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JANUARY 2012 News Conference for Forest Owners
Sponsored by the Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc.
This Conference was recorded on January 18, 2012

to Listen to the
This conference is in .mp3 format, which is compatible with Windows Media Player and most other media devices.

Hayes D. Brown   Alabama Forest Owners' Association

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 Any of nearly 100 Past News Conferences.


Rep. Martha Roby

Hear Conference


Roby Seeks Cap on Federal Spending

Congressman Martha Roby represents Alabama's 2nd Congressional District (Southeast Alabama) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Representative Roby sits on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Agriculture, and the House Education and the Workforce Committee. In an attempt to gain control of a growing federal budget and make high quality land available for production, Roby has introduced a bill that would put a cap on acreage in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and make Class I and Class II (best soils) land ineligible for CRP. The title of the bill (H.R. 3454) is Preserving Marginal Lands and Protecting Farming Act of 2011. Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan said, "Thanks to the leadership of Alabama’s two new members in the U.S. House – Martha Roby and Terry Sewell – we have common sense legislation that will help our farmers meet a rapidly growing demand for food and fiber." Congressman Roby has formed an Agriculture Advisory Panel to assist in her work on the 2012 Farm Bill. More than half of the panel are forest owners and several are members of AFOA.  

Phone: (202) 225-2901


Laura E. Huggins

Hear Conference


The Green Tea Party

Laura Huggins is Editor of PERC (Property and Environmental Research Center) Reports for Free Market Environmentalism. She has written numerous papers and op-eds and even a book, Greener Than Thou, which all champion the benefits of solving environmental problems through property rights and markets. AFOA recently received a 25 page pocket guide from PERC entitled, The Green Tea Party: Serving Budget Cuts & Environmental Quality by Terry Anderson. You will want to read the pocket guide (it's not long) and also check out The Green Tea Party webpage at

Excerpts from the pocket guide:

  • The Green Tea Party is filled with "antis": anti-deficits, anti-regulations, and anti-bureaucracies, which fight the cancer of an ever-growing government. The Green Tea Party contains "pros" as well: pro-growth, pro-environmental quality, and pro-property rights.
  • "Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, offers what might be thought of as the GTP manifesto:
    'As someone who lived under communism for most of my life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning…. They are Malthusian pessimists…. The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment.' "

Phone: (406) 587-9591


Dr. Richard W. Guldin

Hear Conference


Recession's Impact on Forest Industry & Forest Owners

Richard Guldin is Director of Policy & Quantitative Sciences, USDA Forest Service Research & Development. He "focuses on economics as it pertains to the creation and sustainability of forests." In Forest Sector Reeling during Economic Downturn, The Forestry Source, Jan. 2012, Guldin and co-author W. Brad Smith report that 294,000 full time forest industry jobs have been lost over the past 5 years, 113,000 in the South.

A Few Quotes From the Report:

  • Current annual US lumber production is 30 billion board feet, down 20 billion board feet (40%) since 2005 — the lowest output since 1982, which was also a recession. 
  • Total annual US [timber] harvests are down 4 billion cubic feet (30%) since 2005 — the lowest national harvest level since the 1960s.
  • If the current pattern persists, another 25 to 30 million acres could go unharvested by 2020, having serious implications on management plans and the future health of production forests as trees continue to grow, health and vigor begins to decline due to crowding, fuel levels build, and the potential risks increase for infestations of insects and other pathogens.
  • According to recent global statistics, the US’s share of world wood-products production is declining. Over the past 10 to 20 years, the US pulp-and-paper segment has positioned itself to compete in global markets and has thus been more resilient in the face of the recent economic downturn since 2005. In the solid wood sector, however, the situation is more serious. Unless the US housing market soon rebounds and thus increases domestic demand for solid wood products — or unless the nation’s solid-wood industry re-positions and re-structures itself to be more competitive in global markets — employment, wages, and the value of shipments are unlikely to recover to 2005 levels.

Phone: (703) 605-4177


Dr. Robert A. Tufts

Hear Conference


Tax Laws Affect Forest Management

Robert Tufts is an Attorney and Associate Professor in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University. A few weeks ago in preparation to help Robert publicize five tax workshops he will be presenting in February and March, we asked him why he believed landowners should become knowledgeable about income and estate tax laws. "Can't our tax guru's figure that stuff out for us? Why should we waste our time in a workshop when we could be out working in our woods?" Robert was quick to point out that a small amount of time spent learning how to nudge gains out of the tax laws would pay back big returns. We grudgingly agreed that we have met forest owners who didn't know how to write-off tree planting expenses, who didn't realize their forestland and trees will gain a new tax basis upon their death, who didn't know that income from timber sold in a salvage sale could be reinvested without being subject to taxes (after a tornado, for example)...

To whet your appetite for the tax workshops, Robert created a YouTube Topic Outline that you will find useful. He also thought you should see a copy of IRS Form T (timber) to help you understand his comments today.  

Timber Tax and Return Preparation Workshops - Instructor, Dr. Robert Tufts
     Auburn, February 16
     Livingston, February 21
     Huntsville, February 23
     Tuscaloosa, March 1
     Fairhope, March 15

Registration is only $15 and may be paid at the door, but it is important to call Robert or send him an email to let him know you are planning to attend.

Phone: (334) 844-1011


Dr. Robert E. Bardon

Hear Conference


Open Door to Educational Resources

Bob Bardon is Assistant Dean of Extension and Engagement, Departmental Extension Leader and Professor, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, College of Natural Resources, North Carolina State University. At least once a month, AFOA receives an email from Bob inviting forest owners and others to participate in a webinar sponsored by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Texas Agrilife Extension and Southern Region Extension Forestry. We post many of them to our Calendar of Events on the web and in our newsletter. The topics vary (see sample list below), and while we don't often participate in the live webinar sessions, the archive of past programs is quite inviting. You may "attend" those at your convenience.

Webinar Portal for Forestry and Natural Resources - Previous Webinars

Phone: (919) 515-5575


Dr. Theresa M. Crimmins

Hear Conference


What is Phenology?

Theresa Crimmins is Partnerships & Outreach Coordinator for the USA National Phenology Network. When the Florida Extension Service announced an event for forest owners and others entitled How to Monitor Plant and Animal Phenology, our first question was, "What is Phenology?" A Google search pointed us to the National Phenology Network where we learned that many of us are already amateur "phenologists." Have you been keeping track of the dates each year when blackberries are ready to pick, when the swifts return to your chimney, when the pecans bloom, when loblolly pine pollen covers your car, or similar things? Theresa and the folks at USA NPN have developed something called Nature's Notebook to help them gather information from phenologists who are scattered all over the US. Be sure to look at the "How to Observe" webpage.

Phone: (520) 792-0481


Ralph G. Hellmich

Hear Conference


"Perils in Gas Well Leases"

Ralph Hellmich is Operations Supervisor South Alabama for the Alabama Oil & Gas Board. We decided to get Ralph's advice after an AFOA member sent us a clipping from The New York Times, 12/1/11, headlined, Drilling Down -- Learning Too Late of the Perils in Gas Well Leases. In a review of thousands of leases (none from Alabama), The Times found:

  • Fewer than half the leases require companies to compensate landowners for water contamination after drilling begins. And only about half the documents have language that lawyers suggest should be included to require payment for damages to livestock or crops.
  • Most leases grant gas companies broad rights to decide where they can cut down trees, store chemicals, build roads and drill. Companies are also permitted to operate generators and spotlights through the night near homes during drilling.
  • Most leases are for three or five years, but at least two-thirds of those reviewed by The Times allow extensions without additional approval from landowners. If landowners have second thoughts about drilling on their land or want to negotiate for more money, they may be out of luck.

“If you’ve never seen a good lease, or any lease, how are you supposed to know what terms to try to get in yours?”, was the question posed by Pennsylvania landowner Ron Stamets in The Times article.

Today, we will ask Ralph to describe some of the pitfalls in leasing gas and oil and how landowners can avoid the problems and still benefit from the natural resources found on their land.

AFOA members will tour the Alabama Oil & Gas Board and Alabama Geological Survey in Tuscaloosa on Friday afternoon, April 20. Landowners will be able to inspect drilling records on or near their land. Be sure to register for AFOA's 31st Annual Meeting when you receive your February issue of the association newsletter, Capital Ideas.

Phone: (251) 438-4848


Amanda Hamsley Lang

Hear Conference


Will Biomass Demand Alter Goals?

Amanda Lang is Managing Editor of Wood Bioenergy US and leads bioenergy research for Forisk Consulting LLC (check out the Forisk Store of services). Amanda is an expert on supply and demand of bioenergy. So, it wasn't a surprise to learn that the National Alliance of Forest Owners commissioned Forisk to study the potential wood market impacts that might be caused by a growing demand for bioenergy. Would the demand for bioenergy raw materials be so great that forests might be destroyed or made incapable of providing environmental and other public benefits? Might bioenergy stumpage prices push up general stumpage prices and even cause landowners to alter their forest management in ways that might harm future pulpwood or sawtimber supplies? The report, Woody Biomass as a Forest Product: Wood Supply and Market Implications, covers a lot of ground, but you may be interested in the following quote from the Executive Summary.

Forisk Consulting also conducted an analysis to determine how much woody biomass markets in the South must evolve to affect landowner decisions with respect to harvest rotations. Forecasted pine pulpwood prices in the South in 2016 would have to increase from $11.47 per ton to higher than chip-n-saw prices of $17.09 per ton for landowners to be economically indifferent between a pulpwood-dominated forest and a sawtimber-dominated forest. Across the South, bioenergy demand would have to increase 435% by 2016, from an expected 22 million green tons a year to 120 million green tons per year, for pine pulpwood prices to reach $17.09/ton. This level of bioenergy demand in the region by 2016 is extremely unlikely. In comparison, the forest industry in the South consumed 103.3 million green tons of pulpwood in 2010. Biomass energy wood use will have to be high enough for a sustained period to maintain high pine pulpwood prices to cause a shift in landowner behavior. At the same time, competing higher-valued product prices would have to remain at prices low enough to incent switching from pulpwood to sawtimber rotations. Once established, these prices would have to remain economically feasible for over 23 years to incent multiple pulpwood rotations on the same property. Overall, the analysis suggests that a significant shift from sawtimber to pulpwood rotations in the South is highly improbable.

Phone: (478) 396-0704




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