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NOVEMBER 2012 News Conference for Forest Owners
Sponsored by the Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc.
This Conference was recorded on November 28, 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 Prior News Conferences.


John R. Cooper

Hear Conference


Repairing Alabama's Rural Bridges & Roads

John Cooper is the Director of the Alabama Department of Transportation. He was appointed to that state cabinet position by Governor Robert Bentley. We asked him to tell us about a program to fund the repair of roads and bridges in Alabama, but first a little background information.

Unless you are in the logging business or are a forest owner whose land and timber are locked behind a weight-limited bridge or impassable rural road, you may not be aware that there are about 1,300 bridges in Alabama with weight restrictions of 15 tons (a loaded log truck will weigh 40 tons or more). If your land is behind one of these restricted bridges, timber hauling costs will be higher and stumpage payments to you will be lower, sometimes considerably. To "assist counties and cities across Alabama as they work to meet the transportation needs of their local areas," Governor Bentley originated the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP). Backed by nearly $1 billion of future payments of Federal Highway funds, ATRIP will pay up to 80% of bridge and road repairs. Federal rules require that local governments must pay 20% matching money to secure the ATRIP funds, and there's the rub. Many counties do not have money available for the match and have not applied for ATRIP help. "Accordingly, working with the Association of County Commissions of Alabama and the Alabama League of Municipalities, the ATRIP Committee has developed [a proposal] to establish [the Rural Assistance Match Program] RAMP as a means to aid counties and cities with the necessary matching funds to replace eligible bridges posted for school bus traffic as well as other projects meeting ATRIP criteria. An essential element to the establishment of RAMP will be the enactment of legislation enabling ALDOT to sell bonds utilizing future State Gasoline Tax receipts to provide the local match for participating counties. The legislation will be introduced during the 2013 regular session in the Alabama Senate by Senator Paul Bussman and in the House of Representatives by Representative Mac McCutcheon. The legislation will be actively supported by Governor Robert Bentley, Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey, Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh and Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard." Counties wishing to participate in RAMP must inform ALDOT in writing no later than January 9, 2013.

Poorly maintained rural roads and bridges cost forest landowners loss of income and loss of property value. In some cases, landowners are discovering that their timber has no commercial value because there is no way to legally access their property. If you want to improve bridge and road maintenance in Alabama, AFOA suggests working with Ray Clifton, Alabama Loggers Council: (334) 481-2130 or

Phone: (334) 242-6776


Patrick J. Raffaniello

Hear Conference


The Fiscal Cliff from the Forest Landowner's Perspective

Pat Raffaniello, as a Principal in Raffaniello & Associates, "advocates in Washington, DC, on behalf of his clients' legislative and regulatory matters." We learned of Mr. Raffaniello's Washington expertise in an e-Newsletter of the Forest Landowners Association. He had briefed the FLA board of directors on Tax and Budget Issues for the Lame Duck Session at their October 3 board meeting. Unfortunately, Congress and the President seem no closer to solving the fiscal cliff problems today than they were on October 3. What might happen to estate tax rates and exclusions? "Does the will I wrote two years ago need to be updated?" "Should I make a quick sale of timber or land before January 1?" "Is this a good time to give land or other property to my kids?" "Does Congress really care about my problems? Does the President?"

Pat has created 5 slides (click here) on the following topics:

    1. Without Congressional Action Before 12/13/12

    2. Lame Duck Session

    3. Likely Outcomes in Lame Duck

    4. If There is an Agreement to Avoid the Cliff

    5. If There is No Agreement to Avoid the Cliff

The following list is taken from his first slide:

  • Pre-2001 income tax rates return, maximum 39.6%
  • Phase-out itemized deductions & personal exemptions
  • Marriage penalty returns
  • Higher withholding on January 1, 2013
  • Millions hit by AMT (starting 1/1/12)
  • Maximum capital gains rate goes from 15% to 20%*
  • Maximum rate on dividends goes from 15% to 39.6%*
  • Estate tax is reinstated with $1 million exemption and 55% maximum rate
  • Payroll tax holiday ends (tax increase of 2%)

Phone: (202) 544-8737


Dr. Andrew Morriss

Hear Conference


Silent Spring at 50

Andy Morriss is the author or coauthor of more than 60 book chapters, scholarly articles, and books and is the D. Paul Jones, Jr. & Charlene Angelich Jones Chairholder of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law. We were pleased to learn that one of the co-editors of a new book that explores the "historical context" of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, "the science it was built on, and the policy consequences of its core ideas," lives just down the road in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. From the book jacket of Silent Spring at 50: The False Crises of Rachel Carson, we read, "Carson made little effort to provide a balanced perspective and consistently ignored key evidence that would have contradicted her work. Thus, while the book provided a range of notable ideas, a number of Carson's major arguments rested on what can only be described as deliberate ignorance." Silent Spring at 50 "reveals the dangers of substituting sensationalism for fact, and apocalyptic pronouncements for genuine knowledge."

More about the Silent Spring at 50

Buy the Book

Phone: (205) 348-9715


Dr. James D. Haywood

Hear Conference


Longleaf Toppling May Be Stopped with Copper

Dave Haywood is a Supervisory Research Forester for the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station, Pineville, Louisiana. About 6 or 8 years ago, we noticed some of the 5 year old longleaf trees we had planted as container seedlings had tipped over after a storm. The stems had not snapped; the trees just seemed to have tipped over at the ground level. We asked a knowledgeable friend about it and he said, "It's called toppling. Not to worry." Now researchers Dave Haywood, Mary Anne Sayer, and Shi-Jean Susana Sung have come forward with information that may prevent toppling. We think you will find it interesting and hope nurseries will be able to adopt some or all of their findings.

For Further Study:

Phone: (318) 473-7226


Michelle A. Isenberg

Hear Conference


Forest Growth Improved Through Use of Herbicides

Michelle Isenberg is an expert in herbicide prescriptions and recommendations and is in partnerships with both a distribution company and an application company, respectively, Herbicides Plus LLC and Custom Air. Herbicide recommendations, herbicide popularity, and new herbicide availability make for a constantly changing landscape in Michelle's business. We thought it would be good to hear what the experts are using to help landowners with tree planting and site preparation needs, as well as other vegetation management problems we may have on our land.

Michelle's References: 

Phone: (256) 749-3261


George F. Kennedy

Hear Conference


Boundary Surveys: Technology Update

Frankie Kennedy is President of C & C Surveying, Inc., based in Jasper, Alabama. Frankie was referred to AFOA by a Walker county forest owner during a discussion on the new technology used to map properties and resolve boundary line disputes. We work and play with our cell phones and iPads everyday, so it isn't surprising that some of the same mapping technology available in those gadgets is available to the folks who locate our property corners and property lines. We asked Frankie to tell us about his business and about the changes that have occurred since the GPS and GIS revolutions began. We were especially interested in how the new technology can be useful to us, his clients.

Reference Information:

Phone: (205) 275-1518


David Stone

Hear Conference


Growing & Marketing Pole Timber

David Stone is a Pole Timber Buyer for Cahaba Timber Company, one of the world's largest manufacturers of pressure treated utility poles, based in Brierfield, Alabama (Bibb County). If you don't know the difference between a pine tree that will make a power pole and one that can only be sawn into 2 x 4s and 2 x 6s, take a look at AFOA's December 2012 newsletter. In the upper left-hand corner of page 2, you will find Timber Mart-South Power Pole prices compared to Sawtimber prices. For the 3rd quarter of 2012, average Alabama sawtimber stumpage was selling for $23.94, while average Alabama Power Pole stumpage was selling for $52.09. Times are tough in the sawtimber business right now, but even when homebuilding was doing fine, say back in 2006, 3rd quarter Timber Mart-South average Alabama power pole stumpage was selling for $72.44 a ton compared to pine sawtimber stumpage at $43.53 per ton. The management practices you apply to your pine stands make a difference; power poles do not appear by magic.   

Suggested Reading & Viewing:

Phone: 1-888-219-9183


Sara S. Baldwin

Hear Conference


Timber Mart-South Market Report

Sara Baldwin is Senior Editor and Assistant Manager of Timber Mart-South, a timber price reporting service housed at the Warnell School of Forest Resources, The University of Georgia. We asked Sara to give us a market update and were really impressed with what she, along with Timber Mart-South Publisher Thomas Harris, Jr., and Jonathan Smith and Robert Simmons, TMS editors, put together for us. We know you will be happy to have available this wonderful collection of graphs on Alabama stumpage prices from 1976 to the present and imagine that you will be referencing them for a long time.

From The Wall Street Journal, 11/2/12, we read:

The extensive rebuilding that is expected in the wake of Sandy's devastation is adding kindling to an already-hot market for lumber.

Prices of lumber futures, which kept trading through the storm, jumped 5% to $319 per 1,000 board feet over the past week, reflecting expectations of higher demand as homeowners and government officials across the Northeast wrestle with the challenge of renovation and reconstruction. Lumber futures are now at their highest level since March 2011, after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

The gains brought lumber's rise in October to 14%, its biggest monthly rally in almost two years. Lumber is now up 29% in 2012, outpacing other industrial materials and commodities, including copper, oil, gold and natural gas, even though Chinese demand is faltering.

The sudden need for building materials comes at a time when lumber already is in demand and inventories are low, thanks to a recent rebound in new-home construction in the U.S. That is likely to keep pushing prices even higher, investors and analysts said.

"The bottom line here is that there's a wave of demand," said Chris Palmer, a lumber trader at American Lumber Distributors & Brokers Inc. in Birmingham, Ala. "There's more housing coming."


TAKE A LOOK AT THE GRAPH OF LUMBER FUTURES CONTRACTS: Lumber Gets Pricey in Wake of Sandy and Housing Recovery, Woodworking Network, 11/12/12

Phone: (706) 542-4760




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