and Conservation History presented by the Forest History Society.

(10/28/20) Wood or Plastic? David Song, a SoCal Edison spokesman (Southern California Edison is the primary electricity supply company for much of Southern California), "said that when SoCal Edison has the opportunity to replace a [wooden] pole with a plastic one, they’ll do it every time." Editor's note: TimberMart-South reports that a ton of pine sawtimber in Alabama brought $22.70 on the stump (3Q20); a ton of power poles brought $47.54.

(10/27/20) The Wood Yard "is a friendly hardwood and specialty lumber store that caters to the furniture and cabinet builder, the home hobbyist and craftsman." Most of us aren't interested in starting a business like The Wood Yard, but many landowners have hard-to-find or even rare species of trees on their land that might be in demand by craftsmen. The Wood Yard has a newsletter that you might find interesting.

(10/26/20) "The rare Chilean soapbark tree produces compounds that can boost the body's reaction to vaccines." Read about the COVID-19 connection in this fascinating story in The Atlantic, October 21, 2020.

(10/23/20) "National Forest Products Week reminds Americans that well-managed forests supply the wood and fiber essential to the production of everyday goods," said Scott Jones, CEO of Forest Landowners. "Demand for these products, and the timber that is used to create them, make it possible for private forest owners to be economically viable, which in turn provides them with the resources to maintain healthy and productive forests." Read the President's Proclamation on National Forest Products Week, 2020.

(10/22/20) "Plant Seedlings Early," says Southern Forest Nursery Management Cooperative. "Seedlings should be planted early enough to allow for root growth to start before bud break while seedlings are still dormant."

(10/21/20) Questions: Should we hold cash? buy land? buy gold? buy bitcoin? buy stocks? buy bonds?
o     How Long Can the Fed Keep This Time Bomb from Exploding?, Mises Institute, 10/21/20
o     Global Impact of a "Blue Wave" Election Outcome, Charles Schwab, 10/12/20

(10/20/20) "Dutch to phase out subsidies for wood fired power stations." "Imports [of wood pellets] are expected to reach 2.5 million metric tons this year, with the U.S. supplying up to 500,000 metric tons of that volume."

(10/19/20) Wood Duck Mates Determine Migration Routes, or in terms most of us would understand, "Boy meets girl; girl flies home; boy follows."

(10/16/20) "The prettiest mushrooms are often the tiniest... so get low." Read more in 10 Tips for Photographing Little Mushrooms in the Forest by Albert Dros, PetaPixel, 10/13/20.

(10/15/20) The Alabama Policy Institute shares their perspective (in plain English) on the statewide amendments to the Alabama Constitution that will be on everyone's ballot on November 3rd. Also, click here for local sample ballots and a list of the counties where voters will make property tax decisions -- up or down, etc. Here is a perspective on the amendments from AL.com and another from Alabama Farmers Federation. Here is an anonymous perspective on the first four amendments (posted November 2).

(10/14/20) Mouse Utopia Experiment might shed some light on how families can help children develop an interest in and take on the responsibilities of family land management.

(10/13/20) Migrant Workers and Tree Planting: Based on information gathered from employers of H-2B forestry workers, a video was created by Forest Resources Association and Rayonier "to inform and educate elected officials and decision-makers about the critical role of the H-2B visa program in renewing our nation's forest lands..." About 6 minutes.

(10/12/20) "The US Southeast region is the largest supplier of wood in the world," reports the Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association in a 10/12/20 Forest2Market blog post. Read more: Is Southern Yellow Pine Good for the economy?

(10/09/20) In deciding to not designate critical habitat for the "threatened" eastern black rail, did the US Fish & Wildlife Service defer to the concerns of private landowners? If yes, we commend them for their decision. See highlighted words in the FWS press release, dated 10/7/20.

(10/08/20) "An escape from chaos." That is what a Georgia consulting forester and real estate agent attributes the growth in his forestland sales in 2020 as compared to 2019. Read more in the Matre Forestry Newsletter, 10/8/20.

(10/07/20) "Many ecologists believe dead wood is one of the greatest resources for animal species in the forest." Read more from Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association's When Dead Wood is Good Wood.

(10/06/20) "The right to private property can only be considered a secondary natural right," concluded Pope Francis in his Sunday criticism of free-market capitalism. Read the Foundation for Economic Education's response.

(10/05/20) "As of September, U. S. sales of paper tissue, including paper towels, were still 10% to 15% higher than before the pandemic..." Read more in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/29/20.

(10/02/20) "Ironically, having a cemetery on our property breathes new life into it." Forester Jennifer Gagnon opens the latest issue of Virginia Forest Landowner e-Update, Fall 2020, with a story about her personal forestland and the people with whom she shares it. Enjoy.

(10/01/20) Raymond James upgraded their rating of PotlatchDeltic Corporation (PCH-NASDAQ) ($42.10) today to Strong Buy (from Outperform) with a revised $51 target. RJ's headline included: "Cash Lumber Prices Still Near Record High."

(09/30/20) Georgia Public Broadcasting Education and the Georgia Forestry Foundation (GFF) have joined forces to launch MAKE THAT PAPER: CAREERS IN FORESTRY, a scenario-based educational game that teaches high school students about working forests and real-world forestry jobs by simulating workplace scenarios and testing forestry industry knowledge.

(09/29/20) Property tax votes or other fees will be on the ballots for the following Alabama counties: Crenshaw, Elmore, Fayette, Geneva, Greene, Macon, Mobile, Montgomery, St. Clair, Sumter, Washington, and Marshall (Volunteer Fire District 15). Property tax votes typically impose a tax for more than 25 years. All voters will be faced with 6 statewide amendments, and many county ballots contain local amendments. Click here to find your county's sample ballot on the Secretary of State's website.

(09/28/20) You've heard of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite, but do you know anything about the NCREIF Timberland Index? Learn more from economist Jack Lutz in The Tao of Timberland -- another Update, Forest Research Notes, Vol. 17, No. 3.

(09/25/20) "Radical transformation of American medicine" discussed by healthcare policy expert John Goodman (Goodman starts discussion with good question at about 10 minutes into the video). We think some of the discussion on telemedicine and new "user friendly" technology will be of interest to many forest owners.

(09/24/20) Improving stumpage prices ahead? Read F&W Market Update, 9/22/20.

(09/23/20) "Hurricane Laura caused $525.4 million in damage to Louisiana farmers and $1.1 billion to the Louisiana timber industry, according to preliminary estimates by the LSU AgCenter."

(09/22/20) Report from Summerdale, Alabama Christmas tree growers to Mike Buchart, Executive Secretary, Southern Christmas Tree Association (SCTA): "Hi, Michael. Want a hurricane from Hell? If you can, please forward this note to as many SCTA members as you can. Sandra and I are fine but exhausted. Still no power, water, etc., but it is coming soon, we hope. Our house is fine. The farm suffered serious damage with all 20,000 trees blown over or down. We are gradually rescuing them and are learning a lot to share with everyone. Will have plenty of pictures and stories. This sure is a challenge, but might make us tougher. Sure makes us appreciate the modern comforts. Blessings to everyone and stay safe. Steve & Sandra Mannhard."

(09/21/20) "Oregon is the only state to have a private wildfire insurance policy and has been with Lloyd's of London since 1973. The $3.75 million premium is split between the state and private timberland owners. Landowners pay their share through a property tax formula." Learn more.

(09/18/20) "Since 1978, I have kept continual 8”x 11”, hardbound, blank-paged nature journals. Now numbering 54, when I finish one, I go buy another one. Why have I kept these going for so many years? Since the beginning, they have become my basic way of learning about the nature around me, recording it, making sense of it in relation to my own life. In fact, over the many years these piles of journals at my feet have become my best friends, as I often refer back to them, trying to see how my life and the life of nature has changed or not." Claire Walker Leslie, author of A Year in Nature: A Memoir of Solace.

(09/17/20) "The 'Paper Makers' film tells the story of the modern day paper industry through the eyes of the workers who cultivate sustainable forests, apply technologies that nurture and protect them for years to come, and help create nature-based sustainable products — all in one of America’s oldest natural industries." Source: AFA Newsroom, 9/16/20.

(09/16/20) Alabama forest owner Jeff Sessions, former U. S. Senator and former U. S. Attorney General, is returning home from Washington to control privet and kudzu and promote American values. Sessions spoke to a large audience at the Alabama Forestry Association's Annual Meeting in Orange Beach on September 14, 2020.

(09/15/20) Farming/Agriculture is looked upon more favorably this year than last year, according to a Gallup Poll as reported by PowerLine Blog on 9/11/20 (scroll down). We're not sure if Forests and Forest Landowners fit into the Farming/Agriculture category, but it would be nice, in this case, if we did.

(09/14/20) "$5 million power pole factory coming to Tallapoosa County." Source: AL.com, 9/14/20. TimberMart-South reported Alabama statewide average pine sawtimber stumpage at $23.28 per ton and pine power poles at $44.46 per ton in their second quarter report for 2020.

(09/11/20) Whether hurricane frequency has increased on not, favoring windfirm tree species should be of interest to forest owners, especially in south Alabama.
o
     Climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer: Even with Laura, Louisiana Hurricanes Have Not Increased Since 1851
o     Hurricane Laura Causes Extensive Damage to Timber Industry
o     Hurricane Katrina Winds Damaged Longleaf Pine Less than Loblolly Pine
o     Longleaf pine stood firm to Hurricane Katrina’s winds

(09/10/20) The defense of property rights by our friends and neighbors and law enforcement officials is critical to those of us who plant little trees. So it may be unsettling to learn that National Public Radio (NPR) discussed looting with author Vicky Osterweil, In Defense of Looting, and didn't seem to raise an eyebrow when she made outlandish statements, such as: "[Looting is] taking those things that would otherwise be commodified and controlled and sharing them for free," she continues. "[Looting] demonstrate[s] that without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free." Please read the Foundation for Economic Education's Debunking NPR's Bizarre 'In Defense of Looting' Interview by Brad Polumbo, 8/31/20. See Copyright page from Osterweil's book.

(09/09/20) It's bird migration time again. Check out The Cornell Lab's Bird Migration Forecast Maps including a local migration alert tool to find out how many birds will be passing over your area tonight.

(09/08/20) Which beetle is killing my trees? Learn more from a video put together by the South Carolina Forestry Commission: Southern Beetles: Identification, Management and Risk Assessment. About 9 minutes.

(09/04/20) North American flying squirrels glow bright pink in response to ultraviolet light. For an educated guess as to why, read Amphibians Aglow by Brett Amy Thelen at Northern Woodlands, 8/24/20. UV flashlight, $12.99

(09/03/20) Remember back on May 21 when we told you about the HuntStand Pro App and it's property mapping and other features? Today we learned about 5 new very short tutorials that you can watch and listen to to get more out of the App. Topics: Getting Started, Adding & Deleting Map Objects (property lines, etc.), Syncing Hunt Areas, Offline Mapping, and Weather Forecasting.

(09/02/20) Have you considered moving closer to your children when you retire? You may want to study the Tax Foundation's Estate/Inheritance Tax Map before making the move. More than a dozen other states impose taxes on estates or inheritances of up to 18 percent.

(09/01/20) "Accumulation of capital under strong property rights gave us what we have today, and without it, we would still be living in the past realities of famine, sickness, and living at all times only a few degrees from death." Source: The Forgotten Horrors of Famine Show Why Americans Should Not Take Prosperity for Granted by J. W. Rich, Foundation for Economic Education, 9/1/20.

(08/31/20) $10 million made available today by Governor Ivey for forest landowners who sold timber during the months of March through July. According to an article in AL.com, the payment rate will be $1 per ton of timber sold. Read the Governor's press release here (the press release contains contact information to help you make your application). More details from Forest Landowners Association, 9/2/20.

(08/28/20) "Zippered wood (check out the photos in Architect magazine, 7/12/20) twists standard 2x4 to craft new forms."

(08/27/20) Electric Trail Boarding -- Maybe you've heard of Electric Mountain Boards, but we hadn't - until today. They are being featured at GoFar USA Park, up near Decatur, Alabama. The park also features Electric Trail Carts, a Paintball Shooting Range, Farm Animals, Pony Rides, Mountain Bike Trails, and Electric Scooters. Emily Fagerman, co-owner of GoFar USA Park, talks about the park on The Land Show, Episode 253 (23:28 to 38:08).

(08/26/20) Alabama forest owners who have a good understanding of the need for fire in the forest will appreciate this article on Forbes.com, 8/24/20: Stop Blaming Climate Change For California’s Fires. Many Forests, Including The Redwoods, Need Them.

(08/25/20) Let's say you own forestland here in Alabama, but for some reason you live in another state and will retire soon. If you have given any thought to coming back home, the Tax Foundation's purchasing power map comparing Alabama to other states might help you make a decision. Source, What is the Real Value of $100 in Metropolitan Areas?, 8/12/20.

(08/24/20) Have you ever been so eager to achieve something that you bit off more than you could chew? If you have, we think you will enjoy Declan McCabe's story of The Kingfisher and the Mussel, from Northern Woodlands, 8/17/20.

(08/21/20) Researchers reported "the likelihood of hitting a deer decreased from 35% (truck with headlights only) to 10% (truck with headlights and rear-facing light bar)." Source: Reverse-facing Lightbar Helps Reduce Deer Vehicle Accidents, Kip Adams, QDMA, 8/18/20.

(08/20/20) Read this Alabama Conservation Department 8/14/20 Press Release and then with a straight face tell us why a person who was not raised in a family of hunters would ever consider becoming a hunter. There are so many other outdoor activities that are not wrapped in red tape — red tape that, if not followed, can result in fines or more serious punishments.

(08/19/20) Hindsight is 20/20. Today we share a few "after the wildfire" stanzas from Foresters, a poem by Walter Stephens. Stephens is a member of the Georgia Forestry Association. Source: Georgia Forestry, Summer 2020.

Next day when walking on your land
Which once grew tall and graceful trees
The only things your eyes see now
Are snags which smolder in the breeze.

If only you had burned that ground
When moisture heat and wind were right,
You'd not now see this sterile scene
Of smoking spires against the light.

A burn controlled is man's attempt
To mimic nature's plan,
Except to choose the day that's right
To gently heat the land.

(08/18/20) "...we at the [Cullman County] sheriff's office are proponents of not only having a weapon for self-defense but also being proficient in how to use it," said Sheriff Matt Gentry in an 8/17/20 AL.com article headlined "1 of 4 burglars shot by Cullman County homeowner, sheriff says." Editor's Note: Forest owners are fortunate that nearly all of us have a safe place to learn to use a shotgun, rifle, or handgun. The next time you head to the woods, plan to teach someone how to safely load, fire, and reload. Not a bad thing to be "proficient" at. 

(08/17/20) "Move Over Gold. Wood is the Shelter of Choice in the Pandemic." Source: Bloomberg, July 24, 2020.

(08/14/20) CRYSTAL BALL GAZING: "The average pine growth-to-drain for the South in 2019 is 1.26, indicating a general oversupply of timber. Fast-forward six years to 2025 and the timber supply profile balances with a growth-to-drain of 0.95. During this time, 17 sawmills and pellet mills expand or come online in the region." Source: Amanda Lang, Forisk Consulting, at a meeting of the Cahaba Chapter of the Society of American Foresters, 8/11/20.

(08/13/20) Lumber "prices have been sent soaring by saw mills that failed to anticipate the coronavirus pandemic setting off a building boom. ... Restaurants and bars in cities across the country have scrambled to build outdoor seating areas in efforts to stay in business. And some Americans, stuck at home for months, have taken on remodeling projects and have been building decks." Source: The Wall Street Journal, 8/6/20. Of course, as forest owners know, those high lumber prices have not translated into high stumpage prices, because of the huge stumpage oversupply.

(08/12/20) "Today the Department of State issued a National Interest Exemption for H-2B applicants to facilitate the United States' immediate and continued economic recovery. Those working in forestry are considered essential workers and have been given an exemption from the June 22nd proclamation banning additional visas to H-2B workers. This decision means tree planters will have a path forward to get the labor needed to plant seedlings this fall for landowners." Source: ArborGen, 8/12/20 at 3:43 PM.

(08/11/20) "Become a Poll Worker!" beseeches Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill. "Serving as a poll worker is an amazing opportunity to learn more about the election process while contributing to your community."

(08/10/20) The "paper market, like everything else, has been rocked by the coronavirus." Verso Corporation, when announcing the closure of its Wisconsin Rapids coated printing paper mill, said "demand for printing paper fell 38 percent year-over-year in April." Closer to home, Domtar Corporation reported that it would close its Kingsport, Tennessee uncoated freesheet papermill and will spend $300 to $350 million to repurpose the mill to produce linerboard. "Linerboard is the facing material used in the production of corrugated and solid fiber shipping containers."

(08/07/20) "Most grade hardwood is moving again. ..hardwood sawmills ..." are "... paying good prices for most forms of hardwood sawtimber." Read Forest Management Specialists' Timber Market Update - Mid-South Region.

(08/06/20) If you like puzzles, please consider letting the US Fish & Wildlife Service know what you think of their proposed definition of habitat. We think they are concerned that it may not be proper to declare a location as critical habitat for a critter when none live there and the location is inhospitable for the critter. Although this is an important issue, AFOA does not have any answers here. We'd appreciate receiving your thoughts on the issue - if you decide to make an official comment. Comments are due by September 4. Read previous news entries here (11/29/18), here (01/24/18), here (08/25/16), and here (07/20/16).

(08/05/20) Chestnut Chat: Research Forester Stacy Clark will share results of an American Chestnut Tree re-introduction project that is taking place in forests of the southern Appalachians. The session will be conducted on ZOOM beginning at 10:30 AM Central Time on Friday, August 7 -- Details Here.

(08/04/20) What part of "vacant forestland cannot be billed for fire dues" do these folks not understand? Today (it's not too late to vote as we write this) Theodore/Dawes in Mobile County is trying to create its own fire district. One of our members told us they plan to collect $125 per tax parcel, but check this article from WKRG5 dated 8/4/20 for details.

(08/03/20) Georgia consulting forester Mike Matre gives a 3-minute perspective on growing and marketing pole timber (very straight pine trees valued per ton at nearly twice that of pine sawtimber in the latest TimberMart-South price report).

(07/31/20) Could the "work from home" phenomenon reduce property values (and property taxes) of large commercial buildings? Could the loss of property tax revenue from those buildings put pressure on lawmakers to raise property taxes on other properties such as homes and rural property? Scroll down in The Future of Everything to the last bulleted item in Future Feedback.

(07/30/20) $65,000 per drop plus $22,000 per hour! That's what those huge tanker planes (VLATs) which drop fire retardant on West Coast forest fires cost. Just think how many rangers, who could be working year round creating fire breaks and doing prescribed burns to prevent big wildfires, are displaced by those big machines.

(07/29/20) F&W Forestry Services' 7/28/20 Market Update includes a surprising statement from their southwest Alabama reporter: "Sawmills have actually been calling and asking us to put out a sale or are asking for an opportunity to negotiate."

(07/28/20) Spraying woodland herbicides with a drone may be just around the corner if a little company in Iowa continues to make progress on its ag spraying machines. Rantizo "became the first company [in the US] to begin commercial drone spraying," and was licensed in 10 states last fall, including Georgia. Common herbicides used to prepare planting sites for hardwoods and pines.

(07/27/20) The United States of America ranked among the top ten countries for average annual net gains in forest area in a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Read the full report, Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020, here.

(07/24/20) Consulting foresters Michael Heatherly and Jack Fillingham led an AFOA Forestry Field Day on Wednesday and we thought you would like to see their handout materials. On the third page they have pictured some "increment cores." Click here to learn more about using an increment borer to determine a tree's age or rate-of-growth. Video - about 4 minutes. Hint: Never leave your increment borer in a tree longer than needed to extract a core. They will sometimes get stuck and can be very difficult to remove.

(07/23/20) Lessons from my grandma - or - A quick-start guide to woodland management for women landowners (and smart men, too!) is the title of an Auburn ForestHer Lunch and Learn hosted on Zoom and recorded last Tuesday. About an hour.

(07/22/20) Trespass to steal ginseng roots may not be a big deal for most forest owners in Alabama, but it might be for some, and definitely is for forest owners in West Virginia. Source: Poaching ginseng is not a victimless crime, The Montgomery Herald, 6/26/20.

(07/21/20) "The state owned enough land in the county," (press F9 key to read) stated a county commissioner. "No more land should be taken off the tax rolls," said another. AFOA was glad to read what the commissioners said about converting more private land to public ownership, even if the message had to come from Wadena County, Minnesota.

(07/20/20) You may have missed Consulting Forester Larry Gibson's Forestry Field Day last week, but we wanted you to see the field notes Larry used with his presentation. In his Stand A example, ninety-six tons per acre of wood were harvested in the first two thinnings by age 22, and the final harvest is less than 10 years away. See also Larry's herbicide recommendations for killing kudzu, wisteria, and cogongrass.  Plan now to not miss Consulting Forester Jack Fillingham's Forestry Field Day, this Wednesday, July 22 in Tallapoosa County.

(07/17/20) Pond Management Basics is a one hour and twelve minute class taught by Extension Agent Bence Carter and recorded on July 9, 2020.

(07/16/20) Our second Dinner & Discussion (via Zoom) has been posted to the web. Just like our face-to-face meetings at local Birmingham area restaurants, we listened to the latest issue of Capital Ideas - Live! (David West from Forest Resources Association answered questions about the ban on migrant tree planters), we sampled a few topics from our News webpage, we shared where our forestland is located, and then had a brief open discussion. Our next face-to-face Dinner & Discussion is scheduled for August 13 at 6 PM at The Fish Market Restaurant on US 280 in Hoover.

(07/15/20) Forest2Market CEO Pete Stewart Talks Lumber, Forest Health on NPR’s Marketplace, reports headline on F2M July 14 blog. NPR conducted "fair and fact-based discussion about lumber industry," says F2M. Listen to 2 minute interview here.

(07/14/20) Heaven help us when "conservatives" begin pandering to the environmental community. That was the first thought we had when we read that Ivanka Trump would be highlighting administration environmental policies at the American Forestry Conference (Georgia Forestry Association's name for their virtual annual meeting) on July 27. Read the Newsweek article here (7/3/20) and tell us why we shouldn't be worried (cached copy). See Consulting Forester Marshall Thomas's comments about the Trillion Trees Act, below.

(07/13/20) Eminent Domain. Taking Private Property for Public Use. When should the power of eminent domain be allowed? not allowed? A Pennsylvania landowner questions the right to use the power when it's used only for the benefit of the pipeline company. Who decides?

(07/10/20) Sequestering greenhouse gas our only hope? Read the discouraging latest issue of F&W Forestry Report, Summer 2020.

(07/09/20) "Obviously." "Naturally." To regenerate an upland hardwood stand: "Obviously, enough desirable trees have to be present in the current stand [before logging] for the process to succeed, but when it is properly conducted, a young stand dominated by desirable species such as oaks will naturally regenerate with good results." If "obviously" and "naturally" don't immediately pop into your head when considering regenerating an upland hardwood stand, you might benefit from reading Upland Hardwoods: Natural Regeneration, a Mississippi State University publication.

(07/08/20) Market Headlines:
o     Japanese wood chip, wood pellet demand expected to grow, June 10, 2020
o     Netherlands to double wood pellet imports in 2020, June 29, 2020

(07/07/20) A video discussion of tree planting tools produced by and starring Dr. Brady Self, Mississippi State Extension Service, will be useful to forest owners who are planning to plant trees themselves or hire a tree planting crew next winter. 17 minutes. Send questions to Brady at brady.self@msstate.edu.

(07/06/20) Maintaining good water quality following a timber sale requires a coordinated effort between the landowner, the logger, and the landowner's consulting forester. Dr. John Auel, Mississippi State Extension Service, offers good (and bad) examples and good advice on how to implement Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) to prevent erosion and improve water quality on your land. 24 minutes.

(07/02/20) Have fun celebrating the Fourth, but if you're planning on working with your tractor this weekend, read Phil Bancroft's The Day Food Plots Almost Killed Me before heading to the woods! Editor's note: The following observation was in the last paragraph of Phil's story: "Phil’s hunting land is covered by QDMA’s Hunting Land Liability Insurance. His medical bills from his accident totaled over $200,000, including a $46,800 helicopter ride. His QDMA insurance policy helped defray the out-of-pocket medical costs not covered by his health insurance." AFOA's Hunting Lease Liability Insurance is similar to QDMA's and is purchased from the same insurance agency, Outdoor Underwriters, Inc.

(07/01/20) CANCELLED   The Southern Christmas Tree Association will hold their 2020 Annual Conference in Alabama on August 7 - 9. They'll be headquartered at The Lodge at Gulf State Park. Read their latest newsletter here.

(06/30/20) "Add it all up, and as the country mouse of old learned, the giddiness and opulence of the city are increasingly not worth the danger, noise, and mess of the city, at least after February 2020," says Victor Davis Hanson, American classicist, military historian, columnist, and farmer. He closes an interesting essay entitled, The Triumph of the Country Mouse with, "Wherever we live, in our dreams at least, we are all country mice now."

(06/29/20) "There's always some excitement in the air going with fire." The LSU AgCenter posted a video about the prescribed burn workshop they held on June 2-4, 2020. Their next prescribed burn workshop will be held October 7-9 in Hammond, Louisiana. Contact Extension Forester Whitney Wallace, for more information: wwallace@agcenter.lsu.edu.

(06/26/20) Carbon Credit Market Bill in Congress: A needed government assist for forest landowners, or a vote buying scheme?

(06/25/20) Tree planting crews will be hard hit by President Trump's ban on H-2B visa forestry workers. Read the Forest Resources Association's statement on the issue.

(06/23/20) OPEN ENROLLMENT FOR ONLINE COURSE: Forest Principles, Practices, and Stewardship for Landowners is the title of a 6-week course organized by Dr. Adam Maggard, Alabama Cooperative Extension. Read the course description with registration information here (updated 7/17/20).

(06/22/20) Maine Project Learning Tree facilitator, Anita Smith, shows how to be a Tree Detective using the rings and markings on stumps and logs to figure out what the lives of trees might have been like. She demonstrates a simple art project we can do to show the patterns of growth in our own lives, and we leave with a challenge to go outside and explore the stumps and logs in our own backyard! YouTube video about 11 minutes.

(06/19/20) Some of you may remember when the Kimberly-Clark paper mill in Childersburg, Alabama (Talladega County) produced newsprint for the Birmingham News and Post Herald. The mill is now owned by Canada's Resolute Forest Products and produces market pulp, not newsprint. (Resolute recently shut down 40 percent of its newsprint capacity (2 mills in Quebec).) The Childersburg pulp mill spends $51.2 million acquiring and hauling wood to the mill and spends a total of $169.4 million operating the mill annually.  

(06/18/20) May we ask how much land governments in the U.S. need to own? May we ask if anyone in Congress has any concept of the huge amount of land already owned by federal, state and local governments? May we ask if anyone in Congress recognizes that the productivity of our country is reduced when government acquires productive private land? The U.S. Senate is poised this week to spend, "forever," nearly one billion dollars a year on the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Please read The "Great American Outdoors Act" is a federal land grab slush fund.

(06/17/20) "Markets are hard to put a finger on at the moment," reports the F & W Market Update of 6/16/20.

(06/16/20) Back Porch Forestry creator Dr. David Mercker has produced a fifth program, this one titled, "Tax Treatment for Timber Casualty Loss." Bookmark this one, because when your trees are damaged in the next tornado, ice storm, hurricane, or wildfire, you'll want to watch it again. Click here for earlier Back Porch Forestry programs.

(06/15/20) "This year, Alabama is predicted to have a low number of Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) infestations. More specifically, high risk counties are expected to have no more than 6 to 9 SPB spots. The overall prediction for the state, Alabama has a 16% chance of having any SPB spots this active season." Source: 2020 Southern Pine Beetle Spring Pheromone Survey Results and Southern Pine Beetle Outbreak Prediction Maps: Alabama 2020, Alabama Forestry Commission, 6/12/20.

(06/12/20) "Produced mostly in the U.S.," supplies of lumber for Japanese furniture makers and whiskey distillers are tight, reports the Nikkei Asian Review, 6/6/20.

(06/11/20) Forty-two percent of respondents to a LandThink Pulse question "believe that demand for land will DECREASE for the remainder of 2020."

(06/10/20) We invite you to take a walk with Tree Farmer Angela Wells on her Montana land. She shares several good ideas on keeping track of things to do on your land. We hope you will enjoy the short walk with Angela.

(06/09/20) Fascinating! We found the speaker's notes and map from last week's Forestry Field Day (see 06/04/20, below) very interesting and think you will, too. The discussion and tour included viewing various ages of mixed plantings of oaks and pines.

(06/08/20) Is there a light at the end of the tunnel, and does the forest supply chain have a reason to be hopeful? Forest2Market President & CEO Pete Stewart speculates about the future in an interview with The Forestry Source, June 2020.

(06/05/20) "Forest School enjoys its moment in the woods." "Founded in the tradition of forest schools that dates to 1950s-era Scandinavia, the school teaches things such as the six ways to get a fire started, the difference between frogs and toads, and how to weigh the risks involved in swinging on a vine."

(06/04/20) Consulting Forester Bruce Lanier met about 2 dozen forest landowners in the Pickens County woods today to discuss Ways to Weather Current Pine Pulpwood Market Conditions, Managing Mixed Pine & Hardwood Stands, and Rethinking Planting Density. Bruce covered the topics well, but questions from the audience kept him on the job an hour beyond the planned adjournment time. His contact information is at www.ForesterSearch.com here.

(06/03/20) Log Truck Drivers are in demand. "Log truck drivers operate heavy trucks to transport logs and other wood products over the road. They can work directly for forest products companies, or they may be self-employed." Pass this message along to children or grandchildren who might be interested.

(06/02/20) Alligator hunters began registering today to win one of 260 tags available in Alabama this year. The world record was taken by Mandy Stokes of Camden in 2014: 15 feet 9 inches and 1,011.5 pounds.

(06/01/20) Why do a timber inventory? ... and a brief discussion about the basics of deciding which trees to measure. This 11 minute video discussion from NC State may help you better understand what your forester measures when cruising your timber.

(05/29/20) Why I Decided to Hunt My Own Food, by Kim Martin, gives us an idea about what goes through the minds of young people today. An interesting read.

(05/28/20) The film that shined too bright a light on green energy schemes, Planet of the Humans, has been removed from the web by YouTube. Source: The Guardian, 5/25/20. See 5/1/20, below. Watch on Vimeo, 6/4/20.

(05/27/20) Low property taxes are the reason many of us have invested in and/or continue to stay invested in forestland in Alabama. Alabama's reliance on property taxes to pay for government services is the lowest in the country, reports the Tax Foundation today. Even then, some studies have shown that the taxes paid for the services received on rural undeveloped land are excessive.

(05/26/20) "The Dove Daddy," Rick Bourne, gives tips on what you can do right now to produce a quality dove field for the fall on Episode 240 of The Land Show. Bourne's interview begins at 51:09.

(05/22/20) Managing for Top Quality White Oak, Fundamentals of Tree Identification, Why Do Trees Die?, and Clues in Determining a Quality Hardwood Stand are the first four of the "Back Porch Forestry" series created by Dr. David Mercker, University of Tennessee Extension Forester. Dr. Mercker presented Managing for Quality White Oaks at AFOA's 2018 Annual Meeting at Joe Wheeler State Park.

(05/21/20) HuntStand Pro, an excellent hunting and land management app for your iPhone or Android phone, is available at a 20% discount to AFOA members and the hunters who hunt on their land. Use the app to find out who owns a tract of land, mark game camera locations, share with your hunters to keep track of their locations on your property, measure distances, map your property, and more. The property ownership service is worth the price of the app: coverage of the whole US for a year for only $19.99 after the discount. The discount code is AFOA20. It is case sensitive.

(05/20/20) Black Walnut trees for valuable lumber and veneer, and for the nuts, too, is a big deal in the Midwest. The May bulletin of the Walnut Council is available on line. Past issues can be accessed here. Enjoy.

(05/19/20) Satellites Show a Decline in [Prescribed] Fire in the U.S. Southeast. Spring 2020 (January 1 through May 9) "had the fewest active fire detections of any spring in the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) record (which began in 2012)." "According to one recent estimate, about 70 percent of all prescribed fires in the United States occur in the Southeast." Editor's note: Sounds like a lot of fuel left in the woods to burn by accident later this fall.

(05/18/20) Markets Work and a host of other forestland oriented white papers are available from Forest Resource Consultants. If you are looking for a consulting forester in Alabama to help you make a timber sale, plant trees, paint boundary lines, kill cogongrass, or estimate timber volumes, find one at www.ForesterSearch.com.

(05/15/20) Alabama Timber Market Outlook was the featured topic of discussion last evening when the Alabama Forest Owners' Association hosted its Dinner & Discussion online. We wish to thank Dr. Adam Maggard, Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor, Auburn University for bringing this interesting and up-to-date perspective on the markets that pay the bills for forest owners.

(05/14/20) "Poor Savings Habits Have Left Americans Vulnerable to Economic Crises," shouts the title of a recent Foundation for Economic Education essay. AFOA suspects and hopes that most forest owners are savers and investors, but we also suspect that many AFOA members worry about the savings habits of their children and/or grandchildren. Potential savers might benefit from reading The Richest Man in Babylon.

(05/13/20) Two bills in Montgomery (HB369 -- you may need to click this link twice -- and SB263) sound like bail outs for the deer-farm industry in case a herd becomes infected with chronic wasting disease. Read the bills and let AFOA know what you think.

(05/12/20) "With school and university systems across the country now employing 'distance learning' for the foreseeable future, tens of millions of K-12 and college students are doing their work online. All of this adds up to a situation where printing and writing papers are simply not needed to accomplish tasks and take tests." Read more from John Greene's May 11, 2020 Forest2Market Blog, Structural Changes to Declining Pulp & Paper Segments Will Accelerate Under Pandemic.

(05/11/20) County Tax Maps are available for Alabama counties. AFOA compiled a list of county tax maps for you to use. They come in handy when someone wants to know where your land is located - like visiting friends, prospective timber buyers, or hunters who are interested in leasing hunting rights on your land. A few of the links may not be the best available URL, so please send additions or corrections to RLL@AFOA.org. Greene County updated 8/19/20.

(05/08/20) Wildfire Headlines from Florida as reported by Wildfire News of the Day, 5/8/20
o    Santa Rosa County: Florida Forest Service discusses new policies to fight wildfires in time of coronavirus
o    Walton County: 33 homes destroyed as result of South Walton wildfire ignited by illegal burn
o    Walton County: Firefighters battle 85-acre wildfire in Lake Wales near S.R. 60
o    Lake Wales: Firefighters battle 110 acre blaze in Washington County
o    Pace: Florida Forest Service says Pace wildfire is contained after burning 70 acres
o    Woodville: Officials warn of increased risk of fires in coming days

(05/07/20) Coloring Sheets and Virtual Field Trip Videos are available at John Deere for Kids.

(05/06/20) Forestry Newsletters from Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Mississippi State are now available.

(05/05/20) More details now available for the Montgomery County Proposed Property Tax Increase. WSFA12 reported that the bill to allow a tax vote, introduced Monday, 5/4/20, by Democrat Rep. Kirk Hatcher, might be blocked by Republican Rep. Reed Ingram. The WSFA story says the bill would raise property taxes for schools from 10 mills to 18.5 mills, while an earlier report by the Montgomery Advertiser said the proposed tax would raise the millage rate from 10 to 22. Editor's Note: We wonder if Ingram's threat to block the bill unless the referendum date is moved to next February or later is little more than virtue signaling to his base, since the referendum might more easily pass if the election is held on an obscure date next winter. Just a thought.

(05/04/20) Fire Lines is the newsletter of professional and part-time prescribed burners. The March-April 2020 issue contains sections entitled New Technology and Tools, New Fire Science Publications for the South, and Upcoming Events (included are a half dozen on-line webinars).

(05/01/20) So,... even if you nodded your head in agreement with Elon Musk's "forcible imprisonment" comments during a Tesla, Inc. first quarter earnings call, you may still be questioning the rationale behind government subsidies of Musk's electric cars, wind & solar energy, and wood-fired power plants. Questioning that rationale is exactly what the documentary Planet of the Humans does, available, at least today, on YouTube. 6/4/20: Watch on Vimeo.

(04/30/20) "While there has been a lot of ‘hand wringing’ about this asset when the stock market set records last year, we now see, from a risk standpoint, timberland serves well to preserve wealth and still generate cash, especially through tough economic environments." Source: Forisk Consulting LLC Press Release, 4/29/20.

(04/29/20) Alabama Forestry Association's Chris Isaacson discusses the virus panic impact on the forest industry in Alabama on Episode 236 of The Land Show (from 23:14 to 38:06). "It's the uncertainty."

(04/28/20) So, Alabama Forest Owners. You think you have problems? Be glad you only have an oversupply of timber and the virus panic to put up with!
Wildfires being fought in two spots of Chornobyl NPP exclusion zone
The stubborn Ukrainian tradition behind forest fires in Chornobyl
Case Study: Chernobyl wildfire extinguished with help of drones
"Absolute Apocalypse": Ukrainian film director uploads drone footage of Chornobyl wildfire aftermath (Video)
Radioactive Cesium measured up north could origin from Chernobyl forest fires
Wildfires Burning In Ukraine's Western Zhytomyr Region
National Guard conducts anti-sabotage operation due to forest fires
                            Source: Wildfire News of the Day.

(04/27/20) The Big Thinning, number one in The Little Foresters Adventures with Larry the Logger, has just been published, and forester/author Dana Bloome hopes your children will enjoy it. AFOA’s children’s books reviewer, Brinley Laechelt, reported, “It tells some pretty interesting facts. I like how people make stuff out of wood and how they stay strong. And the safety message, I like that. They’ve got safety gear and some of it is funny.” Illustrations by Vanessa J. Thompson. $16.99 at www.ForestryInBloome.com.

(04/24/20) MODELS. Most people now probably recognize that government policies based on faulty models got us into the current economic mess. We hope the same concern for policies based on models will cause us to revisit the costly regulations we now live under in the name of preventing global warming. Please read Jane Shaw Stroup's April 22 Environmental Blog, Coronavirus Models and Climate Change Models Have Limits. Ms. Stroup spoke to us at our Annual Meeting in 1995 and she was the first guest on the first issue of Capital Ideas - Live, July 2000.

(04/23/20) "I am not advising anyone to get into timberland right now because I think the last 10 years’ experience is much more relevant than the last 30 years. Nothing in the fundamentals looks bright until timberland prices drop steeply," commented Samuel J. Radcliffe on Forisk Blog, Timberland in Turbulent Times, 4/13/20.

(04/22/20) Timber Market Update from Northwest Alabama. There is a lot of valuable information in the 4/22/20 report we received from Forest Management Specialists. You may want to share the report with your consulting forester and recognize that various product markets will not be the same everywhere in the state. If you do not have a consulting forester, please take the time to find one at www.ForesterSearch.com.

(04/21/20) Two students in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University recently received awards from the Alabama Forest Owners' Association (AFOA). AFOA gives the awards ($1,500 and $1,000) each year to two students who have shown an interest in the consulting forestry profession. Our long-term goal in giving the awards is to improve the services available to forest landowners. Please read Dean Janaki Alavalapati's letter to AFOA recognizing the association's annual support and introducing the student awardees, Andrew Loflin and Robert Sitze.

(04/20/20) Property Tax Increase Proposed by Montgomery County Commissioners. An article in the Montgomery Advertiser on February 25, 2020 reported that the county commissioners decided to ask for approval by the state legislature to conduct a referendum that could more than double the county's millage rate from 10 to 22. We don't know if the legislature approved their request yet, so, if you know anything about this proposed tax increase, please send a note to AFOA at RLL@AFOA.org. Thanks.

(04/18/20) We think you might enjoy and benefit from listening to Forest2Market's worldwide wood market information exchange. Unfortunately, the short take for forest owners in the South: We are growing more pine trees than are needed and the virus panic has made the supply problem even worse.

(04/17/20) For more than you probably want to know about the global production of toilet paper, please read Bruce Janda's Fisher International article, Coronavirus to Alter Global Toilet Paper & Tissue Production. Two things stood out: 1) The machines that produce toilet and other tissue papers are not very flexible; and 2) China produces a lot more of these products than the U.S. or any other country.

(04/16/20) In case your trees were damaged in the recent spate of storms, two on-line publications from MSU might be helpful. They are: Frequently Asked Questions about Timber Casualty Losses and Income Tax Deduction for Timber Casualty.

(04/15/20) First, do no harm. While we have learned recently that "First, do no harm," is not actually part of the Hippocratic Oath that many medical doctors abide by, we think it would be nice if members of the U.S. Congress were to make that pledge -- in particular as it relates to the Trillion Trees Act. Marshall Thomas, President of F&W Forestry Services, stated very clearly in the F&W Forestry Report, Spring 2020, "We don't need more tree-planting subsidies." See page 1, column 2 of the Report.

(04/14/20) "Did you know you can reduce heating and cooling costs by strategically planting trees around your home?" Since everyone is at home this week, and the weather forecast calls for two or three sunny days, why not download the Project Learning Tree Family Activity: Reduce Your Utility Costs with I-Tree and step outside for a fun and potentially profitable enterprise?

(04/13/20) AGROMINING: We read about a plant that pulls nickel (the metal) out of the soil and thought it might be worth a daydream or two. While newly discovered nickel hyperaccumulator Phyllanthus rufuschaneyi is found only in Sabah (Borneo Island), other hyperaccumulators are evidently found in many parts of the world. Now don't rush out to buy yourself a potted Phyllanthus and make plans to become a nickel baron, but we thought that a story about a plant that can pull valuable nickel ($5.73/pound) from the soil might be of some abstract interest to you.

(04/10/20) The IRS announced on April 9 that tax payments due June 15 may be put off until July 15. Also, Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from IRAs and similar  accounts will be "completely exempted" for 2020. Source: Lehmann, Ullman and Barclay, LLP, 4/10/20.

(04/09/20) Spring bird migration is now in full effect in Alabama. Open Cornell Ornithology Lab's Species on the Move: mid-April webpage and then scroll down to Gulf Coast and Southeast. Click on Beginning Arrivals and Peaking Arrivals. Newspage Editor Lee is eagerly awaiting the chimney swift family which summers in his old chimneys and winters in Peru.

(04/08/20) The Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Homesteader may be just the distraction you need to get you through the coronavirus panic. Good luck!

(04/07/20) Telemedicine, Once a Hard Sell, Can't Keep Up With Demand (pdf version) is an article in the April 1 Wall Street Journal that may be of interest to you if you live in a region of the state where doctors and medical facilities are in short supply. Of course, high speed access to the internet is a must for telemedicine to work.

(04/06/20) On Line Learning Opportunities:

(04/02/20) Buying and Selling Land during the coronavirus panic and its after effects. This Great Days Outdoors podcast discussion is interesting, but keep in mind that the participants are in the real estate business.

(04/01/20) Christmas tree farmers may qualify for coronavirus stimulus aid. And, unrelated to the virus, two Mississippi State University professors offer  their help to Christmas tree growers. Get details in the latest issue of Southern Christmas Trees, March 31, 2020.

(03/31/20) "They cut some trees to pay for our tuition to college and now some of our trees have been cut to help our granddaughter attend college." Sit back and listen to Billie Smith Hopson describe her family's experience with The Oldest Tree Farm in Arkansas. (about 29 minutes)

(03/27/20) "See the tree instead of the forest," recommends an Ohio Soil & Water Conservation District in a news article that urges families and homeschool science teachers to head outdoors to look for big trees. Alabama keeps a list of big trees -- Champion Trees -- and encourages nominations to the list.

(03/26/20) Tax Deadlines Have Changed. The U. S. Treasury and the State of Alabama announced that tax returns due on April 15, 2020, have been extended until July 15, 2020. Tax payments for Federal returns that had been due April 15, 2020, are extended until July 15, 2020 without interest or penalty. Alabama has followed IRS in extending their filing and payment due dates.
     The due date extension extends the filing date for calendar year C corporations, individual and other returns as well as the time for payment of HSA, IRA and Archer MSA. A great place for answers is the Q&A page of the IRS.
     IRS has also announced its People First Initiative suspending key compliance programs.
     Alabama also includes the pass-through composite payment due date in the delay. Many states are following the lead of federal requirements. Source: Lehmann, Ullman and Barclay, LLP, 3/26/20

(03/25/20) The proposed bridge between Talladega and Shelby counties was nixed by the Shelby County Commission on March 23. Local forestry experts reported to AFOA that the privately funded bridge would have improved stumpage markets in Talladega and Coosa counties.

(03/24/20) Which Issues Are Most Important To You? This is a question posed by the National Woodland Owners Association to its members each year. AFOA would like to know how you would rank these issues as well. Click Here To Rank.

(03/23/20) If you would rather be in the woods than sitting at home checking your Facebook, why not see if you can follow Mercker and Yang's ideas on making a "quick" cruise of your timber (Quick Cruising to Estimate Board-Foot Volume of Standing Hardwood Timber). Forestry Suppliers sells 10 factor prisms; the Jim-Gem Rectangular Prism, 10 BAF ($33.10) should get you started. You may also want to use a Scale Stick, Doyle Scale ($19.95) to measure diameters and heights of trees. Heads-up: The publication focuses only on hardwoods.

(03/20/20) Two perspectives on the paper industry. Take your pick:

(03/19/20) When our Alabama weather heats up in a couple of months, you may wish you were in cool northern Vermont. Biodiversity University "offers in-depth nature study taught by the region's finest experts and educators." Their "students are weekend naturalists, working ecologists, and anyone with an insatiable drive to understand the pieces and patterns of our wild world." Course titles include: Glacial Geology of Northern Vermont, Digital Photography for Naturalists, Field Herpetology, Forest Mosses, Mushrooms - Field Identification and Fungal Ecology, and more.

(03/18/20) "Take your child’s creativity outside! Nature's Art Box by Laura C. Martin offers 65 art projects that kids can make with materials found right in their backyard. There’s no limit to the imaginative possibilities as children mix paints from colorful flower blossoms, dig clay for molding elf-sized furniture, and craft functional twig baskets."

(03/17/20) "Spring turkey season will open March 21 and close May 3, 2020, for most Alabama counties." Source: Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, 10/10/20. AFOA members may use www.HuntingLand.bz to find turkey hunters eager to lease their land.

(03/16/20) The Alabama Forest Owners’ Association (AFOA) wishes to express our concern for everyone impacted by coronavirus. Like all of you, we have carefully monitored the global health crisis related to COVID-19 coronavirus. Due to the escalation of COVID-19 in the state, after much deliberation and in alignment with the advice from the CDC and public health authorities regarding mass gatherings, we have made the decision to cancel the AFOA Annual Meeting which was due to take place on April 21-22, 2020 in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. The AFOA Annual Business Meeting will be rescheduled to a location in the Pelham area.

(03/13/20)It’s an exciting time to be in the corrugated industry. The rise of e-commerce, coupled with concerns about ocean plastics, have created greater awareness among consumers about packaging.” Read more from The Simple Success of Corrugated Containers, Greenville Business Magazine, 3/5/20.

(03/12/20) Why Plant Trees? "One could never discuss the future of forest products without mentioning world population growth and projected growth. Investors in wood-using facilities are also looking at world population growth. As a forester, it is a huge breath of fresh air to see so many forest product mill investors in our state. In the past couple of years the Southeastern United States has become the 'wood basket' for the entire world. In Alabama alone..." Read more in the Spring Newsletter of Ketchum Land & Timber, Vol. 1, #1.

(03/11/20) "Americans, who already consume (by far) the most towel and tissue products in the world, are rushing to purchase toilet paper in bulk." "...retail giants Costco, Walmart, and Target are benefiting during the COVID-19 panic." Source: Fisher International.

(03/10/20) 27,000 hunters who hunt on their own land or were otherwise exempt from needing an Alabama hunting license were caught in the baiting license trap last year and bought a "bait privilege" license to avoid fines. Alabama's Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries has added to the bureaucratic red tape for landowners hunting on their own land and seems happy to brag about it in a March 6, 2020 press release. Evidently turkey hunters have rebelled against the unnecessary regulations of the Division by not reporting their kills. We suspect new regulations will be published soon to whip turkey hunters into line.

(03/09/20) A video by Robert Bush, Sr. showing the "incredible diversity" of wildlife which used a log on a Pennsylvania stream is a must-watch. Lesson learned: point game camera at log across stream. A comment from a parent: I have to tell you, my 3 year old adores this video. I think it’s really neat, but he asks to watch “the log video again and again and again” every day. I never knew nature was so riveting. Thanks for making and sharing this!

(03/05/20) Beavers became big problem after introduction to Navarino Island near Chile's southernmost tip. If you need help removing beavers, coyotes, raccoons and other animals from your property, call Brenda at AFOA for the names of Animal Nuisance Control Experts: 205-624-2225

(03/04/20) 1,430 Bullock County voters (94% of precincts reporting) decided to raise property taxes in the county yesterday. Source: WSFA12 News, 4:02 pm, 3/4/20. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, there were 10,914 people living in Bullock County.

(03/03/20) "When I sell stumpage (the standing trees on my land), where do the logs go?" If you've ever asked yourself that question, you might like to test the interactive Alabama Forest Industry Directory Map. Select "Primary," the second "Query criteria" on the left side of the screen and then click "Apply" down near the bottom of the screen. Some of the little green dots will turn red. Those are the wood processing plants that begin work on your logs -- sawmills, veneer mills, pulpmills. Secondary wood users begin their work on already processed materials. Cabinet makers may use already sawn lumber; paper mills may use already processed pulp, etc. Editor's note: If you need a list of stumpage buyers, contact Brenda at the AFOA office - 205-624-2225.

(03/02/20) "American ginseng is arguably the most valuable non-timber forest crop in Eastern North America." But can it be grown commercially? The Future of Wild-Simulated Ginseng, an article on the website of the Association for Temperate Agroforestry, discusses the difficulty in simulating the wild conditions necessary to produce high value ginseng.

(02/28/20) The Role of Trapping in Wildlife Management will be described as a forest and wildlife management "tool" by Wildlife Biologist Mike Sievering at AFOA's Annual Meeting Field Day on April 21 in Tuscaloosa County. Sievering, who is Conservation Director of the National Trappers Association, will probably set a few traps while describing methods used to control coyotes, beavers, raccoons and possums. Register now.

(02/27/20) Goats can help reduce fire hazards by cleaning up the underbrush on your land. If you want to learn more about goats and their proper care, make plans now to attend Dr. Uma Karki's presentation at AFOA's 39th Annual Meeting in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, April 22.

(02/26/20) A change in attitude? Please read the following press release: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Critical Habitat for Threatened Black Pinesnake, 2/25/20: We may be imagining things, but we think we see a change in attitude at the Service. Wouldn't it be nice if they were able to change from a command and control organization into a service organization, providing guidance on how to nurture rare species of plants and animals? We think many landowners would view the Service a lot more favorably than they do today. Rare plants and animals might benefit from such a change.

(02/25/20) If building that dream cabin in the woods is still on your bucket list, you'll want to visit Brock's Huntin Cabins website to see photos of all the neat little cabins they have to offer. Owner Brock Ray was an interesting guest on The Land Show, Episode 227 (download and then scroll to 23:32 minutes).

(02/24/20) "In Australia, we have reduced our land-management actions and are now suffering the consequences," reported Gary Morgan, a consultant with Global Wildland Fire Management Services and chair of the Institute of Foresters of Australia. "There is a solution. It is certainly not more aircraft. ... Clearly, the current approach is not working. Politicians want to be seen to be doing something, regardless of effectiveness." Source: The Forestry Source, February 2020, page 2.

(02/21/20) 29 YEAR PROPERTY TAX INCREASE PLANNED FOR BULLOCK COUNTY. See March 3 Sample Ballots: Republican; Democratic. We also noticed an amendment on the Tallapoosa County ballot that would create a local "road maintenance district." Tallapoosa voters may want to check that out. Click here for sample ballots for all 67 counties, both Democratic and Republican. 

(02/20/20) "A Visual Account of One Year in the Life of a Longleaf Pine Forest" is a short, but very nicely done, slide show. We think you will enjoy it - and maybe benefit from watching it. Source: The Longleaf Alliance.

(02/19/20)The bottom line for U.S. forest owners: based on our experience with previous government incentive programs, The Trillion Trees Act would not be a boon for U.S. forest owners. In fact, if it massively increased planting in the South, it would exacerbate the timber oversupply issue that plagues many timber markets in the region.” Source: Forisk Blog, 2/19/20.

(02/18/20) "Alabama registered voters will go to the polls on March 3, 2020 to vote in the presidential primary, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Alabama Public Service Commission president and Supreme Court Justices and members of the Court of Civil Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals. Voters will choose ballots for either the Democratic or Republican parties. In addition to candidates, voters will select presidential delegates to represent their votes at the national party conventions." In addition to candidates on the ballot, Amendment One will ask whether you want to allow the Governor to appoint the State Board of Education (to be renamed the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education). Source: NFIB AL Legislative Links, 2/14/20. Click here for election information from the Secretary of State's office.

(02/17/20) When it rains a lot, some tracts of timber become too wet to log, so loggers have to buy timber on high-dry tracts -- usually in a hurry in order to keep the mills running. John Greene tries to shed some light on the subject in his blog: Winter Precipitation Trends: Will Timber Prices be Impacted?

(02/14/20) The Tax Foundation is a great source of information about taxes -- sales, property, income, estate... Check out their blog - click here - and, when you get there, read about our neighbor's plan to eliminate income taxes --  February 10, Tennessee's Governor Lee Pushes to Clear Out Remnants of Income Taxation.

(02/12/20) If controlling coyotes or beavers is on your to-do list, you will want to listen to Ken Peters, Dominion Trapping, on The Land Show, Epitsode 224 (Ken's interview begins at 22:02 and ends at about 36:51). Dominion Trapping on Facebook

(02/11/20) MR. PRESIDENT, IT'S A BAD IDEA FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO PLANT ONE TRILLION TREES DURING THE NEXT 30 YEARS! We are already growing more trees each year than we harvest. Can you imagine how bad pulpwood prices will be in 15 years? How bad sawtimber prices will be in 25 years? IT'S NOT A GOOD IDEA. JUST SAY NO!

(02/10/20) "A pulp mill is a timberland manager’s friend, especially in the US South... It is very helpful to have a pulp mill or two within delivery distance of your timberland. Pulp mills consume tremendous volumes of small and low-quality wood, providing a great market for those materials for timberland owners." Read more in Pulp Mills, Forest Management...and People, by Jack Lutz, Forest Research Notes, 4Q19.

(02/07/20) "Engaging" with your woods in the winter: Idea #1. "Walk your property boundary lines. Deciduous trees have dropped their leaves, giving a better line of sight, the weather is cool, making walking rugged terrain easier, briars are less fierce, poison ivy is beaten back, and ticks and mosquitoes are hibernating." Idea #1 and other ideas were found in the Virginia Forest Landowner e-Update, February 2020, published by Jennifer Gagnon, Virginia Tech Forestry Extension.

(02/06/20) Recent research "found deer were [coyotes'] single most important prey item..." To minimize coyote damage, land managers should "ensure that open areas managed as foraging sites for deer, such as food plots, are juxtaposed to dense cover..." Read How Much Venison Are Coyotes Eating? by Dr. Mike Chamberlain and Dr. Joey Hinton published by Quality Deer Management Association, 2/5/20.

(02/05/20) An environmentalist group convinced a federal judge to force the US Fish & Wildlife Service to "look again" at an Endangered Species Act ruling on the Northern Long Eared Bat. The change sought by the court would affect some forest management decisions.

(02/04/20) The Forest Floor is on the Move! Most of us know birds migrate in the spring and fall, but did you know that amphibians migrate too? They might not make the 1000-mile trek that some birds do, but during the winter, several salamander and frog species can be seen in mass migration crawling on the forest floor towards temporary pools. This phenomenon is like salmon traveling upstream to reach their breeding grounds, whereas amphibians will travel toward shallow seasonal pools to lay eggs and then slither back to their comfortable homes in the forest floor.
     While we have over 70 species of amphibians in Alabama, only a few species partake in this migration, one of which is the Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum). The spotted salamander is a fairly large salamander that is typically six to eight inches long but has been known to grow as large as 10 inches. As the name suggests, this species is identified by a series of irregular shaped yellow, sometimes orange, spots running down either side of the back from the head to its tail. Spotted salamanders exhibit a strong homing behavior, meaning they return to the pools they hatched from. Source: Alabama Wildlife and Conservation News, January 2020.

(01/31/20) Do you ever worry that enough is not being done to promote the use of the wood we grow? Check out some of the workshops and demonstrations recently conducted by Southern Forest Products Association's international promotions group:

(01/30/20) A bridge that would link Shelby County and south Talladega County east of Columbiana near the 4-H Center has been approved by the Talladega County Commission, but is meeting opposition from some Shelby County residents. A consulting forester told AFOA that the bridge would improve access to wood markets in the area, including Coosa County.

(01/29/20) We were glad to learn that the Opp News covered a visit to Lloyd Culp's forestland in Covington County a few days ago. Loflin Forest Management led the tour which included a drone demonstration and discussion on how to have more successful timber sales.

(01/28/20) Last Thursday "the Environmental Protection Agency released its final rule defining “Waters of the US” (WOTUS) over which EPA will have regulatory jurisdiction. The final regulation excludes from EPA jurisdiction a number of water features, including the following of particular importance to private forest management:
•   Ephemeral streams, defined as flowing only in direct response to precipitation,
•   Manmade ditches that do not flow into a regulated water, and
•   Wetlands that do not touch a regulated water of the US.
The effect of these exclusions is that the listed water features will NOT, by themselves, subject timberland to EPA Clean Water Act permit requirements governing such things as the aerial application of pesticides. The wetlands exclusion will also significantly strengthen the application of 'normal silviculture' permit exemption for forested wetlands. The text of the final rule can be found HERE." Source: National Alliance of Forest Owners, 1/23/20.

(01/27/20) Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for the 2019 Tax Year by Linda Wang, National Timber Tax Specialist, USDA Forest Service, is now available. Thank you, Dr. Wang.

(01/24/20) Have you always wanted to know the names of mushrooms you find on your land? There are two branches of the Alabama Mushroom Society which hold meetings in Birmingham and Mobile; first Tuesdays and second Mondays, resp., according to their webpage.

(01/23/20) PAWPAWS. You may not grow them to sell, but have you ever eaten one? "Also called the Indiana banana or the American custard apple, the pawpaw is the largest native North American fruit and has a legendary flavor—many describe it as a cross between a banana and a mango." Source: Civil Eats, 1/9/20

(01/22/20) Hurricanes, tornados, ice storms, floods, and wildfire are among events that can damage standing timber. To help forest landowners minimize taxes related to lost timber value, the Tennessee Forestry Association gathered some information in "Tax Considerations Associated with Timber Casualty Losses."

(01/21/20) "US-China Trade Deal Provides Relief for Hardwood Sector," states Travis Durkee in his January 20 Forest2Market Blog. Besides pointing out the importance of hardwood log and lumber exports, he also makes it very clear that we're growing far more hardwood timber than we're harvesting -- see "US South Growth-to-Removal Ratios" list of hardwood species.

(01/20/20) New York elementary school principal and South Carolina forest owner, Yvonne Knight-Carter, tells her story about returning home to manage her family's land.

(01/17/20) Passing on legacies of forestland and forestland management know-how -- Professor Becky Barlow leads the way. Source: Alabama Living.

(01/16/20) BIRDERS! Imagine pointing your telephoto camera at a bird you don't recognize, snapping a picture, and within a few seconds receiving a message on your phone identifying the bird. Swarovski Optik and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology think they're almost ready to sell you the camera and the service

(01/15/20) "A Talladega County firefighter has temporarily left the Superspeedway to help Australian firefighters contain devastating wildfires ravaging the country." Source: WVTM 13, 1/13/20. For an interesting perspective on the fires, an AFOA member sent us a YouTube story that disagrees with many who believe global warming has been the cause of the fires. Warning: coarse language from Aussie farmer at about the 3 minute mark.

(01/14/20) Davis Fish Farm in Cherokee County was featured this week on The Land Show. Daniel Davis talks about the pond management services they provide, including stocking trout in cold water areas.

(01/13/20) Driptorch Digest is the "Newsletter of the Southern Prescribed Fire Community." If you are a prescribed burner or a wannabe, you'll probably find something useful in their January 2020 newsletter.

(01/10/20) 10 Predictions for Global Forest Industries in 2020 by Pete Stewart, CEO, Forest2Market.com, 1/6/2020.

(01/09/20) In its quest to "inspire the limitless potential in every girl," Mattel is working with forest scientist Nalini Nadkarni to create a forest scientist Barbie.

(01/08/20) "We stood on a lot of consultants shoulders. I enjoyed learning from the consultants," says Mrs. Gail Burris, Hampton County, South Carolina, in a 3 minute video. If you need a consulting forester to help you, open www.ForesterSearch.com.

(01/07/20) Raymond James Financial Services published a report today: Overweight the Timber REITS - Upgrading PCH to Outperform and Raising Price Targets. If your time is limited, read the first page. Timber REIT prices are published each month in AFOA's newsletter, Capital Ideas, top of middle column on page 2. Source: Howard Sokol, Raymond James Financial Services.

(01/06/20) Lady forest owners - watch this video. Gentlemen forest owners - watch the video with your wife.

(01/03/20) Tree Farm Certification in Virginia is not free anymore. Current Tree Farmers will pay from $50 to $250 per year and new Tree Farms will be assessed a one-time certification fee of $100. Source: Virginia Forest Landowner Update, Winter 2020.

(01/02/20) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would like your help to decide whether the Gulf Coast solitary bee should be listed as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. We aren't experts, but we think you have until about March 19, 2020 to send them your comments on scientific and commercial and other information about the bee. For more information, go to the Federal Register, Vol. 84, No. 244, page 69713. If you need help sending your comments, contact Sean Blomquist at 850–769–0552 or sean_blomquist@fws.gov.