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MARCH 2015 News Conference for Forest Owners
Sponsored by the Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc.
This Conference was recorded on March 18, 2015.

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.


Dr. Salem G. Saloom

Hear Conference


Proposed Merger of Alabama Forestry Commission and Alabama Dept. of Agriculture and Industries

Salem Saloom is an Award Winning Tree Farmer in Conecuh County, a Commissioner of the Alabama Forestry Commission, and a retired Surgeon.

First, some background. About a year ago, Senator Arthur Orr sponsored a bill in the Alabama Senate that would have merged the Alabama Forestry Commission into the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (See AFOA News Page, 3/11/14). The bill, SB411 failed in 2014. At the time we couldn't see any particular efficiencies that the bill would bring about, and, like many others, questioned the rationale behind the merger. In early January 2015 we heard rumors that Senator Orr would again sponsor a merger bill, but repeated emails and phone calls to the senator went unanswered. Then on March 10, 2015, the Senator introduced Senate Bill 203, a bill that would eliminate the Alabama Forestry Commission and move all of its personnel and assets into the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (to be renamed the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Consumer Services). Earlier this year we wrote to an AFOA member: We "...can't see how the merger will save any money, since all parts of the Commission will be retained. Like the law enforcement merger, it seems that forestry interests will be shortchanged with an AFC/Ag & Industries merger."

Today we asked Salem to help us understand the potential effects of the proposed merger. His response included questions as well as answers:

  • What are the benefits to forestry by placing the state forestry agency under the Department of Agriculture?
  • What are the benefits to forest landowners of placing the state forestry agency under the Department of Agriculture?
  • Will the passage of this bill make it easier or more difficult for the state forestry agency and their volunteer fire department partners to protect my forestland from wildfire?
  • What efficiencies will passage of this bill add?
  • What money savings will there be with passage of this bill?

Click here for Alabama Senate and House contact Information

Phone: (251) 867-6464


Bob Russell

Hear Conference



High Demand for White Oak Staves

Bob Russell is Head of Wood Procurement for Jack Daniel Stave Mill, Brown-Forman Cooperage. Today we asked Bob to describe the cooperage business, its staying power as a user of white oak logs, and timber specifications.

Stave Wood in the News: At Frank Miller, Quartersawn Hardwood, we read: "The cost of the quartersawn White Oak barrel as a factor in the selling price of a bottle of Bourbon is insignificant. This allows the stave producers to consistently outbid Quartersawn mills for logs. No one is predicting how high log costs will go in the coming weeks, months and years, but expect to see price increases for lumber and flooring on a regular basis. Maintaining timber sustainability remains a primary goal for the hardwood industry. This foretells of a continuing battle for a resource whose volume is constrained." At FarmWorldOnLine, we read: "According to the Kentucky Distillers Assoc., 1.2 million barrels of bourbon were produced in the state in 2013." In January 2015, AFOA talked to sawmill wood buyer in Knoxville, Tennessee, who said that stave logs had recently sold for as much as $3,000 per thousand board feet (mbf) - a very high price, indeed. To put $3,000/mbf in perspective, Timber Mart-South reported that pine sawtimber stumpage in Alabama sold for about $188/mbf during the 4th quarter of 2014. The wood buyer may have been exaggerating, but everyone agrees that stave logs are selling at a very high premium.

From Paul C. Varga, Chairman & CEO of Brown-Forman, 2014 Annual Report:

"In fiscal 2014, the company’s underlying net sales grew over 6% (4% as reported), five percentage points ahead of the 1% growth rate we estimate for our global competitive set on the same measure. Similarly, Brown-Forman’s underlying operating income growth of 11% (8% as reported) significantly exceeded our estimate of our competitive set’s growth of 2%. While we have a solid track record of producing results that have generally exceeded our well-performing industry, the degree of outperformance in fiscal 2014 is the most dramatic I’ve observed in many years. Let me share some thoughts on what I believe underpinned Brown-Forman’s performance edge in fiscal 2014." 

More background information:

Phone: (931) 980-4313


Dr. Daniel C. Dey

Hear Conference


Regenerating & Growing White Oak

Dan Dey is Project Leader and Research Forester for the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station His research lab is located at the University of Missouri - Columbia. Since the whiskey barrel business may be around for a while, we thought it might be useful to ask an expert how to regenerate and grow white oak trees. Dan Dey came to us highly recommended as an expert in the ecology and silviculture of white oak. Dan is concerned that many forest landowners harvest their oak timber without preparing for the next generation - oak re-generation, that is. "The key to sustaining white oak at current levels of stocking is to have large white oak advance reproduction in place when you harvest to release it so it can grow into the overstory." After the timber harvest, the advance reproduction needs a little help. Competing vegetation may need to be controlled with herbicides or mechanical means or burning. Oaks need to dominate the other vegetation if they are to survive and thrive, which could mean repeated efforts to control the competition.

We also asked Dan about the Fire in Eastern Oak Forests Conference that will take place in Tuscaloosa on May 27-29. He said, "Oaks historically have a long relationship with fire, for thousands of years, and recently we have been learning about how to use fire to favor oak species in managing forest, woodland and savanna communities. The conference has two days of talks where noted authorities will present the latest know-how on using fire in oak management. Speakers include scientists and managers. There is also a field trip day where you can either learn about longleaf pine or upland hardwood management."

Further Reading:

Phone: (573) 875-5341 ext. 225


Dr. Rebecca J. Barlow

Hear Conference


High School Forestry Field Camp at Auburn

Becky Barlow is an Alabama Cooperative Extension System Specialist and Associate Professor at the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. Becky is also Lead Faculty Advisor for the second annual High School Forestry Field Camp at Auburn University.

Forestry Field Camp: July 5-10, 2015

Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) and Auburn School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences (SFWS) are offering Forestry Field Camp in 2015! Alabama has a wealth of forest related natural resources. It is the third most forested US state – two out of every three acres in Alabama is forested! This hands-on camp will give students an opportunity to get outdoors and learn about forestry in Alabama and the importance of forestry field measurements in making forest management decisions.

Taught by ACES and SFWS forestry professionals, Forestry Camp is open to high school students ages 15-18. Students will learn how to take forest tree measurements, sample forests for inventory information and use a professional grade GPS for a geocaching adventure around Auburn's campus. Camp will conclude with a fun forestry conclave activity where students have the opportunity to compete in technical events such as compass and pacing, and tree diameter and height estimation to showcase their newly acquired skills.

Students will experience campus-life while residing in Auburn's resident dormitories, eating at campus dining facilities, and enjoying evening social and recreational activities. Camp participants will have 24/7 counselor supervision.

Tuition is $635 per person and covers all instruction, housing, meals, transportation fees, and recreational activities. Enrollment will be limited to 25 students so register early.

Letters to AFOA from satisfied parents:

"My 16 yr old son attended the Forestry Camp at Auburn University this past week and very much enjoyed it. He said that he learned a great deal and is excited about using his knowledge. We highly recommend this camp. I learned about the camp in the [AFOA] monthly newsletter and wanted to let you know that it was well conducted and highly informative."

"My 15 year old son attended the forestry camp and he strongly endorsed it. He said the instructors were "quality" as were the facilities. He learned a lot and had a great time. He enjoyed the small class size and they learned a lot of practical information. Becky Barlow and John Kush are to be commended for making this 'long talked about' idea a reality."


Phone: (334) 844-1019


Joe Harwood

Hear Conference


LandGlide App - Names of Property Owners Across USA

Joe Harwood is Principal and Partner at Real Estate Portal USA, LLC, based in Cleveland, Ohio. While attending the Alabama Agribusiness Legislative Reception last week, an AFOA member reported that he had found a great iPhone App that gives him the names of landowners as he drives through the countryside. "LandGlide is better than that App you wrote about in Capital Ideas newsletter." A quick visit to the App Store and LandGlide was up and running. Within two or three minutes we had located several tracts of timberland (including property lines) and found the names of all the neighbors. We called Real Estate Portal USA and talked to Joe Harwood about LandGlide and he said they are improving the data access everyday. Joe also told us about Parlay, a desktop version of LandGlide that overlays property maps and owner names on Google Earth. LandGlide is a bit pricey at $9.99 per month, but for some users it will be well worth it. The good news is LandGlide is available for a 30-day free trial, so everyone can take it for a test ride, with no obligations.

Phone: (216) 712-7779


Dr. Brooks Mendell

Hear Conference


Most Commonly Used Forest Management Practices

Brooks Mendell leads Forisk Consulting LLC's research and forecasting program. During a recent email exchange with Brooks, we learned that Forisk has been conducting biannual surveys (2012 and 2014) of forest management practices across the South. The results have been published as Forest Resource Association (FRA) Technical Releases (see links to 2012 & 2014 reports below). Before you read those technical reports, however, we recommend you meet Aunt Fanny.

“You’ve got yourself an overstocked stand of loblolly pine trees,” I said.

“What does that mean?” she asked.

“You have too many trees,” I said. “Your forest needs a thinning.”

             Source: Forest Finance: Aunt Fanny Thins Her Forest

FRA Technical Reports:

Upcoming Forisk Class: Timber Market Analysis in Atlanta, Georgia, August 4, 2015

Phone: (770) 725-8447


Joseph W. Eiland

Hear Conference


Direct Seeding Loblolly Pine

Joe Eiland owns and manages Eiland Forestry & Real Estate, a forest management and real estate sales firm located just outside Birmingham, Alabama. A few weeks ago, Joe called the Alabama Forest Owners' Association office to offer 4 pounds of treated, stratified loblolly pine seed to anyone who would use the seeds. If the seed is spread on recently logged (scarified) or burned areas, 4 pounds would be enough to regenerate about 10 acres. While direct seeding isn't commonly used, it offers an inexpensive method of regenerating a clearcut or burned area if the seedbed is properly prepared such that the seeds will fall on bare mineral soil. 

Treated, stratified loblolly seed can be purchased from Louisiana Forest Seed Company, Inc. or Southern Seed Company ( for $50 to $55 per pound, 1 pound minimum order. Orders should be placed at least 30 days ahead of sowing to allow time for stratification. The best time to sow loblolly is about the end of February through March -- "once the threat of frost has passed."

For Further Study:

Phone: (205) 655-0191


Dr. Cathryn H. Greenberg

Hear Conference


The Many Benefits of Young Forests

Katie Greenberg is a Research Ecologist with the Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management Research Work Unit, a part of the Southern Research Station, within the USDA Forest Service. Forest owners who want to encourage a wide variety of wildlife on their land should pay close attention to Dr. Greenberg's work. In Young Forests Can Benefit Wildlife by Caroline Ketcham, we read:

“Diverse habitat structures lead to a diversity of wildlife,” said Greenberg. “If your forest consists of only mature habitat, then you won’t get species that require early successional habitats. If it’s only early successional habitats, then species that favor mature forest won’t thrive there.”

If the goal is to create biodiversity, then having a wide variety of habitats for species to live in is key. The best strategy for biodiversity may be “if you build it, they will come.” Instead of targeting each individual species for protection, create a diverse landscapes with different habitats for a diversity of species, and the rest will follow.

In many forests, including some national forests, the amount of young forest habitat has declined over the past several decades. Several factors, including fire suppression, reduced timber harvesting and agriculture have reduced the availability of early successional habitats.

The good news is that, with help from scientists like Katie Greenberg, we are learning more and more about the benefits of young forest habitat and how we can create more of it.

For Further Reading:

Sustaining Young Forest Communities: Ecology and Management of Early Successional Habitats in the Central Hardwood Region, USA by Greenberg, Collins, Thompson, and McNab.

Phone: (828) 667-5261 ext. 118



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