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MAY 2014 News Conference for Forest Owners
Sponsored by the Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc.
This Conference was recorded on May 21, 2014

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.


Rep. H. Morgan Griffith

Hear Conference


Acre In, Acre Out

Morgan Griffith represents the 9th U.S. Congressional District in Virginia, but he has introduced a bill into Congress that should please many private forest landowners in Alabama. Do you remember when the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service wanted to expand a tiny wildlife refuge in central Alabama by acquiring 100,000+ acres of private land? Or maybe you remember David Peterson who, earlier this year, helped halt an attempt to create a huge National Park in the Mobile/Tensaw Delta? Neither of those pushes to increase federal control of Alabama land would have been feasible if Rep. Griffith's Acre In, Acre Out legislation had been in effect when they were in the news. Acre In, Acre Out (HR 4423) "would require the Federal Government to sell an acre of land it already owns for every new acre of land that it acquires." And best of all, "Proceeds from the land sales would go towards paying down our national debt," not set aside to buy more land. Rep. Griffith would like other members of the House to co-sponsor Acre In, Acre Out. Find contact information for your U.S. House member here.

Phone: (202) 225-3861


Don R. Parrish

Hear Conference


Every Drop of Water to be Regulated?

Don Parrish is the Senior Director of Regulatory Relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, a well respected rural issues oriented organization with 6,061,469 member families. We called Don after we read a Farm Bureau May 12 press release which stated, "Capitol Hill voices join call for EPA to ditch proposed Clean Water Act rule." "Hundreds of Republican and Democratic lawmakers are joining farmers, ranchers and other landowners in challenging EPA's recently proposed 'Waters of the U.S.' rule, which could ultimately lead to the unlawful expansion of federal regulation to cover routine farming and ranching practices as well as other common private land uses, such as building homes. Published on April 21 in the Federal Register, the more-than-111,000-word 'Waters of the U.S.' proposed rule reflects EPA's latest interpretation of the 1972 Clean Water Act."  "The threat of ruinous penalties for alleged noncompliance with the Clean Water Act is also likely to become more common given the proposed rule's expansive approach. For example, the EPA's disputed classification of a small, local creek as a 'water of the United States' could cost as much as $187,500 per day in civil penalties for Wyoming resident Andrew Johnson."

"Where the Clean Water Act has previously defined [waters of the U.S.] as those that are navigable or are significantly connected to navigable waters, the proposed rule would include smaller waters and even some dry land in the definition of 'waters of the U.S.' " Source: What will actually be different under the proposed rule?

Send comments on how you might be affected by the proposed changes to the definition of "waters of the U.S." to on or before July 21, 2014. Include EPA–HQ–OW–2011–0880 in the subject line of the message.     88 page April 21 Federal Register - Proposed Rule

Phone: (202) 406-3667


Dr. Yanli Zhang

Hear Conference


Acreage Measurements with Google Earth (free version)

Yanli Zhang is Assistant Professor at the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Yanli teaches six GIS related courses and has been a regular contributor to The Forestry Source, a tabloid read by many professional foresters.

Dr. Zhang's article in the April 2014 issue of The Forestry Source, Using Google Earth for Forest Management, caught our eye. First, we liked the authors' understanding that some of us might not be interested or able to afford expensive software to create maps of our land. They used the free version of Google Earth in all the procedures described in the article. Step by step, they walked us through the procedure of drawing a line around a pond on the Stephen F. Austin campus, taking the drawing (a KML file) to another free program called KML Tools (published by the University of New Hampshire), and there, calculating the size of the pond. They checked the accuracy of the area calculation by comparing the Google Earth/KML Tools measurement to the area of the pond calculated by walking along the edge of the pond with a high-end GPS unit. The results were within a few percentage points. The authors also suggested using the Historical Imagery Tool in Google Earth to learn when plantations were established or blow-downs may have occurred. Forest owners interested in the history of their land may find old homeplaces or other long-gone structures on old imagery.

More possibilities from accessing old imagery:

Phone: (936) 468-2157


Neil Schroeder

Hear Conference


Woodland Cooperative Focuses on Products, Sales, and Imagination

Neil Schroeder is President of the Oregon Woodland Cooperative. "The Oregon Woodland Cooperative is a group of over 70 private, family forestland owners in Oregon. Since 1980, OWC members have helped other members to improve their ability to sustainably manage their woodland and to market their woodland products over the long term. We grow a variety of wood and non-wood products in our own forests, and we use them to create many different products to heat your home (firewood), to decorate your surroundings (boughs, rustic furniture), and improve personal health and well-being (essential oils, bath products and aromatherapy). We bring you 'Natural Goods from the Oregon Woods.' " Among other things, the co-op sells firewood through local grocery stores, including Whole Foods. Visit their shop. And be sure to take the time to watch the videos on the Co-op's "Our Story" webpage. The video on the left will give you all sorts of ideas.

The U.S. Small Business Administration on Cooperatives.

Phone: (503) 628-2344


Russell Holmes

Hear Conference


All Terrain Bridges

Russell Holmes is the Manager of All Terrain Bridge, a subsidiary of New South Access and Environmental Solutions, based in Madison, Mississippi. We saw a photo of one of All Terrain Bridge's Light Duty bridges in an outdoor magazine and thought, "That bridge would solve our access problem in Talladega County."

Phone: 877-448-4282


Dr. W. Patrick Cumbie

Hear Conference


Greater Revenue Potential from Improved Pine Genetics

Patrick Cumbie is Manager of Pine Development at ArborGen, Inc., a "leading developer of biotechnology tree seedling products and one of the largest providers of conventional and technology enhanced seedlings to the forestry industry." ArborGen operates seven SuperTree Nurseries in the U.S., including one in Selma, Alabama.

Patrick co-authored an article that appeared in Forest Landowner in September/October 2013 entitled, Genetics Case Study - Value Validated for Landowners. Here are a few excerpts from the article:

Seedlings from different genetic families appear to be the same when in the nursery, however, the stands they grow into are anything but identical. Today, landowners can choose among numerous levels of genetic categories. These “genotypes” and their associated productivity and financial gains differ widely and represent an important opportunity for landowners. Unfortunately, the choice of the type of seedling genetics is not a priority for many landowners due to a lack of education on the topic or a lack of confidence in how the trees will perform.

Family CP-1 [control-pollinated] was exhibiting a growth rate of 9.5 green tons/acre/year compared to the OP [open pollinated] families that ranged from 7.57 to 8.22. The combination of superior growth rate and high quality stems is the basis of the financial returns that are possible with control-pollinated trees. ... the CP-1 stands had higher volume per acre, have higher sawtimber potential and will generate much greater revenue at final harvest.

Control-pollinated seedlings clearly have the potential to create enormous value for forest landowners willing to aggressively practice progressive forest management. With this analysis of realistic estimates of the validation of control-pollinated seedlings’ delivered value, and the continuous improvement in forest genetics, new control-pollinated plantations will likely exceed the estimates we have presented in this article.

Phone: (843) 851-5085 (or cell? 718-5262)


Edward G. McDermott, CPA

Hear Conference


Record Keeping for Small Woodland Owners

Gray McDermott is a Certified Public Accountant with the firm Crow, Shields, Bailey, PC. With April 15 now in the rear-view mirror (for most of us), we thought it would be a good time to discuss the records forest landowners should keep related to their forest investments.

Gray suggests we keep records related to the acquisition of our timberland and records related to our timberland operations.
     Establishing a basis in land and timber at the time of acquisition might reduce your income tax bill when you sell timber. "For example, if timberland is purchased, then closing statements and other records associated with the purchase like survey costs should be maintained. If timberland is acquired as a result of gift or inheritance, then the type of records needed to determine basis would be an appraisal of the property in the case of inheritance or donor basis records in the case of a gift." 
     Records of day to day operations are important, too. "For current operations, owners should capture those records such as timber cruise data, revenue documents in the form receipts for sale of timber and associated logger or mill tickets identifying species and volume of timber harvested, hunting lease and other miscellaneous revenue. Additionally, disbursements should be recorded to allow for categorization as either expenses or capital improvement. At a minimum, a check register with support documents such as vendor invoices should be maintained. These records will allow your tax preparer to identify the depletion deduction available, expenses incurred and elections to make in order to minimize your tax bill."


Phone: (251) 343-1012


Prof. Thomas G. Harris, Jr.

Hear Conference


Timber Mart-South Stumpage Report

Tom Harris is the Publisher of Timber Mart-South and a Professor at the University of Georgia. "Timber Mart-South publishes quarterly and annual reports used by private companies, consultants, landowners, and others to assess market prices in the U.S. South," and has been surveying and reporting timber prices since 1976. Today we'll ask Tom about the impact of the wood pellet export market on Alabama timber markets as well as the effect the closing of International Paper's Courtland (north Alabama) paper mill is having on landowners in its former wood purchasing area. We'll also ask him about the future of softwood sawtimber markets in Alabama.


Phone: (706) 542-4756



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