Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc.                 Advocate for the Forest Owner

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March 2004 News Conference for Forest Owners Sponsored by Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc. Conference was recorded Wednesday, March 17, 2004.

to Listen to the

This conference and all future conferences will be in the .mp3 format, which is compatible with Windows Media Player and most other media devices.

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Hayes D. Brown

starting time: (00:00)


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

Click Here to View & Hear Prior News Conferences.


Roger Hayes


Roads, Schools, Jobs --- and Stability

Roger Hayes is Chairman of the Winston County Commission and knows first hand how much most rural communities in Alabama rely on the property tax to pay the expenses of roads and schools. However, a significant portion of Winston County (94,000 acres), like a hand-full of other counties in Alabama, is owned by the federal government as National Forests. The federal government pays no property tax on that land, but for many years has given local governments a portion of timber sale receipts in lieu of taxes. In recent years, timber sale income on National Forests has been markedly reduced and the payments to local governments have fallen as well. Federal programs to offset this drop in payments have been developed as stop-gap measures, but they are not stable income sources based on the sale of locally grown forest products, and they are subject to the whims of the U.S. Congress. Commissioner Hayes describes some of the problems of dealing with this frustrating and complicated situation.

Editorial Comment: Private forest owners should take pride in knowing that they provide a stable source of revenue for local schools, roads and other important services. In addition to taxes, we provide resources for 67,000 forest industry jobs in Alabama and many others associated with hunting and other outdoor recreation. Private ownership of land is an important asset to all the citizens of Alabama. Contrary to most press coverage, it is not all good news when land is bought by state or federal agencies and removed from tax rolls and productive status.

Phone: (205) 489-5026


Dr. H. Glenn Hughes


Survey Reveals Our Interests

Glenn Hughes is with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and  the Department of Forestry at MSU's College of Forest Resources. He is an active provider of educational events for forest owners in Mississippi and many forest owners from Alabama have attended his programs. Glenn recently participated in a survey of more than 1,800 forest landowners (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, & Tennessee) and has been studying their answers to learn how Extension can provide better information for them. Forest ownership is passing from the World War II generation to the baby boomer generation. Goals and aspirations of the new owners are different and they will require different land management advice. An interesting contradiction was uncovered when it was learned that more than half of those surveyed were interested in leaving an estate of value to pass on to their children and yet more than 40 percent did not have written wills. Hughes reviews other findings of the survey which is summarized below:

  • Most frequently cited reasons for owning forestland were: 
    • asset for children and heirs
    • part of residence
    • place to relax
  • Despite importance of land as an asset for families, more than 40 percent of people did not have a written will.
  • We are currently undergoing a tremendous generational shift in land and assets from the WWII generation to the Baby Boomer generation. 77% of landowners were at least 50 years old; 26% were age 70 or older
  • 75% of landowners are unfamiliar with government cost-share programs, and 83% are unfamiliar with tax incentives for landowners
  • 63% of forest landowners had not used a professional forester in the past
  • 86% of landowners had not attended a forestry educational program in the past year. Of those that did, 94% found the program helpful
Excellent Landowner Education Programs Provided by MSU

Phone: (601) 794-0671


Dr. Robert A. Tufts


The Importance of Having a Written Will

Robert A. Tufts is an Associate Professor at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University. Following up on Mississippi State University's forest landowner survey, we asked Professor Tufts, who has a law degree and specializes in estate planning, to tell us about some of the pitfalls that await the heirs of a landowner who dies without a written will.

Estate Planning CD produced by Dr. Tufts:

  • Problems created when an estate is not probated
  • Alabama's plan for your estate
  • Other intestate problems (bond, inventory, court supervision)
  • Basic documents in an estate plan
  • Comparison of a trust and a will
  • Partition of jointly owned property

Estate Planning for Landowners Workshop

Other Useful Links:

Phone: (334) 844-1011


David M. Kelley


Timely Forest Management Tips

David Kelley owns and operates Kelley Forestry Consulting Services, LLC in Montgomery, Alabama. Though the groundhog reported more winter, Spring is finally here, and David offers some management tips that will help make your management work a bit easier. A few web links that support David's comments:

Talking Points:

  • Landowners who had their old fields or pastures planted with pines this past winter should be scheduling an herbaceous release spray to be done in April or May to control the grasses, weeds, and other herbaceous growth that will begin coming up at this time of year.
  • Landowners who had tracts clear cut last year or this past winter should be planning to have their tracts site prepared this summer. Mechanical site prep, chemical site prep, and/or burning should be done in summer or fall.
  • Landowners should begin checking their pines stands for pine beetles, which will become more active at this time of year and into the summer.

Phone: 1-800-876-1559


Jeffrey Whitt Latham


Improving Duck Hunting in West Alabama

Jeff Latham is a wildlife biologist and forester with Truett & Latham, Inc., in Choctaw County, Alabama and spends his workdays actively managing the forestlands of many landowners in West Alabama. Last fall we had an interesting chat with Latham about duck habitat improvement. He excitedly described the use of a levee plow that can be used as a low cost tool to raise water levels a few inches and thereby create many acres of feeding ground for migrating ducks. In our conversation, Jeff described seeing "hundreds of wood ducks" in some flooded areas in West Alabama and lamented that the bag limit was only 2 per day, making it hard for a landowner or hunting club to justify the expense of some habitat improvements that benefit the ducks.

Phone: (205) 652-6967


Mike McCommons


Durhamtown Plantation: Family Entertainment

Mike McCommons is the "fearless leader" of  Durhamtown Plantation in Union Point, Georgia. Over the years we've watched Mike struggle with the problems of making profitable a large family-owned holding of timberland about 70 miles east of Atlanta. He has leased hunting land, provided guided hunts, and now has developed a total outdoor recreational experience featuring trails, ATVs, camping and cabins. The topic of ATV trails is not only fun, but one which is getting more and more exposure. We have covered it twice in the last few months (see Glenn Myers and Brent Williams) and continue to get positive feedback from interested landowners. Everyday we read news stories about the closing of government lands to ATVs and 4x4s and feel sure that private trails offer an excellent opportunity for trail riders and landowners.

From the Durhamtown Plantation website:

Editor's Note: A nagging question from most landowners is "How can I protect myself from liability problems?" AFOA has no answer at this time. Please contact Lee at AFOA if you have a solution: or (205) 987-8811.

Phone: (706) 486-2588


Dr. Jody W. Lipford


Atlanta, Alabama, & Florida Water Wars:
Who Owns the Water?

Jody Lipford, associate professor of Economics and Business Administration at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, has written an interesting 28 page essay entitled Averting Water Disputes: A Southeastern Case Study. Lipford analyzes problems in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin, which covers parts of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, and which we read about in our newspapers on a fairly regular basis. He shows how political decisions have created turmoil and indecision, and argues that markets for water can avert crises and resolve problems. He emphasizes the need for assigning property rights to the disputed water: "They must be clearly defined, ... enforced, ...and transferable..."

Phone: (864) 833-8353


Arthia W. Rye


Alabama Stumpage Market Report

Billy Rye is the owner and manager of Forest Management Specialists, Inc., a consulting forestry firm based in Florence, Alabama which assists private landowners with the management and marketing of timber throughout the mid-south region. He is always an optimistic source of information (see June 20, 2001 and February 20, 2002) and we look forward to his upbeat reports. AFOA quotes prices from Timber Mart-South's quarterly reports in our newsletter, but monthly updates from consulting foresters in Capital Ideas -- Live! frequently shed new light on market conditions and opportunities. Today Billy discusses the roller coaster pulpwood price curve we've been experiencing.

Unrelated but Interesting References & Links:

Phone: (256) 765-0397