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Archived 1999 News, Issues & Information

(12/27/99) Lightweight Rain Suit Might Make Your Day. The Birmingham News outdoor sports writer Mike Bolton recently wrote about a 14 ounce rain suit that was designed for fishing on a rainy day. It might be of some use to you while visiting a rainy planting site. About $73. Check it out at http://www.froggtoggs.com.

(12/7/99) Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for the 1999 Tax Year is available at http://www.r8web.com/taxtips.  The two page publication is written each year by Larry Bishop, Forest Management and Taxation Specialist with the U.S. Forest Service.

(11/6/99) Mobile Area Pine Straw Buyer Jr. Meiners Would Like to Buy Your Straw.  Check out his web site at http://www.zebra.net/~meiners/non-java/strawdogs/meiners.htm, and, since we do not know Mr. Meiners, request references from landowners who have sold straw to him.

(11/2/99) From October 28,1999 Testimony of Mr. Rob Olszewski, Director of Environmental Affairs, The Timber Company, on Behalf of American Forest & Paper Association on EPA’s August 23rd Proposed Water Quality Regulations, before the Department of Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry Subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee:

Forestry Facts

  • Silviculture is at or near the lowest "leading source" of pollution or impairment for rivers and streams shown in summary charts in each of EPA’s section 305(b) reports from 1988 through 1994.
  • In the 1996 report, EPA dropped silviculture from the chart as one of the seven leading sources of impairment to rivers and streams.
  • The total number of river and stream miles impaired due to silviculture declined 20 percent between 1994 and 1996.
  • The relative amount of total river and stream impairment due to silviculture dropped from 9 percent in 1988 to 7 percent in 1996.
  • The length of river and stream miles impaired from natural causes is about twice the length of impairment due to silviculture.
  • The number of river and stream miles classed as "major impairment" due to silviculture dropped 83 percent between 1988 and 1996.
  • Silviculture is not included in the summary charts of leading sources of impairment to lakes, reservoirs, estuaries or ocean shoreline waters according to EPA’s 305(b) reports.
  • None of the 305(b) reports list silviculture as a public health or aquatic life concern.
  • None of the 305(b) reports list silviculture as a cause of groundwater impairment.

To read Mr. Olszewski's full remarks and those of others during the October 28 subcommittee hearing visit: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/testimony.htm.

(10/27/99) 20th Sign-Up Period for the Conservation Reserve Program to Begin January 18 and End February 11, 2000. For details on this U. S. Department of Agriculture program that pays landowners to plant and maintain trees (about $45, or more, per acre per year for 10 to 15 years), visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/publications/facts/crp20.pdf.

(10/23/99) As mentioned earlier on this page, EPA has proposed that NPDES permits should be required when we plant, prescribe burn, or harvest trees. We can't think of a better way to stop forest management work on small acreages. Some background information and a sample letter prepared by the American Forest and Paper Association has been posted to help you write a letter to your Congressmen. If you think it is of value, write to Carol Browner, too. She is the appointed head of the EPA and may be surprised to hear from you. Pertinent addresses are listed or linked. Send AFOA an email to let us know that you have written to your Congressmen. Thanks.

(10/20/99) A "Webcast" on the land ethic espoused by Aldo Leopold may be viewed at http://www.wisc.edu/wisacad/landethic/wcast.htm#webview. We haven't viewed the conference yet and would appreciate your comments. Send them to Lee at AFOA email. The webcast site will be closed on October 31.

(10/16/99) CONSERVATION EASEMENTS: What They Are and How They May Impact Eastern Hardwoods.   A Speech to the National Hardwood Lumber Association 27th Annual Hardwood Symposium
May 21, l999, by Carol W. LaGrasse, President, Property Rights Foundation of America. Read Carol's speech at http://www.allianceforamerica.org/0799002.htm. Editor's Note: Be careful with conservation easements - they are permanent.

(10/13/99) Current Use Values on Timberland Increase. The Alabama Department of Revenue recently announced that current use values will increase effective October 1, 1999, "with taxes on the new values being collected October 1, 2000."  Current use values are determined by a formula. Variables in the formula include pulpwood prices, Federal Land Bank interest rates, and soil quality of your land. The landowner must apply at the county tax assessor's office to have land assessed at current use value. Timber values are not included in the assessed value of forestland in Alabama.

TIMBERLAND     1998 C.U. VALUES       1999 C.U. VALUES
CATEGORIES   Tax Collected 10/1999  Tax Collected 10/2000
---------------------------------------------------------
Good            $494 per acre          $509 per acre
Average         $375 per acre          $387 per acre
Poor            $268 per acre          $277 per acre
Nonproductive   $214 per acre          $221 per acre

For details in a Revenue Department press release, check here: http://www.ador.state.al.us/pressind.html (press release was not yet posted 10/15/99)

(9/17/99) On August 23, 1999, EPA proposed to require NPDES permits for forest management activities like timber harvesting, prescribed burning, and site preparation for tree planting. More details will be placed on this page in the next few days. Members with email addresses on record with AFOA will receive an Alert. If you can't wait for the Alert, call Lee for a brief summary -- (205)987-8811.
(10/15/99) Editor's note: We did not send an alert. The comment time has been extended to December 22, 1999. We plan to add more information at a later date.

(8/27/99) Southern Pine Beetle Monitoring Flights are being made by consultant forester Tim Chesnut in Walker, Fayette, Winston, West Jefferson, and West Cullman Counties every two weeks. Contact Tim at (205) 384-5819 or fw4stry@sonet.net. A similar service may be available in other counties; give your forester a call. For a look at the beetle spots found by the Alabama Forestry Commission during their July flights, click here: http://www.forestry.state.al.us/southern_pine_beetle_alert.htm.

(8/18/99) A Tree Identification Page for Michigan's Upper Peninsula looks like it might be fun and educational for someone interested in learning more about tree species.

(8/12/99) The Flatwoods Salamander was listed as a "Threatened Species" by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on May 3, 1999. For more details about the listing of this amphibian which was once native to South Alabama, visit the "final ruling" web page of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Also, a transcript of a 1998 public hearing on the salamander is posted at http://www.alabamaforestowners.com/fst9804.htm.

(8/10/99) Pine Straw Buyers Wanted! AFOA is developing a list of pine straw buyers. We are looking for buyers of pre-bailed straw and straw harvesters who seek straw-raking leases. If you know of anyone who is interested in buying pine straw, please contact AFOA today. We will print buyers' names in a future issue of Capital Ideas and on this web page. For some interesting reading on the pine straw business, click on Pine Straw —The Money-Making Mulch.

(8/3/99) Northwest Quarter of Alabama Hardest Hit by Beetles: Southern Pine Beetle Alert from the Alabama Forestry Commission - July 1999.
   "The July Southern Pine Beetle Flights revealed the beetle populations had indeed exploded. Statewide there are 3,300 spots containing 99,010 infested trees. There are 54 counties with SPB populations and 32 of these counties are Epidemic. This is a 300+% increase over the June, 1999 flight. The Ten worst counties are Pickens, Lamar, Dallas, Lowndes, Jefferson, Macon, Perry, Marengo, Walker, and Wilcox.
    "Maps of individual landowners with Beetle spots are in the process of being mailed. Control efforts have begun on Private and Company lands. The major control measure is Salvage but some small spots or being controlled by the Cut & Leave method. Most landowners are cooperating with rapid attack on infestations. The largest spots are on US Forest Service National Forest land, where control activities are lagging.
    "With two hot months left, the infested spots will continue to expand unless controlled. Historically, September is the month that has the highest number of spots. It is highly recommended that landowners check their land and if spots are found, they control the infestation as soon as possible with any and every means feasible."
Click Here for Detailed Region & County Data.
Click Here For AFC Beetle Control Recommendations.
More on Southern Pine Beetles (with pictures).

(8/3/99) A Variety of Federal and State Agencies Want Your Opinion. Do you want to continue to make decisions for the management of your forestland? Please try to attend one of five public hearings on Southern Forestry to be held during the next few weeks. Click here to read an Editor's Note at August 31, 1999, Tifton, Georgia. 

(7/28/99) Stump to Store: A Tree Farmer's Tips for Building a Thriving Business, by Paul Easley, is a short story about the author's successful wood business that you may enjoy reading. Click Here to Read it on the Tree Farm Web Site.

(7/27/99) 80 Year Old John Taylor Can't Build a New Home on His Land in Fairfax Co., Virginia, because the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says he might disturb the eagles who live across the street. For more details and/or to help with Mr. Taylor's legal expenses, visit the Defenders of Property Rights web page at http://www.defendersproprights.org or http://www.defendersproprights.org/lit-taylor.html.

(7/23/99) The Oklahoma Woodland Owners' Association has just launched a new web page. Some thoughtful comments are offered by President Patt Nelson at http://www.owoa.org/Editoria.htm.

(7/20/99) Abstracts of presented papers and posters from the 6th Agroforestry Conference, June 12-16, 1999, Hot Springs, Arkansas, can be read at:  http://www.agctr.lsu.edu/agcenter/research/hillfarm/6th-agroforestry/agendapage.html

(7/16/99) USGS Topographic Maps and National Aerial Photography Program Photos may be selected and ordered at the following web sites:
Topo Maps:
http://edcwww.cr.usgs.gov/Webglis/glisbin/finder_map.pl?dataset_name=MAPS_LARGE
Aerial Photos:
http://edcwww.cr.usgs.gov/Webglis/glisbin/finder_map.pl?dataset_name=NAPP

If you follow all the steps and order a map or a photo, please contact Lee at AFOA(AFOA email or 205-987-8811) when your map or photo arrives to tell us if you are pleased or unhappy. Perhaps we could conduct a training session on ordering maps and photos at a later date.

(7/14/99) Financial Freedom Act of 1999. The huge 1999 tax reform bill will include the revision of IRS code Section 631(b) (see below 6/16/99). The revision of 631(b) will allow you to sell timber lump sum and treat the income as a capital gain. This revision will help prevent unnecessary pay-as-cut timber sales, many of which are not in the best interest of the landowner. To review the tax reform bill in its entirety, visit http://thomas.loc.gov/ and type in H.R. 2488 in the "search" area. H.R. 2488 was introduced by Rep. Bill Archer (R-TX). The 631(b) revision was added to H.R. 2488 today by Rep. Mac Collins (R-GA), so may not be visible on the internet copy of the bill today. There is no opposition to revising 631(b), the revision does not cut the flow of money to Washington, and it will prevent unnecessary hardship for numerous small landowners scattered all over the U.S.

(7/13/99) Producing Non-Timber Forest Products is an area of interest to many forest owners across the U.S. and may be of interest to you. We found a links page at http://www.sfp.forprod.vt.edu/sfp_link/sfp_link.htm that will take you to sites on ginseng, basket-making, mushrooms and other non-timber forest products.

(7/12/99) Portable Sawmills and Information About Them can be found with two Capital Ideas advertisers at their web sites: Independent Sawmill & Woodlot Management and Sawmill Exchange.

(6/27/99) "Keep Private Lands in Private Hands" is the battle cry of a coalition that is trying to block legislation designed to spend large amounts Federal money to buy large amounts of private land. Forest owners inside or near the boundaries of National Forests or National Park Service holdings will be likely targets if the legislation passes.  For more details on the Billion Dollar Land Acquisition Trust Fund (HR 701 and S 25), also known as the Conservation and Reinvestment Act, visit the website of the American Land Rights Association: http://www.landrights.org/OCS/OCSwww.index.htm.   Also, review comments of the Idaho and Wyoming Farm Bureau representatives before the House Committee on Resources.

(6/26/99) If your soil is adequate you may want to consider growing black walnuts. Black walnut logs sell at very good prices and some growers also receive income from sales of nuts. A good source for walnut information can be found at the home page of the Walnut Council. http://www.fnr.purdue.edu/walnutcouncil.

(6/24/99) Tap the "Power of the Internet" to Sell Stumpage. A new web site that makes your timber sale information available to timber buyers 24 hours a day on the Internet offers some interesting possibilities. Visit http://www.stumpage.com. For starters, the information shown on individual sales gives sellers a good idea of what should be included in a timber sale prospectus.  The maps we looked at take forever to load, but they'll get you to the sale area.

(6/21/99) "The [Alabama] House-passed bill [HB 309] protecting landowners from liability for injuries to trespassers died because the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee refused to entertain a motion by Senator Curt Lee of Jasper to place the bill on the committee's agenda. The bill was opposed by the plaintiff trial lawyers." Source: Alabama Forestry Association's Forestry Legislative Report, 6/10/99. Call Boyd Kelly at (334)265-8733 for details.

(6/16/99) AFOA has always encouraged timber sellers to sell their timber to the highest bidder and "get your money - cash up front." Tax law (as written, but not enforced on small landowners) required some landowners, who wanted to claim capital gains tax treatment on their sale income, to sell their timber on a "pay-as-cut" basis. Pay-as-cut opens the door to buyers who may not pay for timber hauled away or who might skim the cream from a timber sale and leave a mess for the landowner to try to sell later. Representative Mac Collins (R-GA) has introduced H.R. 2136 which will make it legal to claim capital gain treatment on "outright sales of timber held for more than 1 year." Passage of this bill should prevent a lot of sad stories by landowners, and the Congress should be happy because the bill has been "scored" and found to be revenue neutral. Take a look at the H.R. 2136 at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c106:H.R.2136:. If you want to discuss the bill with your member of the House of Representatives, please find his address at http://www.house.gov/writerep/.

(6/14/99) More information on taxes and timber: Ohio State University's School of Natural Resources website contains contains a half dozen interesting and readable Fact Sheets written by Gregory R. Passewitz. Titles include: How to Determine Your Timber Basis, Recovering Timber Costs -- Capital Management, Recovering Your Timber Management Costs -- Operating Expenses. Click here to visit the menu: http://ohioline.ag.ohio-state.edu/for-fact/index.html.

(6/14/99) Wanted to Lease: Billy Johnston would like to lease 150-200 acres of hunting land in West Central Alabama. Call him after 5:00 p.m. at (205) 425-7696.

(6/10/99) If you are looking for help with income tax questions, check out Purdue University's Department of Forestry and Natural Resources website at: http://www.fnr.purdue.edu/ttax. Purdue University's Professor William L. Hoover is one of the co-authors of Agriculture Handbook #708 Forest Owners' Guide to the Federal Income Tax. Ag Handbook #708 is available from the U.S. Government Bookstore in Birmingham at (205)731-1056. You may pay with a Visa Card. You can view the book at http://www.uga.edu/~soforext/forestmgmt/aghandbook.html.

(6/8/99) Increased CO2 Causes Trees to Grow Faster. University of Illinois and Duke University scientists bathed experimental forest plots in levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide expected by the year 2050, and the trees experienced a 25 percent growth increase during the first two years of a continuing project, researchers report in a recent issue of Science. If forests worldwide were to grow 25 percent faster in 50 years than they do now, the results suggest that plant life could serve as a "sink" for about half the expected carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion. The Forestry Source, June 1999. For more details CLICK HERE:  http://www.safnet.org/archive/co2-699.htm

(6/7/99) Southern Pine Beetle Handbook: Silviculture Can Reduce Losses from the Southern Pine Beetle Silviculture Can Reduce Losses from the Southern Pine Beetle (USDA Agriculture Handbook No. 576), by Roger Belanger and Barry F. Malac, is available on the Forest Service's Southern Region forest health website at http://fhpr8.srs.fs.fed.us/pubs.html. The menu at this site offers up a wide variety of information with excellent photos - a website that is easy to follow and contains very useful information!

(6/4/99) Forest Industry News from Across the U.S. might be found at http://www.forestweb.com/index.taf. If you find something useful at the site, let us know -- Send Email.

(5/28/99) Trees of Alabama and the Southeast is online! Dr. Lisa Samuelson, Auburn University Professor of Forestry and co-author of the tree identification web page, told AFOA that they "wanted to get it on line even though it is not finished so that people can see our progress."  "The site is still young and we will be adding many more photographs, species and a key." The page looks pretty good and seems easy to use.

(5/16/99) The Siegelman "administration is proposing a tax rate of $1.70 per $1000 of gross receipts on LLCs, LLPs, and LPs. There are a lot of forest owners who have put their land into one of these entities for estate planning or liability planning purposes." reports W. Holt Speir, III, Esq., in an email to AFOA on 5/13/99. We saw in The Birmingham News, 5/15/99, that the current session of the legislature can no longer consider new tax laws and that the governor will probably have to call a special session of the legislature to address the $100 million shortfall caused by the court's voiding of the franchise tax. Thanks, Holt, for the heads-up. (5/20/99) Editor's Note: It is probably a good time to call your legislators to let them know how you feel about increasing property taxes. Allowing property taxes to exceed the ability of the land to pay the tax happened in the 1930s. Not an experience we want to recreate.

(5/6/99) The 50-Yard-Line Law was reported on by Mike Bolton in this morning's Birmingham News. The bill (number as yet unknown by AFOA) requires "hunters to be 50 yards off the public right-of-way while hunting. Game and Fish said that would give officers a hand in stopping hunting along roads in Alabama." On the surface the bill seems like a good idea, but if you own 40 acres with a road through the middle of it, that 50 yards adds up to 9 acres you'll have to stay away from while hunting. Please send comments to AFOA.

(4/27/99) Wanted To Lease For Hunting: Mark Hitt and a friend want to lease 300 to 500 acres of land between Birmingham and Montgomery. Call Mark at (205) 274-9214 or 274-9712.

(4/26/99) SB 327 has been assigned to the Conservation, Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The bill will lengthen dog deer hunting to 57 days per year and also repeal the closure of dog deer hunting in certain areas of the state. AFOA member John Lavette is concerned that this bill takes the authority to set hunting seasons away from the Conservation Advisory Committee of the Conservation Department and places it in the hands of the politicians in Montgomery. He stated in a recent letter, "The Department's decision to limit the dog deer hunting season has proven correct, and should not be interfered with. The last couple of years with the shortened dog deer hunting season has proven to significantly decrease the problems that were being encountered by landowners and hunters with deer hunting dogs and dog deer hunting groups." John can be reached at (205) 254-3500. See the Conservation Advisory Committee Meeting information in AFOA's Calendar of Events -- May 22, 1999.

(4/21/99) Wanted To Lease For Hunting and Camping: Fred Chiesa and his father are looking for 200-300 acres within 2 hours drive time of Birmingham "for the purpose of deer hunting, camping, and spending time outdoors together. We would treat the opportunity as a privilege and have the utmost respect for the land of another." Contact Fred at (205)941-1922 or fred@inline.com.

(4/16/99) If Pine Straw Sales Are of Interest to You:  Visit Agriquip, Inc. and   a USDA Forest Service Publication. Don McClain will be bringing one of his bailers to the AFOA Annual Meeting on April 24.

(4/16/99) The Southern Forest Products Association has an interesting website at http://www.sfpa.org. The SFPA promotes the use of southern pine lumber in a variety of ways. We especially enjoyed the Weekly Newsletter and the Forestry and Environmental Resources pages.

(4/12/99) HB 309 has been introduced by Rep. Joe Carothers. The bill was designed to provide immunity for property owners from liability brought about by trespassers on their property. Last year the plaintiff trial lawyers killed HB 294 which was similar to HB 309. Boyd Kelly, lobbyist for the Alabama Forestry Association, suggested that supporters of the bill contact members of the House Judiciary Committee ASAP.  The committee will consider the bill on April 14. House Judiciary Committee.

(4/9/99) Information about Forestry in Alabama is available at http://members.aol.com/jostnix/body.htm.

(4/9/99) Wanted To Lease For Hunting: Darrel Gonzales is searching for land in Choctaw, Clarke, or Washington counties. Contact him at darrelgonz@aol.com or call collect to (504)682-2690.

(3/23/99) Wanted To Lease For Hunting: 200-300 acres in Dallas, Bibb or Perry counties. Family hunting group. Call Chester at (205)646-3670 or contact him with email at chester@scott.net.

(3/15/99) Understanding Tax Deductions for Timber Losses by Michael Jacobson (University of Florida) and John Greene (USDA Forest Service) is available by clicking: http://www.sfrc.ufl.edu/Extension/loss.htm.

(3/15/99) "More than 25,000 seamless Sure!MAPS raster topographic maps now available for purchase and download on the web" at http://tango.horizons.com/quadstore. If you try this service and it works, please send AFOA a note to help other members of AFOA learn more about it.  Thanks.

  • (3/16/99) A member who looked at the site writes: "Looked at web site and map scales are much too large for my forestry use and cost is hi at $250 per county."

(3/12/99) A Collection of Articles by "Fossil Bill" Kramer are available on a web page maintained by the Alliance for America.  Mr. Kramer was a featured speaker at AFOA's 1997 Annual Meeting.

(3/2/99) National Forests in Alabama Geographical Information System at http://www.r8web.com/gis is a place you might spend a little time at if you are interested in maps and/or have land near a USDA National Forest. We have NOT looked at the site in great detail, so please send AFOA a note and tell us if you found anything of value for other forest owners.  Thanks.

(2/21/99) Orion Oil & Gas Properties of Amarillo, Texas wants to give "surface owners a one time opportunity to purchase minerals under their land" for only $20.00 per acre. If you have recently received a letter offering mineral rights beneath your surface land and want to talk to others who have received similar letters, contact AFOA. We’ll put you in touch.

(2/19/99) Oak Regeneration Information. We installed Oak Regeneration: A Knowledge Synthesis on our home computer last week and have learned a lot about oaks by reading the reports and studying the diagrams. The authors - Rauscher, Loftis, McGee, and Worth - have given permission to download the hypertext files at www.srs4702.forprod.vt.edu/oak/.   Have fun. If you have trouble downloading or installing the files contact Dr. Michael Rauscher at Rauscher_Mike/srs_bentcreek@fs.fed.us. He would like constructive criticism of the "hyperdocument" and hopes you will tell him what you like and don’t like about it. You may send your comments to AFOA if you wish.

(2/19/99) Wanted to Lease 500 acres (more or less) in Pike County or Southwest Alabama for 1999/2000 Deer Season. Hunters are business owners and will insure for liability. Call Ken Keller at (704)855-2240 or contact at kkell@ci.salisbury.nc.us.

(2/5/99) Wanted to Lease for 1999/2000 Season:  400 to 800 acres for deer hunting in Wilcox, Lowndes, Dallas or Butler Counties.  Please call collect at (850)968-1055 - ask for Bobby or contact with e-mail at rgay24@aol.com.

(2/2/99) Jimmy Hicks in Wilcox County has a portable sawmill and wants to cut your logs into lumber.  Call him at (334)337-4503.

(1/18/99) Should the Government Compete with Private Businesses? If you sell timber or lease hunting rights or recreational access, should the money you earn be taxed and the tax money be used to compete against you?  About 40 percent of the nation's land is already owned by federal, state, and local governments, according to Liberty Matters, a faxed newsletter of the American Land Foundation. For more details: http://www.libertymatters.org/aa11899.htm.

(1/7/99) WANTED TO LEASE: 80-100 Acres Hunting Land Within 50 Miles of Decatur, Alabama.  Call Jackie Townson at (256)353-7747

(1/2/99) AGRO-FORESTRY PROGRAM may be sponsored by Union Camp Corporation. Union Camp is proposing to lease pasture, crop or fallow lands for the purpose of planting trees.  The company plans to pay lease rates of $30 to $40 per acre per year for 18 years and will require a minimum of 40 acres. The land should be located within 80 miles of Prattville. AFOA will try to organize an informational program with Union Camp officials later in 1999. For more details contact Union Camp forester Dale Pughsley at (334)260-2903 or Dale_Pughsley@ucamp.com. Also, see AFOA's February 25 Jefferson County Educational Program in the 1999 Calendar of Past Events.

Archived News, Issues & Information from 1998