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MAY 2015 News Conference for Forest Owners
Sponsored by the Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc.
This Conference was recorded on May 20, 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.


Rep. Tom Reed

Hear Conference


Private Property Rights Caucus Formed in U.S. House

Tom Reed is a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 23rd District of New York, and he is the Founder of the Congressional Private Property Rights Caucus. It has become an almost everyday occurrence for us to read about an infringement of property rights by government in the name of protecting a snake or a bat or a puddle. "Imagine if this country tackled the problem of homelessness by passing a law that allowed the federal government to force homeowners to house homeless people and shoulder all of the costs."

Reed, along with thirteen other Members of Congress, including Mo Brooks of Alabama, established the Caucus on May 4, 2015. "The inaugural event for the Caucus focused on how government actions are affecting Americans across the country and began to identify solutions to protect private property rights."

“The purpose of the Private Property Rights Caucus is to educate Members of Congress and their staff on the importance of property rights to a free society, how landowners across the country are being impacted by government action and to raise awareness of the issues Congress must address to protect Americans’ rights to their property.” 

If you have a story about infringement of private property rights, send it to Mr. Reed. You may also want to thank Rep. Mo Brooks for his participation in the Caucus or encourage your House Member to join the Caucus.

Supporting Information:

Phone: (202) 225-3161
Email: Caucus Staff Leader


State Auditor Jim Zeigler

Hear Conference


Stop Taxpayer Funded Campaigns to Increase Property Taxes

Jim Zeigler is Alabama State Auditor. He has been in the news a lot lately because he thinks it is wrong for public agencies, like the Baldwin County School Board, to use tax dollars to campaign for higher property taxes. In a hotly contested Baldwin County property tax referendum, it was variously reported that the school board spent as much as a million dollars to urge residents to raise property taxes in the county. The increase was soundly defeated.

Please read the following press commentary:

Phone: (334) 242-7010


Thomas C. Donald

Hear Conference


Fixing an Adverse Possession Problem

Tom Donald owns timberland in DeKalb County east of Mentone. His family also owns timberland in St. Clair County on Big Canoe Creek.

A landlocked landowner had an easement by necessity to enter his land through Tom's property.

     According to Tom, "The user of the roadway on the easement by necessity, however, wanted to continue to use the roadway forever, even though he now had another, easier way to reach his land. So he sued the owner of the land over which the roadway ran, claiming an easement by prescription. He argued that he had graded the roadway and had cleared drainage ditches along the sides of the roadway. He argued that he had used the easement adversely because he had not obtained permission to do these things from the owner of the land over which the easement ran.
     "Even though there was no evidence that the owner of the land objected to the maintenance of his roadway, or was otherwise not pleased with the way his roadway had been used, the trial court ruled that the user of the roadway had 'earned an easement by prescription' to use the roadway forever because of his 'adverse' activities."
     The Supreme Court of Alabama, in case #1130875, recently affirmed the decision of the trial court.

Tom contends that the decision by the Supreme Court illuminates a serious inadequacy in Alabama law. For that reason he has enlisted the help of Rep. Jim Carns (Dist. 48). On May 7, 2015, Carns introduced House Bill 626. Note the highlighted text on page 4 of the bill. This bill adds the following paragraph (d) to Alabama Code Section 6-5-200: "(d) Use of real property made pursuant to licenses, servitudes, implication, or created expressly by implication, or by necessity may not be construed as adverse to the interest of the owner of the real property."

If you agree with Tom, he would appreciate it if you would contact your senator and representative and ask them to support the legislation, House Bill 626.

For Further Study or Review:

Phone: (205) 720-0263


Brock Alekna

Hear Conference


Plat Books in the Digital Age

Brock Alekna is Marketing Manager at Rockford Map Publishers, publishers of county plat books in Alabama and 19 other states. Plat books contain property maps and ownership information that is useful to a variety of users - timber buyers, real estate agents, beekeepers, prospective land buyers and many others. Now the old paper plat books are being replaced by electronic versions that can be accessed on tablets or smartphones. Rockford Map Publishers produces two products that may be of interest to you.

eBook is a digital county plat book (.pdf) that is identical to the printed plat book. Features include facing page aerial images, linked index map, searches by owner name, magnification, highlighting, measurements of distances, property perimeters, and areas, adding comments, map area selection for cutting and pasting into emails, and printing map pages or the entire book. The eBook User Guide includes Tutorial Videos and a short video overview of eBook.

MobilePlat is a seamless, geo-referenced plat map (.pdf) that is designed for use on smartphones and tablets with Avenza’s free PDF Maps app (iOS and Android). Features include: Import Maps to Your Device, Access Maps Offline, Add and Customize Placemarks, View Your Location, Record your Route Using GPS, Find Coordinates, Measure Distance and Area, Highlight Parcels, Open in Maps app, Find Places, and Export Placemarks and Lines. The MobilePlat User Guide includes Tutorial Videos and a short video overview of MobilePlat.

Additional Links:

Phone: 800-321-1627


Bernard Geschke

Hear Conference


Progressive Agriculture Safety Day

Bernard Geschke is the Program Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation with the majority of his time spent training and assisting more than 500 volunteer coordinators as they conduct Safety Days each year. With his help, the program reaches more than 100,000 kids and volunteers each year in the United States, Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. AFOA has known about the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day Program for many years and we frequently list Safety Day programs in various Alabama counties. If you have small children or grandchildren, we suspect you worry every time you take them for a ride in your UTV, walk past a big dead snag, or see a cottonmouth slide into a creek.

     "These one-day events teach children lessons that help keep them and those around them safe and healthy. While the basic program is designed for 8- to 13-year-old children, Safety Days may adjusted to accommodate younger children or entire families.
     "Safety Days can be open to the entire community or they may be customized for specific schools, or classes. Currently the majority of our Safety Days operate as part of a school day, with support from the teachers, principals and school superintendents. Many school systems request that the Safety Day be held annually.
     "Most Progressive Agriculture Safety Days are planned for 100 to 200 participants. However, some experienced coordinators have held well-planned and well-staffed Safety Days that have reached as many as 1,300 participants effectively.
     "At a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day, participants are divided into small groups of 10 to 15 that rotate between stations where lessons outlined in the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day Topics and Activities Manual are taught. To facilitate learning, educational, age-appropriate and fun hands-on activities and demonstrations are part of each lesson."

Information Available on the Safety Day Website:

Phone: (402) 331-3868


Emily Merritt

Hear Conference


Tick-borne Diseases and Prevention

Emily Merritt  is a Graduate Research Assistant at Auburn University's School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences and will soon begin working on ticks and tick-borne illnesses in Alabama. Some of the tick-borne diseases, like lyme disease, are quite serious, so it's worth a few minutes of your time to learn how to prevent tick bites and what to do if you are bitten. Emily sent lots of links to interesting websites with tick identification, disease descriptions, tick removal, tick bite prevention, and more. Taping pant legs shut, wearing long-sleeved shirts, and applying repellent that contains 20% or more of DEET are all good things to do. Showing this little comic strip to kids might help them be more careful when out in the woods.

We looked through all of Emily's website suggestions and made a few comments below. Check them out. You'll probably find lots of information we missed in our hurried first review.

Emily and her research team need your help. To carry out three years of research on ticks and tick-borne diseases in Alabama she would love to receive donations for the following:

  • Pathogen analysis: $24,000
         More funding = more TBIs studied
  • Travel costs: $15,000
         Car, food, lodging
  • Materials and supplies: $5,000
         Safety #1 concern
  • Foliar Analysis: $2,000+
         More funding = more samples

Phone: (631) 294-7953


Eric Johnson

Hear Conference


Interactive Forest Management Plan

Eric Johnson is the Editor of Northern Logger & Timber Processor, a monthly trade publication, plus he edits two quarterly magazines, Wisconsin Woodlands and National Woodlands. But today we asked him to wear his woodland owner cap (his mother owns 280 acres in Wisconsin) to tell us why and how he created a Digital, Interactive Forest Management Plan. Eric wrote to us in an email:

Years ago, when the Internet was just getting started, I read somewhere that "hyperlinks" were the key to making it all work so well. True enough. This is just a way of hyperlinking pages within a document. Once that's laid down, it's all about the quality of the content--photos, graphics and text. I think the format allows for much more creativity and utility in drawing up and maintaining a forest management plan, and as I said at the conclusion of the article (see link below), the technical "challenge" is a good way to get younger family members involved, and hopefully that involvement will stimulate further interest in the idea of forest management.

If you have a forest management plan or if you are thinking of writing a forest management plan, Eric's article is a must read:

Phone: (315) 369-3078


Sara S. Baldwin

Hear Conference


Stumpage Market Report

Sara Baldwin is a Senior Editor and Assistant Manager of Timber Mart-South, a timber price reporting system with price reports dating back to 1976. Sara lives in a world of market indicators and market reports. In the Timber Mart-South ~ Market News Quarterly, 1st Quarter 2015, she wrote:

Market Indicators

US manufacturing and employment grew in the 1st Quarter of 2015, supporting continued economic recovery. Wood products manufacturers reported business expansion in two of the three months this quarter while pulp and paper producers reported expansion in all three months. However, some market conditions have moderated expectations.

  • Southern pine lumber prices eased downward this quarter but remained at a relatively high level.
  • Hardwood lumber prices decreased further this quarter, down from last year’s record levels.
  • Pulp prices moved slightly lower this quarter while paper and paperboard production was stable.
  • Residential building construction continued to grow, supported by the increasing strength in the economy and low mortgage rates.
  • Fuel prices and other producer costs moved downwards.
  • Volatile stock markets repeated last quarter’s pattern, reaching new highs only to drop back again.
  • Labor relations broke down at ports in the US West in February, as well as at a few oil refineries, but agreements had been reached by the end of the quarter.
  • Uncertainty remains over the long term effects of low oil prices as well as slower international economies, including China.

Sara has packed a wealth of information into the following reports:

Phone: (706) 542-4760



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