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News, Issues & Information

 

(07/19/24) Germany's Dying Forests Should Be Wake-up Call for Forest Landowners Everywhere. Planting trees of one species and one age-class over vast areas is an open invitation to insect infestations and disease outbreaks. DW Planet A's 13 minute video offers advice to all prospective tree planters. Hinting that global warming might be to blame for this giant human error is their folly.

(07/18/24) Southeastern Logging Trends, with Dr. Joe Conrad, Associate Professor of Forest Operations, University of Georgia, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2024 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 55 minutes.

(07/17/24) A Time to Plant by Consulting Forester Billy Rye was published in Cooperative Farming News, Winter 2024.

(07/16/24) "But mostly we chatted - about his friends, his classes, his goals for the future, my hopes for his future." Read more about a mom planting trees with her family, from The Christian Science Monitor, 6/2/03.

(07/15/24) US lumber market chaos -- why is the market slumping? "In May, housing starts were down about 5.5% and the expectation is that there’s not going to be many more gains in housing until mortgage rates start to inch lower."

(07/12/24) Improving thinned loblolly, longleaf and slash pine stand growth with a herbicide or a fertilizer treatment – making the right choice by Dr. David Dickens, Professor, Forest Productivity, University of Georgia, may be the answer to your problems. But... we suspect many forest owners facing a serious lack of demand for their pine timber may turn a thumbs down on any investment costs that might make their trees grow faster.

(07/11/24) Timber Theft? Logger Cutting Over the Line? Call your Sheriff. Or call the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's Alcohol and Rural Crime Unit (ARCU). Contact information for ARCU agents.

(07/10/24) Invasive Plants Refresher and Newcomers to Look Out For, with Dr. Nancy Loewenstein, Alabama Extension, Auburn University, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2024 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 62 minutes.

(07/09/24) POSTED! NO TRESPASSING! Alabama Forest Owners' Association has two different No Trespassing signs available for the use of members and the hunters who lease their lands. Our orange sign is primarily for landowners who aren't leasing their land for hunting. Our yellow sign is used by landowners and hunters to let people know that the land is leased to hunters. Hundreds of thousands of the signs mark the property lines of our members.

(07/08/24) Marshall Thomas, President of F & W Forestry Services reported this week in F & W Forestry Report, Summer 2024, on the stumpage market outlook, about biofuels from pulpwood ("rumors without much substance"), about potential large penalties for non-compliance with a new law on corporate transparency (pay attention if your land is held in an LLC or similar entity), and  mergers that "have  the potential to reduce competition for the trees we grow."

(07/05/24) News that may have an effect on your property values:

(07/03/24) We enjoy many privileges in the United States of America, not least of which is the right to own and manage forestland. While most of us will celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence tomorrow with fireworks, maybe some homemade ice cream, maybe a slice of fresh watermelon, we hope you will take a minute to remember those whose courage made our celebration possible

(07/02/24) Save Money on Property Taxes by Assessing Your Land with Current Use. Read: What's So Special about Special Use Valuation? A Chronicle of Current Use by John Allen Nichols, Alabama Farmers Federation Agriculture Counsel, Neighbors, July 2024. Also learn more at Department of Revenue: About Current Use and Current Use Application Form.

(07/01/24) "A new website called www.seekalabama.com (Seek AL) is designed to be an endless resource where [you] can find out what Alabama’s outdoors has to offer, including an interactive map to explore locations for specific activities." "The website addresses that common phrase 'I didn't know that was in Alabama,'" [T.C. McLemore, Innovate Alabama’s Executive Director of the Outdoor Recreation Programs] said. "Now, folks are going to know what is in Alabama, both Alabamians and those who are considering a move to Alabama."

(06/27/24) What's Eating My Seedlings? Arborgen's Dr. Paul Jeffreys answers: Deer eat "newly planted pine seedlings, primarily due to a lack of natural browse availability. If you’ve planted seedlings within the last few years, you can attest that they are some of the most expensive deer food available."
     Evidently, deer are eating a lot more than pine seedlings. Take a look at the agenda of "Alabama Deer Abatement in Crops" meeting that took place this morning in Montgomery. The apparent leader of the meeting was Steven Hague.

(06/26/24) Forestry's Impact in Alabama is Impressive -- $36 billion annual economic impact, 123,623 direct, indirect and induced jobs that exist because of the industry. Forest owners should look at those numbers with pride and recognize that without the millions of trees we grow each year, Alabama's forest industry would cease to exist.

(06/25/24) Do you have children or grandchildren who are wondering what they might do with their lives? Forestry Works has some suggestions for someone who wants to stay in touch with forests, but may be interested in the manufacturing aspects of the forest industry. Here's a list of ideas:

  • Crane Operator
  • Forest Products Processing Manager
  • Heavy Equipment Operator
  • Human Resources
  • IT Specialist
  • Log Grader
  • Millwright
  • Procurement Forester
  • Sales Representative
  • Saw Filer
  • Scalehouse Operator
  • Truck Driver
  • Welder
  • Cabinet Maker
  • Carpenter
  • Furniture Maker
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Industrial Electrician
  • Mechanical Engineer

(06/24/24) Inflation of the dollar, whether purposely caused by the Federal Reserve or haphazardly caused by a spendthrift Congress, is a tax on wealth. "With 10% inflation, the average family can expect to lose 7% of its lifetime income to government," explains John Goodman, Goodman Institute, in his essay, The Inflation Tax. Some of us remember the Carter years -- inflation in 1980 was more than 12 percent.

(06/21/24) How Do You Recruit Wood-based Businesses? "Join this webinar to increase your understanding of the process of recruiting businesses for forestry and more. This is the second webinar in a four-part series on Wood-based economic development." Speakers: Greg Barker, President, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and Veronica Crock, Senior Project Manager, Alabama Department of Commerce. Sponsored by Southern Regional Extension Forestry (webinar landing page). About 64 minutes.

(06/20/24) Hunting Liability Insurance. If you worry that someone who hunts on your land might cause you to be sued (hunter falls from tree stand, wife sues you; young hunter drives ATV off bridge, mother sues you; deer hit by car, driver sues you), you should probably consider using AFOA's Hunting Liability Insurance. About 4,000 landowners use the policy to protect themselves and tens of thousands of hunters on more than two million acres.

(06/19/24) Repeal the Death Tax. Senator Tuberville weighs in on the importance of repealing the Federal Estate Tax. Source: YellowHammer, June 18, 2024.

(06/18/24) New Forest Succession Planning Workbook: "North Carolina State University has released a new landowner-friendly interactive workbook to assist with succession planning. The 40-page workbook includes ... an introduction, information on why succession planning is important, instructions for using the worksheets, helps estimate asset value, and details on how to pursue an estate plan." Source: Southern Regional Extension Forestry News Digest, Week of June 10, 2024.

(06/17/24) Spring Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) Trapping Results Not Good. The Alabama Forestry Commission monitors SPB each spring using pheromone-baited traps. "Alabama numbers are up significantly compared to last year’s spring trapping results, so it is possible that we may have an active summer in some locations. Forest Service trapping results in east Alabama on the Talladega National Forest were exceptionally high (off the chart in one ranger district). We will certainly need to focus some early aerial detection efforts in the northern half of the state." Source: TreeTopics, June 2024. Check SPB Map for results in your area (as of this date (6/17/24), no monitoring flights have been posted to the AFC webpage). See also: State of emergency declared after Mississippi forests hit hard by pine beetles, drought.

(06/14/24) Where Do We Go from Here? Fostering Purpose in the Rising Generation, Both In And Out of the Family Business: "However, as families move further into the next generations, there may be signs of shifts in values and priorities. This can emerge from an alternative outlook on the world, a desire to experience things differently, or even subtle or not-so-subtle resistance to the environment in which they were raised."

(06/13/24) Four Mushroom Forays Planned by Alabama Mushroom Society: June 15 - Baldwin County, June 15 - Elmore County, June 16 - Madison County, and June 22 - Jefferson County. Learn more in their June newsletter.

(06/12/24) Kentucky's Woodland Owner Short Course began yesterday (sorry - recording may be available), and includes 5 online sessions and a field session (in Kentucky). "The online sessions raise awareness of key woodland/wildlife issues and provide examples of how to best address these issues. Field sessions showcase real world management applications to further emphasize what was learned during the online sessions. Registration for online sessions only is $10 and registration for online sessions and 1 field session is $25 per person or $35 per couple. Learn more by clicking here. Register here."

(06/11/24) The Woman Landowner Academy, a six-week program for women managing family forestland in the southeast, starts July 16, 2024. "Wouldn’t it be awful to find out down the road what you sold your land and timber for was really worth 5x, 10x, 100x the value you received from that 'cash now' offer?"

(06/10/24) Auto Manufacturers, Combat Vehicles, Ships and Planes lead the list of Alabama's Largest Manufacturers. Paper mills, which used to be at the front of the list, now trail along near the rear.

(06/07/24) The American Landowner, May 29, 2024 Episode featured Arborgen's Dr. Paul Jeffreys Comparing the Pros and Cons of Different Pine Tree Seedlings. Podcast: about 61 minutes.

(06/06/24) Demand for Hunting Land is Huge! Members of the Alabama Forest Owners' Association may list their land on www.HuntingLand.bz for free. Yesterday we listed 120 acres in central Alabama and the landowner immediately began receiving calls and emails; he leased the land in less than 24 hours.

(06/05/24) Significant Expansion of Alligator Hunting Season in Alabama: "We have a growing alligator population throughout the state that has allowed our staff to look at more opportunities for hunters to expand some of the areas and increase the number of tags," [Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship reported to the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board on May 18]. "The areas are larger, and we’ve added some bonus tags this year to encourage people to take more smaller alligators instead of waiting for that one big one and not being able to fill their tag at all. All in all, it will be about a 192% increase in the number of tags. It’s substantial."

(06/04/24) "SIGNED INTO LAW: Alabama Abolishes Income Taxes on Gold and Silver." "Alabama Governor Kay Ivey[, on May 14, 2024,] signed a bill that removes all income taxes on capital gains from the sale of gold and silver, enabling the state to take an important step forward in reinforcing sound money principles." Source: Money Metals, 5/18/24.

(06/03/24) Insect Repellents: "Over the years, one thing has become clear from Consumer Reports’ testing of insect repellents: When in doubt, go with deet." Source: Consumer Report, 5/19/24.

(05/30/24) Expanding Forestry Markets - How is it done? Gary Faulkner, Forest Economic Development Specialist, Alabama Forestry Commission, was the featured speaker for this May 21, 2024 webinar, sponsored by Southern Regional Extension Forestry. About 65 minutes.

(05/29/24) Chestnut Challenges: "...a mix-up in the lab has sparked a veritable civil war in the [chestnut] niche conservation community," and "...he'd spent years planting the wrong tree." Read: The Problem With Darling 58: The fight to save America's iconic tree has become a civil war.

(05/24/24) Predators May Have Less & More Impact Than You Think, with Mike Conner, The Jones Center at Ichauway, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2024 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 56 minutes.

(05/23/24) Do Subsidy Payments and Free Management Assistance to Forest Landowners Have a Place in Our Society? To a low-income, hard worker who pays taxes and may not yet own his own home, a forest owner with 40 acres is a rich guy. Read more from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity: No More Welfare for the Rich, 5/15/24.

(05/22/24) The Advantages of Hiring Your Minor Children for Summer Jobs. Source: DeLoach, Barber & Caspers, P.C., Certified Public Accountants, 5/22/24.

(05/21/24) Goats and Sheep Are Commonly Used to Reduce Fire Hazards, but Sometimes Goats Go Rogue. A Master Goat Producer's Certification Program is scheduled for July 31 through August 2, 2024 at Tuskegee University's Goat Farm (link and dates to be corrected soon).

(05/20/24) "U.S. House and Senate Introduce Legislation to Repeal Small Business Ownership Registry," reported the National Federation of Independent Business last week. Repealing the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Rule will be important to forest owners whose land is held in a corporation, LLC, or other similar entity.

(05/17/24) That smell of smoke in the air is a signal from Canada to let us know that mismanagement of millions of acres of government owned forestland is sending jobs and investment capital to Alabama and other Southern States. Read: BC Council of Forest Industries urges action on mill closures, and, Hundreds of jobs affected as Canfor makes cuts in northern B.C.

(05/16/24) Forisk News, Q2 2024 Edition: Learn more about "The Other Pellet Producers: North American Domestic Market," plus many other market updates from Forisk Consulting.

(05/14/24) Private Working Forests Support 2,496,697 Jobs with a Payroll of $109,423,739,002 in the U.S. Learn more with the National Alliance of Forest Owners' Private Working Forests in Your State Interactive Map.

(05/13/24) Warrantless Searches of Private Land Unconstitutional, Appeals Court Rules. "State officials in Tennessee cannot conduct warrantless searches of private [land], the Court of Appeals of Tennessee ruled unanimously on May 9. The ruling applies to private land under 'actual use' via fencing, farming, posting, gating, hunting, fishing, camping, or other activities."

(05/10/24) Prescribed Burn Associations: Increasing and Improving Your Acres Burned, with Ryan Mitchell, Tall Timbers, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2024 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 62 minutes.

(05/09/24) Goods from the Woods: How is Lumber Made? is a two and a half minute video produced by the North Carolina Forestry Association. Share with a friend or a grandchild.

(05/07/24) Land Buyer Mistakes and Tips to Avoid Them: Part 1. Pat Porter, owner and broker at RecLand Realty points out some of the pitfalls when purchasing land with a seller-financed loan in this 4 minute video. Source: LandThink, 4/30/24.

(05/06/24) Like-Kind Exchanges: Last month, Forest Landowners Association joined 34 other national associations in support of preserving long standing tax rules governing like-kind exchanges (LKEs). The April 10 letter encouraged policymakers to reject proposals, such as those in President Biden's budget, to restrict the use of LKEs.

(05/03/24) Consulting Forester/Wildlife Biologist Mark Thomas was the guest of Mossy Oak's Gamekeeper Podcast earlier this week. Here's what they wrote about the interview: "This week we’re thrilled to be joined with one of the most interesting and well versed wildlife and forestry professionals we’ve ever met, Mark Thomas. Mark's insane resume proves he’s been exposed to more than can be explained in one podcast. We have a fun discussion and look back at what he has learned over his lifetime of managing properties for enhanced wildlife experiences to help the average guy be a better Gamekeeper. You’ll learn about ecotones or edges, QVM, hunting pressure, fire ants, turkeys, herbicides, limbing roads, sanctuaries, tarsal glands, agricultural food plots, could you be burning too much, timber management and much more. We guarantee you’ll learn something and laugh more than normal. Listen, Learn and Enjoy."

(04/29/24) Property Tax Increases Proposed for Autauga County (HB 450) and Wilcox County (HB 489). The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB Legislative Links, 4/26/24) alerted us to the bills.

(04/24/24) Last week at the Forestry Field Day at Pine Ridge of Alabama, Bence Carter stood in a newly planted field of warm season grasses and described the value of that type of wildlife habitat. The three publications he brought along to show us were:

(04/23/24) Promoting Bird Habitat in Working Forestland, with EJ Williams, American Bird Conservancy, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2024 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 61 minutes. Also, we think you will enjoy reading a 12-page booklet by EJ and Jeremy Poirier, Bird Friendly Forests: Opportunities for Private Forest Owners in the Southeastern United States.

(04/22/24) Domestic and Global Hardwood Market Update: "The COVID pandemic impacted markets for U.S. hardwood lumber in unprecedented ways, and its aftereffects have led to a global slowdown in hardwood markets. This presentation will look at current hardwood market conditions, what led to them and how they compare to the impacts of the Great Recession over a decade ago." Tim Knol, Northern Editor, Hardwood Review, was the featured speaker for this April 18, 2024 webinar, sponsored by Southern Regional Extension Forestry.

(04/19/24) The conversion of private forestland to publicly owned forestland continues in Alabama with our Forever Wild program spending millions on land every year. Please read Timber crisis has implications for environment, economy and climate by Nick Smith, Capital Press, 4/16/24, and see if you can see how Forever Wild might lead to similar problems for us in Alabama.

(04/18/24) F&W Forestry Report, Spring 2024, features articles on European Union deforestation regulations, an interesting review of recent tree planting, and more. The Report, as usual, is a good read. Enjoy.

(04/15/24) Legislation in Montgomery on Health Plan, Property Tax Increase Cap, and Carbon Sequestration (Pore Space) were all featured in the April 12 issue of ALFA's Capitol Connection. Editor's note: We're not sure what it will be used for, but we noticed that the Alabama Treasure Forest Association (part of the Alabama Farmers Federation) will receive $60,000 from the Education Trust Fund (HB 145). 

(04/12/24) Wood Fuel Pellets from Dothan "will soon be heading overseas." Peak Renewables' joint venture with Rex Lumber "will run 100% on dry shavings." Source: Biomass Magazine, 4/10/24.

(04/11/24) "$115 million sawmill planned for Coosa County, creating 130 jobs" -- and a new market for pine sawtimber in central Alabama. Source: AL.com, 4/11/24.

(04/10/24) Tax Calculator: How the TCJA’s Expiration Will Affect You: "Congress has less than two years to prevent tax hikes on the vast majority of Americans from taking place. That’s because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, a tax reform law that simplified individual income taxes and reduced tax rates across the income spectrum, is set to expire. If Congress does nothing, most Americans will face higher taxes, worse incentives for work and investment, and a more complicated tax system starting in 2026." Source: The Tax Foundation, 3/12/24.

(04/09/24) The difficulty you may have faced when trying to sell timber may not only be caused by a simple over-supply of timber. The American Loggers Council suggests much bigger problems in "Is the forest products industry in crisis?" Source: Woodworking Network, 3/27/24. Editor's note: 10 or 15 years ago, AFOA's timber buyers list contained more than a thousand potential buyers. Today it contains less than 400.

(04/08/24) Cash is a Favored Method for Purchasing Land, say respondents to the February LandThink Pulse. "33% of respondents indicated that if they were buying land today, they would forgo financing and pay all cash. Coming in a close second, 28% said they would pay more than 20% as a down payment."

(04/05/24) The winners of the 2024 Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest have been announced. "The diversity of Alabama's landscapes, native plants, wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities make it a photographer's paradise," said Chris Blankenship, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner. "From the mountains in north Alabama to the state's Gulf Coast, the winning images in this year's Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest highlight the natural beauty of our state. Congrats to all of the winners!" Click here to see the winning photographs.

(04/04/24) Pandemic Whiskey Boom Turns To Hangover. "Brown-Forman reported dismal sales over the winter holiday season and the hangover has lasted into 2024. 'Christmas stunk,' Chief Executive Lawson Whiting said on a call with analysts in early March." Source: ZeroHedge, 3/31/24. See also (behind paywall): Jack Daniel's Flowed During the Pandemic. Now Comes the Hangover, Wall Street Journal, 3/23/24; and, Jack Daniel's Finds Demand Is on the Rocks, Wall Street Journal, 3/28/24. Editor's note: Will the price of white oak stavewood (for whiskey barrels) follow Jack's decline?

(04/03/24) The "greed and envy tax is completely irrelevant to the revenue-raising function of our tax system." Read more from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity: Why, Oh Why, Do We Tax Death in America?, 4/2/24.

(04/02/24) The Long-Term Capital Gains Tax Rate in Alabama is 5 Percent. Not too bad. But what if you moved to California and then sold your forestland (or shares of stock)? The long-term capital gains tax rate in California is 13.38%. The rate in Tennessee is zero. Read more from the Tax Foundation at State Tax Rates on Long-Term Capital Gains, 2024.

(04/01/24) Who owns the empty space underground after oil and gas have been extracted?
     Since the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 gave huge "tax credits and tax benefits for capturing carbon dioxide and then 'storing'" it deep underground (see comments from Oil & Gas Board General Counsel Marvin Rogers), the question of ownership of the underground "pore space" has become very important.
     Senate Bill 230, introduced March 19 by Senator Greg Albritton, would give the pore space to surface owners.
     AFOA member John Christopher, Jr., a minerals and surface owner in Choctaw County, wrote to AFOA on March 28: Senator Albritton "wants the State to declare that all subsurface pore space be ceded to the surface owner and to allow pipeline right of ways across surface owners to the re-injection wells." The bill would be "...damaging of mineral owners interest and the damage it may create if commingled with residual reserves."
     In letters to Senator Bobby Singleton and Representative Brett Easterbrook, AFOA member Judge J. Lee McPhearson wrote: "This issue will soon be a very important issue to the people in Choctaw County as there are going to soon be efforts made to build a pipeline from counties north of Choctaw County into Choctaw County." McPhearson also noted that SB230 "places a potentially huge financial obligation on the State of Alabama to assume all financial obligations and liabilities that may arise should environmental issues arise with the storage of carbon dioxide in 'pore spaces'."
     May 3, 2024: Legislature passes bill to store CO2, other gases underground, YellowHammer.

(03/27/24) Is a Tiny House Just What You Need on Your Land? "From minimalist cubes to charming wood cabins, ... modular tiny homes show that downsizing doesn't mean compromising." Shona Jackson shows us more than a dozen tiny home ideas in This cozy red cabin takes just 3 hours to build. Source: yahoo!life, 2/27/24.

(03/26/24) All About Mushrooms: Alisha Millican, President of the Alabama Mushroom Society, joined Jonathan Goode on The Land Show, Episode 432. Alisha described the many activities of the Mushroom Society including hikes in the woods to find mushrooms (forays). AMS website. Alisha's interview begins at 4:57 and runs to about 24:01.

(03/22/24) "Legislation aimed at giving Alabama Farmers Federation members a reasonably priced option for quality healthcare was introduced Tuesday. ... 'There is a gap in affordable health insurance for farmers and others who aren’t covered by employer plans but do not qualify for federal subsidies,' said Federation President Jimmy Parnell." Source: Capitol Connection, March 22, 2024.

(03/21/24) Memories Celebrated, by Davon Cook, The Dispatch, March 2024. "Now may be the time! I’ve heard heartfelt regrets of 'we never got it done'."

(03/20/24) Britt, Tuberville assail proposed regulation that threatens paper, pulp producers: "The regulation, called the European Union’s Deforestation-Free Regulation (EUDR), would impose costly reporting requirements for American companies in the forest products industry that export to the European Union (EU) and serve as a barrier to international business." The Europeans have never met a regulation or a certification program that they didn't love.

(03/19/24) "Solar blackout: Supervisors [in Halifax County, Virginia] put halt on applications for now after crowd descends on meeting." "We are now around 1% in Halifax County under solar panels. Where does it stop?" asked Stacy Long, member of We the People of Virginia, Inc.

(03/18/24) Effects of Changing the Season of Burn in Longleaf Pine Systems, with Dr. John Willis, Southern Research Station, U.S. Forest Service, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2024 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 57 minutes.

(03/15/24) Exposure to the Woods: Bringing Newcomers to the Forest Industry: Maine's Eric Kingsley tells us about how he introduced a new high school graduate to the wood industry. A nice story to leave you with on this warm Alabama Friday.

(03/14/24) "Timberland has been the top untapped asset class, but it has emerged as an appealing investment choice for astute investors who want to diversify their portfolio of investments. It is a resilient class with a track record spanning over three decades, it delivers stable long-term returns." Source: LandThink, 1/23/24.

(03/13/24) Silvopasture 6-Part Webinar Series produced by Southern Regional Extension Forestry has been recorded and is ready for viewing. Topics are:

(03/12/24) Deer Management and Forestry BMPs: "This virtual self-paced course aims to provide technical information on specific techniques, including forestry best management practices (BMPs), used to enhance and preserve white-tailed deer habitat on forested land." Questions? Want to get started? Contact James Johnson at james.johnson26@uga.edu.

(03/11/24) Property Tax Cap Legislation Moves Forward: "Legislation aimed at capping annual tax increases was reported favorably out of the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee [last] Wednesday. HB 73 by Rep. Phillip Pettus, R-Killen, would cap annual ad valorem tax increases at 5% for Class II commercial and business property and Class III residential, agricultural, forestry and historic property as substituted by the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee. Other Southern states have enacted similar measures. Between 2021 and 2022, the average Class III increase was 13%, with some counties seeing jumps of 20-42%. A companion bill, SB 110 by Sen. David Sessions, R-Grand Bay, has been assigned to the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee. The legislation will be voted on by the House following [this] week's break." Source: Capitol Connection, 3/8/24.

(03/08/24) "Money is a very powerful thing, which you hardly notice when it goes right, but which can create havoc when it goes wrong.” Milton Friedman. Is it time to have that talk? "Are You Financially Literate? Answer These 5 Questions to Find Out."

(03/07/24) Environmental Protection Agency's New Air Quality Standards May Create Challenges for Prescribed Burning. Fewer burn days available is one likely result of the changes. A factsheet on the EPA’s implementation of this rule can be found here. Driptorch Digest also summarized the recent updates. See also: Senator Tommy Tuberville and 32 Other Senators Send Demand Letter to EPA.

(03/06/24) Today's Timber Prices Don't Matter, states Forest Research Notes, Vol. 20, No. 4. "Today’s timber prices are important for timber that is expected to be harvested now, but they are not very important for timber that is going to be harvested in 10 or 100 years. Forest economists can provide reasonable estimations of what prices might do in the near future, but cannot predict shocks (which seem to occur every 10 years or so) and are really not very good at forecasting prices 25 or 50 years from now." Archive of all Forest Research Notes.

(03/05/24) How to: Reintroduction of flames in a fire-excluded landscape, Tall Timbers, 12/12/23. "Southern pine stands that have undergone fire exclusion become overgrown and dominated by woody plants and lack the habitat needed to support game and non-game species alike. But reintroducing fire to these landscapes isn’t as easy as heading off into the woods with a drip torch."

(03/04/24) SBI: On the Case of Rural Crime, Neighbors, March 2024, described the theft and partial recovery of farm equipment (trucks, trailers). Another case that SBI thwarted was described by forest owner Dr. Greg Smith on AFOA's Capital Ideas - Live!, 2/14/24. Smith reported that an SBI agent contacted him to let him know someone was trying to sell his (Smith's) land. The crime was prevented.

(03/01/24) "Prescribed Fire Near Power Lines Could Zap Your Wallet," says Lindsay Thomas, Jr., National Deer Association, 2/16/24.

(02/28/24) Are There Lenders That Accept Land As Collateral? "Land owners that either want to acquire additional rural land or to cover land improvement expenses, such as building ponds, barns, etc., often use the equity in their land as collateral for a land improvement loan." Keith McKinley, Alabama Ag Credit, will tell us some success stories of landowners using timberland as loan collateral at our Annual Meeting on April 17.

(02/27/24) Valuing Standing Timber on Small Acreage. Real estate broker Pat Porter gives sound advice to those who own or are thinking of buying a small timber tract. Source: LandThink, 2/13/24. If you decide to follow one of his suggestions - Use A Forester - you can find a consultant who works in your part of the state at www.ForesterSearch.com.

(02/26/24) Property Tax renewals will be on Monroe County ballots on March 5. Up to 10 mills. A 20-year decision. Montgomery County voters will be asked to reinstate an expiring 3.5 mill tax. This tax will be in effect for 30 years.

o   Sample ballots for all counties

(02/23/24) "How to Keep ATVs from Riding on Your Property" was the most popular story on NWOA's Wednesday Woodland Word in 2023. Click here for AFOA's "No Trespassing, Posted" signs.

(02/22/24) Online Forest Landowner Academy Course: "The University of Florida ... is offering an online Forest Landowner Academy suitable for landowners in Florida and in neighboring coastal plain regions of Georgia, Alabama, and as far as Mississippi, Louisiana, and eastern Texas. This is a self-paced course that provides quality core educational content on forestry and multiple-use stewardship concepts. Forest landowners will gain comprehensive knowledge and skills related to forest resources that they can use in their land management and planning. Topics include identifying tree species, pine, hardwood, land use management for both solid wood and pulp products and non-timber forest products." 30% promotional discount available through Feb. 29. Promotion Code: SWDXWF

(02/21/24) "Don't Drop It on Alabama" Statewide Spring Cleanup could use your help. "Make Plans NOW for your City, County, School, Neighborhood or Volunteer Group to Join Volunteers from Every County in Alabama For the Annual Statewide Spring Cleanup!" Contact People Against A Littered State (PALS).
 

(02/20/24) Cogongrass Control Program Now Open for Applications. "Property with cogongrass infestations must be located in any of the 67 counties of Alabama, although the landowner is not required to reside on the property or within the state. There is no minimum or maximum acreage ownership requirement to enroll. It is a cost-free program."

(02/19/24) 1.4 to 3.7 Billion Birds Are Killed by Feral Cats Each Year. To learn more, watch The Ecology & Impacts of Free-ranging Cats on the Environment, a webinar presented by Dr. Christopher Lepczyk, Auburn University, College of Forestry, Wildlife & Environment. This is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2024 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 66 minutes.

(02/15/24) Morel Foray Planned for March: The February 2024 Newsletter of the Alabama Mushroom Society announced a Members Only Morel Foray in March, and their Third Annual Alabama Mushroom Faire at Noccalula Falls, October 26-27. Further down in the newsletter is an interesting article about periodical cicadas and the fungi that attack them. Good photos and graphics. Click here for membership information.

(02/13/24) A Basic Introduction to Forest Investment Analysis, by Curtis VanderSchaaf, may give you a better understanding of the variables that affect your forestland investment. Source: Southwest Mississippi Forestry Newsletter, November 2023. You may also find Texas A&M Forest Service's Timberland Decision Support System useful and fun to play with.

(02/12/24) Why The Future Of Wood Burning Stoves In Homes Is Uncertain. "There is certainly something nostalgic, earthy, and fascinating about using a wood-burning stove in your home. The sound of the crackling wood, the smell of the fire, and the ability to control your home's heating with a log or two make these stoves an attractive option to many. However, some states (Alabama not included) believe these stoves are causing too much pollution, and they're taking legal action to get some of them banned." Source: housedigest, 2/3/24

(02/09/24) Cap on Property Tax Increases: Alabama House Bill 73 would cap property tax increases to 3% per year for agricultural land, forestland, and owner-occupied dwellings, and 5% per year for other properties such as vacant lots, rentals, and businesses. Find your lawmakers' contact information here.

(02/08/24) Free Book for Schools and Educators: "The Geological Survey of Alabama, in partnership with Dr. Jim Lacefield and the Alabama Museum of Natural History, is offering a free copy of Dr. Lacefield’s book to schools and educators in Alabama. His book, entitled Lost Worlds in Alabama Rocks—A Guide to the State’s Ancient Life and Landscapes, is an excellent resource designed to give the reader a guided tour through Alabama’s diverse geologic history." Contact the Publications Office of the Geological Survey of Alabama, Camilla Musgrove or Eric Fair: write to publications@gsa.state.al.us or call 205-247-3636.

(02/07/24) "Fire is for the birds: Bird abundance doubled in severely burned areas of Southern Appalachia," reported the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station, 1/30/24. "Birds Prefer Areas Devastated by Wildfires," announced the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), 2/2/24.

(02/06/24) "[Alabama] Ag Commissioner Pate, other ag commissioners sound alarm on woke bank policies that could impact farmers, consumers," reports 1819 News, 1/29/24. "Net Zero Energy Could Mean Net Zero Food," warns Committee to Unleash Prosperity, 1/30/24. Editor's question: Have you checked on the ESG policies of your bank? See also: The Feds Gave Banks Tools To Shut Down Your Accounts If You Buy Guns or Bibles, The Federalist, 3/7/24.

(02/01/24) "Roundup Not Guilty!" reports the last paragraph of a January 30, 2024 NBC News article. But this is NBC's headline: "Bayer ordered to pay $2.25B after jury finds Roundup weed killer caused Pennsylvania man’s cancer."

(01/30/24) New Year, New Thresholds for Estate Planning, from Braun & Gresham, 1/22/24.
     "Each new year, the federal gift and estate tax exemption is adjusted based on inflation. For 2024, the exemption increased from $12,920,000 per individual to $13,610,000 per individual. A married couple can give up to $27,220,000 to children and others tax free.
     "An individual also can take advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion when making gifts to persons other than spouses without using up any of the federal gift and estate tax exemption. In 2024, the annual exclusion amount was raised from $17,000 per recipient to $18,000 per recipient. For example, one person can make an $18,000 gift to three different people for a total of $54,000 without incurring a gift tax or using part of the federal gift and estate tax exemption."

(01/29/24) Tax Tips for Forest Landowners - 2023 Tax Year (PDF) isn't the only useful information you'll find on the National Timber Tax Website. The website "was developed to be used by timberland owners, as well as a reference for accountants, attorneys, consulting foresters and other professionals who work with timberland owners regarding the tax treatment of timber related activities." The 2023 Tax Tips was included in AFOA's January issue of Capital Ideas, our monthly newsletter.

(01/26/24) Opportunity to Explain to Tree Huggers Why Markets for Low Quality Wood Support Forest Owners in Our Efforts to Grow High Quality Sawtimber, Veneer Logs, and Power Poles. The Truth About The Wood Pellet Industry: A Community Discussion, sponsored by the Dogwood Alliance, will be held in Demopolis on Tuesday, January 30 at 6 PM at The Ballroom, 114 East Washington Street, Demopolis, Alabama.

(01/25/24) Avoid Prescribed Fire Injuries with These Tips from a Physician and Woodland Firefighter. Hint: Fire is not the problem. Source: National Deer Association, Lindsay Thomas, Jr., January 24, 2024.

(01/23/24) Diapers from Pine Trees: In a 2-minute video, Domtar Paper's John Edwards describes how fluff pulp is made from pine trees.

(01/22/24) Alpha-Gal Syndrome: Allergic Reaction to Eating Red Meat, Consuming Dairy Products or Even Interacting with Substances like Gelatin from Tick Bite. One victim of AGS "explained that 'not being able to eat ice cream, trying to get used to almond milk, (exercising) extreme caution while eating (and) dissecting menus at restaurants' came with a heavy emotional toll." Read the whole article. The best/worst is past the half-way mark. Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/12/24. See also: https://alphagalinformation.org/.

(01/19/24) Rails to Trails: What Are the Landowner's Rights? The National Agricultural Law Center sponsored a webinar this week entitled, An Overview of Landowners' Rights in Federal Rail-to-Trail Conversions. About 58 minutes.

(01/18/24) F&W Forestry Report, Winter 2023-2024, has an upbeat market report on page 1 along with numerous timber price charts and market indicators. Enjoy.

(01/17/24) New York Stock Exchange Withdraws Natural Asset Companies. "Today, the Securities and Exchange Commission withdrew the proposed rule to approve the creation of 'Natural Asset Companies' on Wall Street," reported American Stewards of Liberty, 1/17/24. See 01/15/24, below.

(01/16/24) A Maple Syrup Production Industry in [Alabama], Probably Not, But Perhaps as an Infrequent Hobby. Source: Southwest Mississippi Forestry Newsletter, January 2024.

(01/15/24) Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall joined attorneys general from 24 other states on January 9 to send a "scathing letter" opposing Natural Asset Companies to the Securities and Exchange Commission. For background information on Natural Asset Companies (NACs), listen to the leader of the opposition, Margaret Byfield, discuss the problems posed by NACs to landowners and others on the Bill Walton Show, Episode 258, January 12, 2023.

(01/12/24) No trespassing means no trespassing, even for the government. In 2021, the South Dakota legislature passed into law "...the most private-property-protecting law in the country. The law is called the No Government Trespassing Act, and it protects private property owners from government agents trespassing on their land."

(01/11/24) Warning: Freeze Conditions Expected Across the Southeastern U.S. The Southern Forest Nursery Management Cooperative's Management Alert contains management implications:

  • We recommend waiting to plant seedlings until the daily highs are above freezing and the low temperatures have moderated.
  • Seedlings that were recently planted have likely not been established in the soil and could die.

(01/10/24) Interstate Migration: Alabama is among the top ten "inbound" states, according to the Tax Foundation. Editor's note: Will increasing population be good or bad for forest owners? Send me a note: RLL@AFOA.org.

(01/09/24) Luke Macaulay, University of Maryland, wrote to AFOA this morning: "We held a workshop last November titled 'Enhance Your Land for Wildlife', where we covered seven topics related to land management for wildlife. We've had a chance to edit and upload the speakers onto our YouTube channel and I wanted to share them with you."

  1. Shoreline management
  2. Wetland Management for Waterfowl
  3. Forest & Woodland Management for Wildlife
  4. Meadow & Early Successional Habitat
  5. Soil Conservation Districts and Cover Crops
  6. Funding for Habitat Improvement
  7. Prescribed Fire for Habitat

(01/08/24) Cooper Holmes talked about raking and selling pine straw on his family's land in Perry County on The Land Show late last year. Episode 419, brief interview from 52:25 to 55:07.

(01/05/24) The Toyota Tacoma pickup truck and the Jeep Wrangler were among the top 10 vehicles with the lowest depreciation rates over five years, according to iSeeCars.com, 11/6/23. Trucks were rated as a group with Toyota holding the two top spots.

(01/04/24) Politics Factor Into Where People Choose to Buy Land. "According to the November LandThink Pulse [Survey] results, a substantial share of Americans won’t buy land in a place where the laws conflict with their political beliefs. An overwhelming number of respondents (81%) indicated that they WOULD NOT buy land in state that did not align with their politics."

(01/03/24) Retirement savings last longer in Alabama. If you live in another state and you're considering moving back to Alabama, or if you live in Alabama and are considering moving to another state, you might benefit from reading, Here's how long $1 million in retirement savings lasts in every state -- and where it runs out the fastest, CNBC, 1/1/24.

(01/02/24) The Southern Christmas Tree Association's latest newsletter reminded members, "we are all in this together."

(12/29/23) Idea for your "Gift of Memories" (see below, 12/28/23): Creating a Hand-Hewn Dough Bowl. Source: Northern Woodlands, Winter 2023.

(12/28/23) Warning! Only 363 days to think about and come up with handmade gifts for the special people in your life. Please read Laurie Henry's The Gift of Memories in The December Dispatch: A Gallery of Gifts.

(12/27/23) Winter Cogongrass Identification, Monitoring, and Management is a webinar sponsored by the Southern Regional Extension Forestry presented on November 28, 2023. Chris Barnes, Georgia Forestry Commission, and Emma McKee, Longleaf Alliance are the presenters. Webinar portal. About 58 minutes.

(12/21/23) Game Birds. Just in case you want to release some game birds on your land, Alabama Quail Hunters sent the following list to their members last week:

Tuck Farms            Joseph Tuck                 Snead        205-960-5644
Bailey Farms          Sabrina Stanga/Steve Bailey Springville  205-382-4858
On Point Hunting Club Dylon Overdear              Speake       256-909-0075
A.D.A.M.S. Quail LLC  Adam Slaten                 Eva          256-347-6118
Zach Long             Zach Long                   Danville     256-221-8930

(12/20/23) Gifting: "My wife and I are both 75 years old and we own 700 acres with no debt. ... Every year we think about gifting, but we never do anything big. Sometimes I think we should give big and sometimes I think we shouldn’t do anything at all. What are the rules or the advantages and disadvantages of gifting?" Source: When is the best time to give large financial gifts?, Successful Farming, December 2023.

(12/19/23) Timber Harvesting Techniques, Part 1: Intermediate Harvests by Billy Rye was published in Cooperative Farming News, October/November 2023.

(12/18/23) Prescribed Fire for Upland Oaks (pdf) is a new publication written by Callie Jo Schweitzer and Daniel C. Dey, both research foresters with the U.S. Forest Service.

(12/15/23) About this time of year, lots of forest owners think about growing Christmas Trees. To help you make a decision, take a look at the National Christmas Tree Association's website and the Southern Christmas Tree Association's website. The Southern Christmas Tree Association will hold their 2024 Annual Meeting in Alabama at Lake Guntersville State Park, September 13-15.

(12/14/23) Human-Armadillo Conflicts in Alabama: Recent Research, with Olivia Sciandra*, Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 64 minutes.

(12/08/23) Own It! How to Develop a Family Enterprise Owner’s Mindset at Every Age. "This is the first book I read that gives a spot-on practical toolkit to help multi-generational business families develop the right ownership mindset."

(12/07/23) Agritourism Liability Law Helps Farmers Reduce Risk is an article in the December 2023 Neighbors magazine (scroll to page 6). For those of you who may want to invite the public onto your land for birdwatching, camping, hiking, etc., Alabama's Agritourism Liability Law may help you avoid a lawsuit if someone gets hurt on your property. Ask your lawyer for advice.

(12/06/23) Boise Cascade saves plywood operations, curtails lumber operations in Alabama. Source: Woodworking Network, 11/29/23.

(12/05/23) "Surface rights determine who owns the rights to the surface of the land, while mineral rights determine who has the right to mine the minerals below the surface of the property. Interestingly, mineral rights can be separate from actual land ownership. This can lead to some unique challenges for those looking to buy land." Read more: Mineral Rights: The Hitch That Can Halt a Sale, LandThink.com, 11/14/23.

(12/04/23) The Burning Question by Billy Rye was published in Cooperative Farming News, August/September 2023.

(12/01/23) Timber Tax: Landowner Issues and Considerations is a webinar sponsored by NC State Extension Forestry which was presented yesterday, November 30, 2023. Kevin Burkett, CPA, Assistant Director of Clemson Tax School, and Kurt Smith, Extension Specialist at NC State University are the presenters. Slides for the presentations are available on the webinar portal. About 66 minutes.

(11/30/23) A Deep Dive into the 2022 Cost and Cost Trends of Southern U.S. Forest Practices. This 54 minute webinar was hosted by Forest Landowners Association on 11/15/23 and featured Adam Maggard, Harry E. Murphy Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment, Auburn University. About 54 minutes.

(11/29/23) Timber Harvesting Systems, with Tom Gallagher, Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 61 minutes.

(11/28/23) Have people gone completely nuts? American Airlines has agreed to pay $100 per ton to have sawdust compressed into bricks and buried to lock up the carbon for "a thousand years." Smart sawmills, dumb airline. Source: The Verge, 11/28/23 and The Wall Street Journal, 11/28/23. The Journal is behind a paywall.

(11/22/23) Alabama again finds itself in the top position in CATO Institute's "Land-Use Freedom" category of its Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom.

(11/21/23) After the Storm: "Tornadoes and other severe storms have always been a risk to timber ownership. Unfortunately, there is no affordable insurance program for timberland owners of less than 100,000 acres. So, when timber damage occurs, owners are often left with three options; do nothing, salvage the timber, or take a loss." Source: Kingwood Forestry Services Summer 2023 Newsletter. Good article with several good examples.

(11/20/23) Drought Conditions May Impact Seedling Survival Across the South and Southeastern United States, Management Alert 23-01, Southern Forest Nursery Management Cooperative. Depending on the location where you plan to plant seedlings this year, it may be wise to wait for rain before planting.

(11/17/23) Alabama Forestry Commission Makes Changes to ‘No Burn’ Order. "With rainfall amounts varying across the state this week, the AFC is lifting the No Burn order (see details) in 33 counties in the southern half of the state (see map).

(11/16/23) Primer on the Effects of Fire in Eastern Oak Forests. "Fire creates an environment that allows the regeneration of oaks and other tree species and stimulates the germination of a diverse assemblage of herbaceous plants in the understory." 20 pages.

(11/15/23) The Ten Commandments for Better Bareroot and Container Seedling Survival, with Nina Dowling Payne, Southern Forest Nursery Management Cooperative, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 52 minutes.

(11/14/23) Improving Water Quality: Practicing Best Management by Billy Rye was published in Cooperative Farming News, June/July 2023. Alabama's Best Management Practices Guidelines.

(11/13/23) Biomass Leader Enviva Plunges Amid Debt Chaos, Replaces CEO. (Bloomberg) -- "Enviva Inc., the world’s largest producer of wood pellets for power plants, warned it may not be able to continue operating after losses surged."

(11/10/23) Alabama Hunters Make It Two in a Row with No Fatalities. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reported today: "Alabama hunters deserve a roaring round of applause for their safety awareness. Not only did hunters complete the 2021-2022 hunting seasons without any hunting-related fatalities, a first for Alabama since accidents started being recorded in 1974, they also repeated the phenomenal achievement with no hunting-related fatalities for the 2022-2023 seasons." Reports like this can help keep hunting liability insurance rates low. Encourage the hunters who lease your land to be safety conscious.

(11/09/23) Governor Ivey Prohibits Burning Statewide: She signed a statewide Drought Emergency Declaration which prohibits all outdoor burning in Alabama. The order became effective this morning at 8 am and will remain in effect until rescinded by the State Forester. No campfires, either.

(11/07/23) "Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Proposes to List Natural Asset Companies (NACs) on Wall Street." Our friends at American Stewards of Liberty, Margaret and Dan Byefield have urged AFOA to inform you about the issues surrounding NACs. An amendment to defund the SEC's proposed rule approving NACs will possibly be voted on in the US House today. Unfortunately, your editor is having a hard time understanding the significance of the recognition of NACs and how it might affect private forest owners. Please send comments to RLL@AFOA.ORG. Thanks.

(11/06/23) State renovations to Interstate 10 in Texas caused serious flooding on private farmland. Landowner sues state for damages. State won't pay. Case goes to U.S. Supreme Court. Read: A Texas Farmer's Case Heads to the Supreme Court—After the State Refuses to Compensate Him for Property It Destroyed, FEE, 10/31/23.

(11/03/23) Cellular Security Cameras: "For owners of remote or rural properties, a cellular security camera has emerged as a great solution to safeguarding homes, properties, and loved ones. Unlike traditional Wi-Fi cameras that rely on a stable internet connection, cellular security cameras operate independently, tapping into cellular networks to provide surveillance." While the linked article from Great Days Outdoors, 10/17/23, promotes one brand of camera, there are many on the market. Click here for ideas. Also, for further reading.

(11/02/23) Building Trails on Your Property with Ann Savage, North Carolina State University, is a 51 minute webinar recorded earlier today. Ann mentions an upcoming American Trails Association webinar. Click here for details of several.

(11/01/23) "I was horrified..." In the November issue of Virginia Forest Landowner e-Update, Extension Forester Jennifer Gagnon describes her first contact with a deer hunter as a child and her slow but steady conversion to someone who understands the need for hunting and who now enjoys eating venison harvested from her land. If you are a Bambi lover and find it hard to appreciate deer hunting, Jennifer's story is for you.

(10/30/23) The Mindset of a Forest Landowner: Buy Dirt. Enjoy listening to Jordan Davis and Luke Bryan as they help you understand, "If you want my two cents on making a dollar count, Buy Dirt." Read Pete Williams' take on "Buy Dirt" on page 5 of AFOA's Capital Ideas, November 2023.

(10/27/23) Fastmarkets (10/12/23) reports "a promising future for southern yellow pine." They project "US lumber consumption to grow by 18% through 2027."

(10/26/23) Five of the presentations made at our 2023 Annual Meeting have been posted to the web with more to come. They are:

(10/25/23) Alabama's Fire Alert Reinstated to Include All 67 Counties.

(10/23/23) The 2022 Forest Resource Report, produced by the Alabama Forestry Commission "pulls in county-level Forest Inventory & Analysis data to report on values such as forested acres by stand type and size class. There are estimated timber volumes for key species, estimated timber volume growth, and estimated harvest removal. Using forest product severance tax numbers, the Commission can share very detailed information on how much harvested timber is coming from each county and in what product types. There is also current economic information, news about new forest industry in the state" and more. 58 pages.

(10/20/23) Upstream Gifting: "When wealth passes between generations, it generally flows downstream, passing from an older generation to a younger one. Under certain circumstances, though, taking a detour in the other direction can help save you some money in taxes." Source: How Passing Assets to Parents Can Lower Taxes, Charles Schwab, 10/12/23.

(10/19/23) This Land Is My Land. "A 21-year-old from Los Angeles went viral on TikTok last week with a video showing how he bought a small patch of land in Joshua Tree for $200. He told Insider he made the purchase because he thought it would feel good to stand on grounds that he owned..."

(10/18/23) This week is National Forest Products Week. "The U.S. South, nicknamed the world’s wood basket, accounts for over half of all sustainable timber production in the country and generates more than $251 billion (about $770 per person in the U.S.) annually in economic contributions."

(10/17/23) Row-Crop Farmers Unhappy with Damage from Deer Populations in Some Areas of the State. Alfa's AgCast discussed ideas and Alfa policy that might reduce deer/farmer conflicts (audio - about 24 minutes). Farmers who have deer population problems can obtain Deer Depredation Permits from Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, but the venison cannot be consumed by the farmers or those who help them remove the deer from their land.

(10/16/23) F&W Forestry Report, always an interesting newsletter, contains a story this quarter, Fall 2023, on Timber Theft (pages 4 & 5) including a sidebar - What is Timber Theft? - that all forest owners should read. The newsletter also includes commentary on timber markets and a report on agricultural land values across the U.S.

(10/13/23) Threatened & Endangered Species of Alabama: What you should know, with Ray Metzler, Alabama Forestry Commission, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 65 minutes.

(10/12/23) "Classifying Hardwood Timber for Harvest Purposes" is the latest issue of Back Porch Forestry produced by Dr. David Mercker, Extension Forester at the University of Tennessee. Unfortunately, David reports that this will be the last issue of Back Porch Forestry. We hope he surprises us with a new series that will be equally as informative.

(10/11/23) Remember the Carbon Credit buyers, NCX? Several of their staff attended our 2022 Annual Meeting and Alex Macintosh described their program on Saturday morning, April 9. In the Southwest Mississippi Forestry Newsletter, September 2023, Curtis VanderSchaaf describes NCX's program and why they are no longer buying carbon credits.

(10/10/23) If you are thinking about moving to be closer to your kids, you might want to look at the Tax Foundation's Map of Estate and Inheritance Taxes before finalizing your plans.

(10/09/23) Contrary to what you might believe, if you are a member of Alabama Forest Owners' Association, everyone doesn't support private ownership of forestland. Protesters broke windows at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon where the Who Will Own the Forest? conference was being held last month. Many timberland advisors and investors from the South were in attendance.

(10/06/23) The insanity continues. Bioenergy Insight reported last week: Macron to convert France's remaining coal-fired power plants to biomass. Macron's decision will be good for our wood pellet manufacturers, and good for landowners who benefit from the sale of low quality wood, but, but ...

(10/05/23) Fire Lines is the bimonthly newsletter of the Southern Fire Exchange, a regional organization focused on the interests of prescribed burners. The September 2023 issue is packed full of news and events.

(10/04/23) Qualities that set apart recreational land as a low risk investment in any market. In a 7-minute video, Real Estate Broker Pat Porter "covers some of the major aspects that any recreational land buyer should focus on in order to achieve low risk investment and to understand where their highest risks come from." Source: LandThink.com, 9/26/23.

(10/03/23) "For those living off-the-grid or using Starlink as a network redundancy in case of a grid failure, the SpaceX-owned space internet company announced on X that the service is now available across the Lower 48 after deploying next-generation satellites." Source: ZeroHedge, 10/2/23.

(10/02/23) How Many Loblolly Pine Seedlings Should I Plant And At What Spacing? Mississippi State's Dr. Curtis VanderSchaaf discusses that question in TreeLines, September 2023. Planting Contracts were featured, below, on January 4, 2022.

(09/28/23) 2023 North Georgia Prescribed Fire Council Meeting: The presentations were recorded and can be watched as a group or individually. Topics included Fire & Turkey Habitat, Fire Initiatives for Private Landowners, Reintroduction of Prescribed Fire to Fire Suppressed Pine, and others.

(09/27/23) Study Finds No Effect of LEED Certification on Federal Buildings' Energy Efficiency. LEED Certification is "the most widely used green building rating system in the world." Editor's Note: May we be permitted to question whether expensive green forest certification programs such as Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) have had any significant positive effect on the quality of mom & pop forest management activities in Alabama? We suspect none.

(09/26/23) Insider Business takes a look at the process of making cardboard boxes. Well done video -- about 12 minutes.

(09/25/23) Because of the current drought situation in Alabama, the Alabama Forestry Commission issued a Statewide Fire Alert on Friday.

(09/22/23) Fall Bird Migration is Upon Us. Click here to see what's going on in the skies above Alabama. Learn more about bird migration.

(09/21/23) Timber Tech Revolution: Forests are thriving and high-tech mills are popping up across the Southern U.S. Short write-up features an Alabama sawmill. The embedded 3 minute RFD TV story is a must-watch.

(09/20/23) New Forest Landowner? Learn Your Next Steps. This 47 minute webinar was hosted by Forest Landowners Association on 9/14/23 and featured Chris Miller, Director of Real Estate Services for American Forest Management. Webinar begins at about the 2 minute mark. If you are considering hiring a consulting forester to help you on your land, find one at www.ForesterSearch.com.

(09/19/23) An Easement "may have been in place for a long time, and it can last for any specified amount of time, or even forever..." Read more: Handling Easements Attached to Rural Property, LandThink, 9/5/23.

(09/18/23) Wildfires wipe out income for Louisiana forest landowners: "For many people, the towering pines that define the landscape of this rural region represent family inheritances, years of investment and hopes for the future. Growing trees takes a long time, but the cash they bring in when cut is worth the wait. This summer’s fires have dimmed those prospects for some."

(09/15/23) Property Taxes: For forest owners, Alabama is one of the best states in the U.S. to invest your capital - for many reasons, including our low property taxes. While the Tax Foundation's article, Where Do People Pay the Most in Property Taxes, doesn't focus on forestland, it will give you a general idea which states and even which counties in Alabama encourage property ownership.

(09/14/23) Drone Applications in Forest Vegetation Management with Corey Craig, IVM Solutions, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 58 minutes.

(09/13/23) "Tree Growth Characteristics" and "Crop Budget for Hardwood Timber" are the latest issues of Back Porch Forestry produced by Dr. David Mercker, Extension Forester at the University of Tennessee.

(09/11/23) A Tale of Two [Lumber Production] Regions is an interesting discussion of lumber production and related log prices in the Western US and the South. Source: Forest Research Notes, Volume 20, No. 2. "US [lumber] production peaked at 40.5 BBF [billion board feet] in 2005, then collapsed along with housing starts and much of the global economy. Production then rose steadily from the low of 23.3 BBF (lowest of the past 60 years) in 2009 to 37.6 BBF in 2022." Forest Research Notes Archive.

(09/08/23) 600 Square Miles: "Start with 383,934 acres of US farmland. Divide that total by the number of acres in a square mile — 640 — and it yields just shy of 600 square miles. According to the US Department of Agriculture, that’s the total amount of US farmland currently owned by Chinese investors today." That’s the cover story of the Summer 2023 issue of The Land Report. Scroll to page 98. On page 102 the article says Canadians own more than 20,000 square miles of US Ag lands.

(09/06/23) The Land Show, Episode 407, talked to Ryan Basinger, with Westervelt Wildlife Services. Ryan described "what landowners and hunting club members can be doing to get their property ready for the upcoming dove and deer seasons." Ryan is the first guest on the show from 4:30 to 17:41.

(09/05/23) The Feather Atlas: Have you ever seen a feather lying on the ground and wondered what kind of bird left it there? The Feather Atlas provides Browse, Search, and Identify features that will help you identify the birds that live on your land. Enjoy.

(09/01/23) Forisk News, Q3 2023, August 16, 2023, contains a page full of highlights on Lumber, Pulp & Paper, Wood Bioenergy, Timber Markets, Timberland Investments, and more. Scroll to page 2.

(08/30/23) Guidebook for Prescribed Burning in the Southern Region (Download PDF) "This guidebook will take you step-by-step through the processes involved in planning, preparing for and conducting a prescribed fire on your land." Printed copies may be available in the future. If you have any questions about the Guidebook, please contact Leslie Boby.

(08/29/23) Fire Danger Advisory Issued 8/25/23 for Southwest Counties of Alabama. Regional Forester Benji Elmore said today that the advisory "will continue for a few more days until we get good rain coverage."

(08/28/23) The Science and Art of Family Business Trusts. This webinar, produced and recorded by The Family Business Consulting Group on August 9, will be of interest to some forest owners, but won't be for everyone. Click here for the recording - about 1 hour.

(08/25/23) The US is predicted to become a net exporter of softwood lumber by 2027. "The US will ... overtake Canada as North America’s leading offshore supplier within the next five years as production capacity increases, according to Fastmarkets’ latest forecast."

(08/23/23) Are you harming deer when you feed them? Kip Adams, National Deer Association, suspects you are. Read: Can Baiting and Feeding Really Spread Deer Diseases Faster?, NDA, 8/9/23.

(08/22/23) Do These 5 Things Before Putting Your Land on the Market, advises Tom Brickman, Real Estate Broker & Forester with Cyprus Partners, on LandThink, 8/1/23.

(08/21/23) The Moves Wealthy Families Are Making to Skirt Estate Taxes: How dynasty trusts can shield wealth before the Trump tax cuts expire (new link 9/6/23). Source: The Wall Street Journal, 8/19/23.

(08/18/23) "Alabama Power cancels Chandler Mountain project after massive public pushback - 'Sometimes David does beat Goliath,'" reported 1819 News yesterday. Unfortunately David didn't beat Goliath and Goliath is not Alabama Power. Goliath is a collection of government regulations and incentives that are steadily pushing Alabama Power Company and all other electric generators to buy solar power and close down efficient coal, gas, nuclear, and hydro power sources. Landowners were saved today from the power of eminent domain, but cancelling this project will not put off the brown-outs and black-outs just over the horizon.

(08/17/23) Insect and fungal pests of southern hardwood forests with Dave Coyle, Clemson University, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 70 minutes.

(08/16/23) President of Alabama Public Service Commission Voices Strong Opposition to Chandler Mountain Pumped Storage Scheme. The project, which is designed to store energy produced by solar farms, may use the power of eminent to domain to acquire needed land.

(08/15/23) "BASF [Arsenal Herbicide, Chopper GEN2], the biggest chemical producer in the world and a pillar of the German economy founded over 150 years ago, warned that the [German] economy was uncompetitive due to high energy costs and would downsize permanently. It has relocated its investments to the US and China where energy costs are a fifth as expensive." Source: The Not-So-Strange Death of Europe: Cultural Sacrifice At The Altar of Gaia, Forbes, 8/13/23.

(08/14/23) Goats as a Solution to Wildfires: In Spain; In California.

(08/11/23) 3 Hog Hunters Die in Underground Tank Possibly Attempting to Rescue Dog: Sheriff. If you have abandoned open wells, cisterns, vertical mine shafts, or similar hazards on your land, it's a good idea to make an effort to prevent accidents like the hog hunters fell into.

(08/10/23) The Changing Landscape -- Everything Agricultural Employers Should Understand About Farm Labor Law. This webinar was conducted yesterday by the National Agricultural Law Center. We suspect most forest owners won't be interested in the webinar, but for those of you who have paid help on your land, this webinar may save you lots of grief.

(08/08/23) Beware of Logging Scam! The Alabama Forestry Commission is warning forest landowners to beware of a timber cutting scam. The permit / "lumberjack" contract shown in this photo is a fake. Neither Rafael Ruis Delvizo nor the Lumber Tech Frames Inc. are representatives of the Alabama Forestry Commission and are in no way affiliated with the agency. If you are contacted or have been approached by anyone using this counterfeit document, please contact Scott Rouse, Deputy Attorney General for the Alabama Forestry Commission, at (334) 328-7831.

(08/07/23) Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Biologists Available to Help with Hunting Season Preparations reported David Rainer last week. "We have a Technical Assistance biologist in each district now that is a free service. ... Just get in touch with your district office to make an appointment. They can definitely give you some advice on what to do to get ready and what you can do to improve things down the road. They can help you determine what is realistic for your property, and each situation is a little different."

(08/04/23) Alabama REMC-(Rural Electric Membership Co-ops) Owned Statewide Broadband Network Chooses Engineering Firm. This notice will be of interest to those landowners who live in rural areas with little or no broadband internet service, or to those landowners who recognize the increase in value their land will acquire when broadband becomes available.

(08/03/23) Marketing Hardwood Timber with David Mercker, University of Tennessee, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 58 minutes.

(08/02/23) Expect to See Alligators Throughout Alabama. “Alligators eat beavers, muskrats, deer, if they can catch it, or a coyote,” [reported Jud Easterwood, Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries’ Supervising Wildlife Biologist in District I in north Alabama]. “A dog coming through a shallow water swamp is no different from any of those animals. They are just natural prey to an alligator, not unnatural at all." Source: Alabama Outdoors, author David Rainer, 7/13/23.

(08/01/23) How I Got Legal Access to This Tract is a 6 minute video produced by real estate broker Pat Porter. Interesting, useful, and to the point.

(07/31/23) The U.S. Department of Energy plans to spend $23.8 million to remove carbon from the emissions at Georgia-Pacific's Alabama River Cellulose pulp and paper mill in Monroe County, Alabama. The carbon dioxide will be pumped 4,000 feet down into a brine reservoir, and supposedly stored there forever. We wonder if the brine reservoir being used to store CO2 forever might be the same brine reservoir (Smackover Formation) in which Exxon Mobil has invested $100,000,000 in Arkansas and is planning to annually extract 100,000 metric tons of lithium?

(07/27/23) Private forests provide the raw material for lumber, paper, energy, pellets and a whole lot more, and at the same time they provide wildlife habitat, jobs, recreation, clean water, and a host of other benefits. AND while they do all that, the private forests in the lower 48 states sequestered enough carbon to offset more than half of the private car emissions in those same states. To prepare yourself for the next debate with your Aunt Martha, who thinks trees should never be cut so they will store the maximum amount of carbon to prevent global warming, read: Private Forests Doing Public (Carbon) Good by Eric Kingsley, Forest Resources Association, 7/13/23.

(07/26/23) Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) in Alabama: "We are detecting more beetle spots this year than last year. Aerial surveys have been completed for most of the western counties," reported Dana Stone, Forest Management Division Director, Alabama Forestry Commission, 7/26/23. After opening the Commission's map, zoom in to see exactly where beetle spots are located. You can select "Imagery Hybrid" in the "Basemap Gallery" (located under the words "Insect and Disease Map") to see names of map features such as towns and highway names on a photo-like image. There are lots of spots near the Bankhead National Forest (Lawrence & Winston counties), and in Pickens, Hale, Choctaw, Washington, Clarke, Monroe, and Conecuh counties.

(07/25/23) Costs and Trends Survey of Southern Forestry Practices: "The latest survey was conducted to capture forestry management activities in 2022. Along with this survey, a comprehensive online dashboard was created that includes all data from 1952 through the 2022 survey." Video: about 41 minutes. See also 4/17/23 and recent past reports.

(07/21/23) Forest Markets Newsletter is published each Friday by the National Association of State Foresters. It contains a couple dozen news headlines each week which frequently report on news and issues that we pass along to you, both on this page and in our monthly newsletter, Capital Ideas.

(07/20/23) Cost-Share for Southern Pine Beetle Prevention is a new program available through the Alabama Forestry Commission. The application window is from July 14, 2023 through August 31, 2023. Prevention practices that are available for incentive payments:

  • First commercial thinning of loblolly or shortleaf pine stand
  • Understory prescribed burning of loblolly or shortleaf pine stand
  • Low-density loblolly pine planting for suitable sites

(07/19/23) Is the Supreme Court putting 'a thumb on the scale for property owners'? The question is asked by The Pacific Legal Foundation and answered by them with another question: "When the government tries to wrest control over a piece of private property, shouldn't there be a starting presumption in favor of the property's owner?"

(07/17/23) Alabama Private Forests will be broadcast on Alabama Public Television on Thursday, July 20 at 8 pm. The 54 minute video was produced by Discovering Alabama with host Dr. Doug Phillips. If you can't wait until Thursday, or want to watch the video at some later date, click here for an archived copy.

(07/14/23) The Ground at My Feet: Sustaining a Family and a Forest by Ann Stinson is "a memoir about loss and grief as well as a portrait of a family, a region, and an industry." $19.54 in paperback at Amazon. A brief excerpt from the book was reprinted in National Woodlands magazine, Volume 46, Number 3.

(07/13/23) Death & Taxes: Did you know that "When someone dies, their surviving spouse or representative must file a final tax return for the deceased person."? Source: DeLoach, Barber & Caspers, P.C. Newsletter, July 2023.

(07/12/23) Fueling a Freer Future is a series of short videos produced by the Auburn-based Mises Institute. After watching on Monday as dozens of homeowners, farmers, and others begged Alabama Power Company to not take their property to build a pumped storage hydropower plant in the Steele area, and being surprised that none of the supplicants recognized that green energy lobbyists and their solar farms were the driving force behind the project and the threatened use of the power of eminent domain, we thought it might be useful for you to view Mises' short stories.

(07/11/23) Challenges to Bottomland Hardwood Forest Management in the U. S. South with John Tracy, University of Florida, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 53 minutes.

(07/10/23) Two more Pumped Storage Hydropower plants (today the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held public hearings in Rainbow City on Alabama Power's Chandler Mountain plans) have been proposed for Jackson County, Alabama. These proposals include the threat of eminent domain. Editor's Note: Interestingly, of the many heartfelt comments presented by landowners to FERC today in Rainbow City, no one suggested that lawmakers should repeal tax and other incentives that are encouraging the construction of solar farms, the cause of potential brown-out and black-out episodes.

(07/07/23) See Inside One of America's Last Pencil Factories: The family-owned facility in Tennessee produces more than 70 million pencils annually. Editor's note: Along with being a big user of pencils (remember drafting classes years ago?), we've shared Lawrence Read's I, Pencil, many times since reading it the first time back in the '80s.

(07/06/23) In Thinking Smartly About Climate Change, Imprimus, April/May 2023, Bjorn Lomborg discusses the economic costs of climate policy and questions whether we are making the right decisions. Editor's note: I question the policy that forces me to buy gasoline intentionally contaminated with ethanol -- my cars and trucks run less efficiently and I have to drive extra miles each year to buy non-ethanol gas for lawn mowers and chainsaws to prevent gummed-up carburetors. Tax and other incentives to build solar and wind farms may cause a collapse of our power grid, and may be the driving force behind projects such as Alabama Power's controversial Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Generating Facility on Chandler Mountain in St. Clair County.

(07/05/23) Access to Broadband: For many who live in rural areas of Alabama, lack of access to a broadband internet connection is very important. So...  Last week, "President Biden announced $42 billion in funding to build internet infrastructure across the country, with the goal of getting every American connected to the internet by 2030." The initiative "aims to bring high-speed internet to the roughly 8.5 million households and small businesses that are still lacking this infrastructure." "Doing the math, Rep. Thomas Massie pointed out that it will cost about $4,941 for each family that is connected to the internet. By contrast, Elon Musk’s Starlink can do the job for $599 per family, he noted."

(06/29/23) Hunting Lease Basics for Landowners, written by Sarah S. Snipes and published by Forest Resource Consultants' Summer 2023 Newsletter, featured comments from the Alabama Forest Owners' Association.

(06/28/23) Wealth Taxes to come before the U.S. Supreme Court. As property tax payers, we know that state and local governments have the right to tax wealth. In Alabama, the bills arrive shortly after October 1st. And while not related to the Supreme Court case, the Biden administration has proposed wealth taxes, see 4/6/22, below. "The Supreme Court’s decision to hear Moore v. US is very good news for Americans,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute general counsel Dan Greenberg. “A century of precedent shows that – in order to be taxed – income requires realization: this means that income taxes can only be levied on realized income." See also: Norway's Wealth Tax is Backfiring. Are Americans Paying Attention?

(06/27/23) Tell us all about the Alabama Forest Owners' Association. AFOA's Lee Laechelt was a guest on The Land Show, Episode 399 a few days ago. Audio: From 19:44 to 38:50. Also, in his wrap-up to the show, host Jonathan Goode reported on recent real estate scams and potential red flags that you should be aware of when purchasing land. Begins at 52:49

(06/26/23) How to Make an Offer on Rural Land. "Buying land is an exciting prospect. You get to think about what kind of place you want it to be, customize it how you want, and envision how it will be for you and your family for years to come. What if the seller accepts? What if they don’t? And what are the steps involved with making an offer on rural land in general?" Source: Tom Brickman, Cyprus Partners, LandThink.com, 5/30/23.

(06/23/23) Virginia Wildlife Agents Came Onto His Land and Stole His Camera. Now He's Suing. Reason, 6/8/23. See related articles from Fox News and Institute for Justice plus copy of Henrico County Lawsuit.

(06/22/23) Family Business Transitions Gone Wrong is the theme of The June Dispatch. Davon Cook discusses "Faulty Assumptions in Ownership Transitions," Ethan Smith touches on "Communications Failures in Management Transitions," and Lance Woodbury wraps up the Dispatch with "Relationship Mistakes in Family Transitions."

(06/21/23) Introducing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program with Rob Hurt, Lee Holt, Jeffrey Drummond, and Matt Hodges, all with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Alabama, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 60 minutes.

(06/20/23) Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Generating Facility is being planned by Alabama Power Company for the northeast end of Chandler Mountain in St. Clair County. Probably most landowners in the affected area already know about this plan, since the power company already owns much of the land in the reservoir areas. We suspect the power of eminent domain will be used to encourage any holdouts to sell.

(06/19/23) "Israel-based DSRaider developed the EZRaider line of ATVs to provide a solution for navigating rough terrain that was previously only passable by foot. With a more narrow design than traditional ATVs and 4×4 quads, the EZRaider can squeeze through, around and over obstacles." But Pricey.

(06/16/23) Florida Records Its First Case of Chronic Wasting Disease. "Florida is the 32nd state to confirm the presence of the always-fatal neurological disease." Alabama's Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Division will increase testing for the disease in Southeast Alabama.

(06/15/23) The Tourism Development Newsletter of The University of Alabama, June 14, 2023, includes a section on Birding. "Over 430 different bird species have been spotted in Alabama." No mention in the Newsletter that birds might be found on private land. See Alabama Farm Offers Bird Watching Tours, below.

(06/14/23) "Your opinions are needed! Help [NC State University] understand impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to southeast forest landowners ... Your responses will help strengthen landowner programs, forestry markets, and forest management policy." Open the survey here.

(06/13/23) Governor Kay Ivey, on May 31, signed the Property Protection Act into law. "The bill, HB379, will restrict specific entities or 'foreign principals' from certain countries from obtaining agricultural property as well as property on or near a military installation or certain infrastructure facility. The foreign countries include China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia." On June 7, Politico reported, "Chinese citizens seek to block Florida’s law banning them from owning property."

(06/12/23) Southern pulpwood production, 2021, a Resource Bulletin from US Forest Service Southern Research Station, 2023. "The South’s production of pulpwood increased from 57.0 million cords in 2020 to 59.0 million cords in 2021. ... Alabama and Georgia led the South in total production... 73 mills were operating and drawing wood from the 13 Southern States." See also: Huber Engineered Woods Announces Plans to Locate its New Mill in Noxubee County, Mississippi, in Response to Strong Market Demand for its Specialty Products, 6/7/23; and North Escambia [Florida] business planning $62M expansion and 30 new jobs, 6/7/23.

(06/09/23) Managing Home & Community Landscapes with Wildfire in Mind with Holly Campbell, University of Georgia, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 57 minutes.

(06/08/23) Canadian Forest Fire Smoke Dominated Wildfire News of The Day today. Of the dozen news stories lifted from Wildfire News, here, we thought the following three the most interesting:

(06/07/23) Tax Considerations For Those Affected By Natural Disasters (Casualty Loss Tax Deductions and Determining Your Basis) was presented last week by Dr. Tamara Cushing, University of Florida. This webinar is the first in a series on Hurricane Preparation & Recovery. Video: about 67 minutes.

(06/06/23) "How clever of the climate to know exactly the boundary line between the private and federal lands and only devastate those on the federal side of the boundary line," remarked Rep. Tom McClintock during a House Natural Resources Subcommittee legislative hearing. Editor's note: Listen to the short video from the hearing (the sound problem is fixed after a few seconds), and perhaps you will join us in questioning federal or state ownership of any forest lands.

(06/05/23) Randolph County Revenue Commissioner aggressively reassessed forestland as lakefront property. Forest owner Keith Warren’s family has owned their forestland in Randolph County before Lake Wedowee/Lake Harris was created. Their land has been assessed as forestland (see Current Use) until recently when the assessment was raised 400 percent. Warren doesn’t agree with the change in assessment and has scheduled a meeting with the assessor this coming Friday, June 9. If you can offer help or advice to Keith, please send a note to AFOA at RLL@AFOA.ORG and we’ll forward it to him. Thanks!

(06/02/23) Tree Planting in the South is done mostly by Central Americans brought to the U.S. legally by contractors using H-2B Visas. If you would like to encourage LEGAL Migrant Workers who return to their country of origin when the planting work is done, the Forest Resources Association would like your help to "Urge your Representative to Support DHS Appropriations Bill." Read full details here.

(06/01/23) Developing Goals and Objectives for Your Forestland. "Many of you have, or will eventually, meet with a forester or other natural resource professional to get help managing your land. This could be to sell your timber, to create wildlife habitat, to plant a riparian buffer, or to start many other projects." Continue reading the June 2023 Virginia Forest Landowner e-Update.

(05/31/23) Ten Things Forest Landowners Should Do Before They Thin Their Pines by Billy Rye was published in Cooperative Farming News, April/May 2023.

(05/30/23) Two 'Mompreneurs' Created a Forest School That Reaches Thousands. "What began as a weekly outdoor meet-up with a handful of local families has now become Barefoot University, a national, non-profit forest school that reaches over 3,000 learners in six states, with nine states set for next year."

(05/26/23) Pig Poison: Mark Smith, Wildlife Extension Specialist at Auburn University, presented earlier this week A Short and Practical Review of the Science Behind Toxicants for Wild Pig Control. It is the latest in Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 61 minutes.

(05/25/23) U.S. Supreme Court decided today that a water of the U.S. must be "a relatively permanent body of water connected to traditional interstate navigable waters," and holds that “the Clean Water Act extends to only those ‘wetlands with a continuous surface connection to bodies that are “waters of the United States” in their own right,’ so that they are ‘indistinguishable’ from those waters.” Source: Pacific Legal Foundation, 5/25/23. See also: Supreme Court Protects Property Rights from Federal Overreach.

(05/24/23) "Log supplies ... at sawmills in 2023 vary widely based on weather and 'whether.'" The stumpage market when seen through the eyes of railroad tie manufacturers may give forest owners a better understanding of the complexities in the wood supply chain. Source: Crossties, March/April 2023.

(05/23/23) The Forest Technology program at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College "trains students for the position of forest technician. The technician is an employee who works under the direction of a professional (BS degree) forester and will undertake the fieldwork that is necessary to manage the forest. A career as a forest technician involves a variety of challenging jobs including timber inventory, procurement, maintenance of forest roads, forest management, forest stand improvement, fire and pest control, soil and water conservation, wildlife management, harvest planning, logging, cartography, and surveying. Technicians work outside in all kinds of weather and have to do some office work."

(05/19/23) The Alabama Mushroom Society Newsletter, April 2023, contains a report with photos on their recent morel foray, the "mushroom of the month," a new book on edible Alabama mushrooms, and an "In The Kitchen" recipe. Read more at https://alabamamushroomsociety.org/.

(05/18/23) US Wood Pellet Exports Up In March, reported USDA Foreign Agricultural Service on May 4. That's good news unless you own Enviva stock. WFAE 90.7 in Charlotte, North Carolina reported on May 5, Shares of Wood Pellet Maker Enviva Plummet As Losses Widen. As of May 18, 2023 at 1:13 PM CDT Enviva shares were worth $8.40. A year ago they were valued at $72.86.

(05/17/23) Forisk News, Q2, 2023, contains lots of market related information you may find interesting. If you are planning to buy forestland, you will likely find helpful the map in Southern Pine Timber Inventory Outlook under Research Highlights. Hint: Avoid dark green areas where pines are growing twice as fast as they are being harvested.

(05/16/23) Volatile Timber Markets and Implications for Future Forest Management by Billy Rye was published in Cooperative Farming News, February/March 2023.

(05/15/23) Three bills being debated in Montgomery may be of interest to forest owners:

(05/12/23) Introduction to and Management of Pine-Hardwood Mixtures with David Clabo, University of Georgia, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 63 minutes. You may also want to watch Managing Stands of Mixed Pine & Hardwood presented by John Willis at our 2019 Annual Meeting.

(05/11/23) Alabama gets $1 million to map mineral resources, AL.com, 5/5/23. "The survey will be concentrated in an area of [East]-Central Alabama known as the Graphite Belt, and look for minerals such as aluminum, arsenic, bismuth, cobalt, germanium, graphite, rare earth metals, tin, tungsten, vanadium and others." 

(05/09/23) What's My Timber Worth? Understanding the Variables That Affect Timber Prices by Billy Rye was published in Cooperative Farming News, December 2022/January 2023. If you plan to grow pine sawtimber, it might be a good idea to study the map on the second page of Billy's article.

(05/08/23) Jackson Pellets held a ribbon cutting ($21 million investment from Denmark), and Kronospan in Oxford, Alabama announced construction of new, state of the art, Oriented Strand Board manufacturing plant ($350 million investment from Austria). Both announcements were good news for forest owners who need markets for first thinnings and low quality wood.

(05/05/23) Paxton Furniture shifts production from China to Mississippi reported Woodworking Network on May 1, 2023. "Reshoring." It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

(05/04/23) Never take no for an answer. Even though the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service concluded in October 2022 that "the risk factors acting on the gopher tortoise and its habitat, either singly or in combination, are not of sufficient imminence, scope, or magnitude" to warrant threatened or endangered status, The Center for Biological Diversity and Nokuse Education filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision.

(05/03/23) Forest Finance Simplified, 6th Edition, by Brooks Mendell, Ph.D., "distills forest finance themes into a question-and-answer format for those who want an accessible reference or introduction to forest management decision-making and timber investments." Cost: $35 plus shipping & tax.

(05/02/23) The Southern Fox Squirrel with Mike Conner, The Jones Center at Ichauway, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 55 minutes.

(05/01/23) It is with great sadness that we report today that William A. "Will" Freise, President of Alabama Forest Owners' Association, passed away last Thursday, April 27, 2023. Will joined the association back in 1992 and frequently made suggestions to the staff on how to improve the information and services provided to the members. Will joined the Board of Directors in 2011 and was elected President of the Association in May of 2021. 

(04/27/23) Housing Market Forecast 2023-24: The Myth of Massive Underbuilding by Bill Conerly, Forbes, April 18, 2023, suggests the demographic push to build more houses, especially single family houses that use more lumber, may not be as strong as many projections have indicated.

(04/26/23) Common Ticks of North Carolina: An Identification Guide by Bertone, Reiskind, Crawley, and Watson contains the best pictures of ticks that we have seen. The tick that has been biting us lately in Shelby County is the lone star tick. You are likely to be surprised when you learn where their eyes are located.

(04/25/23) The Land Report and F&W Forestry Report bring you news about landowners and for landowners, respectively. Both are always interesting.

(04/24/23) The National Deer Association is offering Deer Steward 1: Habitat Management. "Learn all about food plots, how to manage the woods and open fields, herbicide applications and using prescribed fire by completing NDA’s Habitat Management online module." Instructors are Dr. Craig Harper, Professor of Wildlife Management and the Extension Wildlife Specialist at the University of Tennessee, and Dr. Marcus Lashley, Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida.

(04/21/23) "Every Day is Earth Day for Private Forest Landowners. Private forests provide clean air, clean water and essential wildlife habitat." "Fifty-six percent of forestland in the United States is privately owned and sustainably managed by families and private companies. That’s 445 million acres." Source: Forest Landowners Association, 4/20/23.

(04/20/23) Forest Inventory Basics For Family Forest Landowners by Barlow, Maggard, and Kush is an interesting new handbook published by Alabama Extension System which includes well-done narratives as well as video tutorials. "This handbook provides the basics of forest measurements and inventories, how and why they are taken, and how to interpret the results of those measurements. Applying the information will help landowners (1) understand the need for a forest inventory, (2) set goals and communicate more easily with natural resource professionals who assist them, and (3) understand the importance of a quality forest inventory conducted by a professional."

(04/19/23) Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes: Ecology & Conservation with Jayme L. Waldron is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 1 hour and 26 minutes. See below: Help Us Keep Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes Off The List.

(04/18/23) Seize property to build wind and solar farms, says JP Morgan chief, reported yahoo!finance on April 4, 2023. Everyone doesn't agree, as you might imagine. "In Iowa, state legislators on Monday passed a bill that aims to protect private property owners from eminent domain use by carbon pipeline companies."

(04/17/23) Participate in the 2022 Costs and Trends of Southern Forestry Practices Survey. Dr. Adam Maggard, Auburn University, is again looking for information on the cost of managing forestland. If you paid someone to plant trees, conduct a prescribed burn, mark boundary lines, or several other management activities, Adam wants to know what you had to pay to get the job done. Adam will share the information with us later. See below, 11/16/22 and 10/27/21.

(04/12/23) Two Tax Topics that we saw in DeLoach, Barber & Caspers, P.C. April Newsletter that might be of interest:

(04/11/23) Repeal the Death Tax, urge 40+ U.S. Senators, including Senator Britt and Senator Tuberville. AFOA recognizes that this bill will not pass both houses, and even if it did, would never gain the President's signature, but we are glad that both of our Senators are on the right side of the issue.

(04/10/23) Casualty Loss and the Forest Landowner is the topic of the latest Episode (#07) of Timber University, a podcast series sponsored by Mississippi State University Extension and Arkansas Center for Forest Business. Podcast: about 26 minutes. AFOA hasn't listened to past episodes, so if you listen to one or more and think we should feature it here, let us know: send recommendation to RLL@AFOA.ORG.

(04/07/23) PRT Growing Services Ltd. Acquires International Forest Company reports the headline of an April 5, 2023 PRT Press Release. PRT will now have the capacity to produce 630 million seedlings each year. Both companies have been advertisers in AFOA's monthly newsletter, Capital Ideas (see PRT ad on page 3 and IFCO ad on page 8). Some may remember our visit to PRT's nursery in Atmore during our 2019 Annual Meeting.

(04/06/23) To Sweden's lumber producers, "what really stands out is the U.S. market. Imports from Europe and Sweden have strengthened dramatically and in 2022 the U.S. has been established as Sweden's most important lumber product market after the UK." One wonders why more sawmill investments haven't come to the U.S. South, where we are covered up with standing trees ready to be harvested.

(04/05/23) Citizen Ownership of Gold Outlawed by President on April 5: Executive Order 6102. How fragile freedom was in 1933 when Roosevelt signed that order. "After Prohibition was repealed later the same year, the sober man with gold in his pocket was the criminal while the staggering drunk was no more than a nuisance."

(04/04/23) Everything You Need to Know About Property Access -- Part 2 by Felicia Cristofaro, Compass Land USA. Part 1 was featured here on 2/21/23.

(04/03/23) 3 Promising New Ways to Detect CWD, Dead Deer Not Required by National Deer Association's Lindsay Thomas, Jr., describes how the deadly disease-causing prions can be detected in scrapes, at feeders, and by trained dogs. Learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease when Kevin McKinstry, Chairman of the CWD Coalition, talks to us on April 15 at Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge.

(03/30/23) Putting the Management Back Into Streamside Management Zones with Tim Albritton is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 56 minutes.

(03/29/23) JamisonMoneyFarmer's Timber Tax Talk earlier today featured JMF's CPA Rachel Taylor interviewing JMF's Timber and Natural Resources practice group leader Orman Wilson on most of the basics for owning timber land and how it is taxed. They touch on the most common ways to calculate your tax basis of land and timber, timber farming, a forestry management plan, and estate and inheritance strategies around timber. Video: about 30 minutes.

(03/24/23) Recordkeeping: A How-to-do-it Guide for Small Woodland Owners, by Elwood and Gregory, may be something you can use in the future. "Capturing the facts and figures from your woodland operation and turning the seemingly disjointed and unrelated data into usable information is what recordkeeping is all about. It’s just as important as other management activities done on your property."

(03/23/23) If your progress towards improving your wooded land is not moving as smoothly or as quickly as you'd hoped, perhaps it's time to look back at where you've been. Family business coach Lance Woodbury suggests Moving Forward by Measuring Backward.

(03/22/23) The Southern Group of State Foresters (Alabama Forestry Commission is a member) reminded Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack last month that "Current international market restrictions, and overly restrictive trade measures that are not science-based, are negatively affecting U.S. exporters as well as the sustainability of the private forests that supply the fiber." Read the full letter here.

(03/21/23) Should I Sell My Land? Interesting 5-minute video with Pat Porter, RecLand featured on LandThink.com.

(03/20/23) Banned by the FDA. "People might be surprised that root beer, one of the most iconic of the fizzy drinks, was originally made from actual roots. Even more surprising, the main ingredients of those natural root beers have been banned by the FDA." In The Roots of Root Beer, Northern Woodlands, Winter 2022, Ben Lord describes various forms of root beer and even provides a recipe to cook some up yourself. Question: Have you ever pulled up the roots of a sassafras seedling and taken a sniff? If not, try it.

(03/17/23) Managing Hardwood Forests for Deer and Turkeys with Forest Stand Improvement and Prescribed Fire with Mark A. Turner, University of Tennessee, is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 60 minutes.

(03/16/23) The Top Five Strategies Forest Landowners Use to Save Taxes webinar, presented by Andrew Bosserman, Tax Attorney & CPA, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, and hosted by Clemson Cooperative Extension, includes "qualifying for capital gains taxation on timber sales." About 65 minutes. The final topic is specific to South Carolina. Alabama forest owners can apply for current-use assessment on their forestland and should be able to keep property taxes below $2.50 per acre or so. Watch a video on applying for current-use in Alabama.

(03/15/23) "Governor Kay Ivey has proclaimed March 2023 ‘Prescribed Fire Awareness’ Month in the state of Alabama. A coalition of state, federal, and private organizations under the umbrella of the Alabama Prescribed Fire Council requested the proclamation to raise awareness of the essential role that fire plays in both the stewardship of our natural resources and the protection of lives and property."

(03/13/23) Tax Implications When Employed in the Family Business. When a family member employs someone, the tax implications depend on the relationship and the type of business. Taxpayers and employers need to understand their tax situation. Click here for details. Source: DeLoach, Barber & Caspers, P.C., March 2023 Newsletter.

(03/10/23) Message to Lawmakers: If you want the forests of Alabama to flourish, Encourage Us! Read How to Get the Most Out of Others, Foundation for Economic Education, 3/7/23, for some encouraging advice. Hint. Congratulate the private owners of Alabama’s forests for providing millions of acres of wildlife habitat, clean water, clean air and the raw materials for thousands of jobs. 

(03/09/23) "Biden budget plan calls for raising stock buyback, capital gains, corporate taxes. ... and taxing capital gains at that 39.6% rate for households with more than $1 million in income." Source: Pensions & Investments, 3/9/23. Most pundits predict that none of these increases are likely to be passed by Congress.

(03/08/23) Sawmill Closure and Other Big Changes in Southeast Lumber Market, Forest2Market Blog, 2/17/23, by Trip Jobe, highlights the ripple effect as lumber prices fall.

  • Market prices for lumber decreased as demand softened.
  • Low lumber demand and higher operating costs contributed to the closure of West Fraser’s sawmill in Perry, FL.
  • Within weeks of this announcement, the reduced supply has allowed other sawmills to improve their yield.
  • Better yields in the sawmills mean fewer byproducts and other waste used by pulpmills and chipmills.
  • Pulpmills and chipmills will have to buy pulpwood and chips directly at higher costs than sawmill byproducts.
  • This will continue to play a role in where and how additional product prices will respond.
  • In areas where sawmills increase minimum specifications--and if these changes hold long-term--timberland owners may reassess current thinning regimes and/or silviculture treatments.
  • This will reduce the financial impacts of product specification changes on future harvest plans and potentially identify other opportunities for improvement.

(03/07/23) Forest Taxation: Just The Basics features U.S. Forest Service Research Forester Gregory Frey, one of the authors of Tax Tips (see below, 1/9/23), which was published in AFOA's January issue of Capital Ideas. This webinar was produced by Forest Landowners Association on February 15, 2023. About 56 minutes.

(03/06/23) Carbon credits: a contested tool to fight deforestation. "Planting trees or safeguarding tropical rainforests have become popular tools for companies seeking to offset their carbon emissions and proclaim their commitment to the environment. However, recent scandals have cast a shadow over the carbon credit industry, revealing a landscape rife with opportunities for greenwashing." Source: Radio France Internationale, 2/27/23. Plan now to attend AFOA's 42nd Annual Meeting and learn more about the controversies swirling around various carbon credit schemes.

(03/03/23) The Forestry Project is the child of Auburn University graduate research assistant Jace McCauley (see below, 1/12/23). Let us know if you see something on the Project that we should pass along to other forest owners. The Project's YouTube Channel has several videos available.

(03/02/23) Creating Open Woodlands to Promote Regeneration & Development of White Oak with Dr. Wayne Clatterbuck, Professor of Silviculture & Forest Management at the University of Tennessee, was produced by Southern Regional Extension Forestry. "Oaks grow slowly and can be outcompeted by faster growing species, but a few management practices can make a difference. This is the first of three webinars in the Woodland Stewards 2023 webinar series titled: Exploring Practices to Create and Maintain Woodlands in Open Forest Environments."

(03/01/23) Vernal Pools hold water only a few months of the year; they're not connected to any other body of water, and they can be critical habitat for a number of species, like the wood frog. "Learn more about the importance of vernal pools and the cool critters that use them from Virginia Master Naturalist Judy McCord in this Fifteen Minutes in the Forest video." Source: Forest Update, March 2023.

(02/28/23) Master Tree Farmer Course: "Clemson Cooperative Extension has recently opened registration for The Master Tree Farmer course. The goal of this course is to build on basic forestry knowledge to enhance timber and ecological resource management." Source: SREF News Digest, 2/27/23. One of the four registration options is "Online Classroom Only."

(02/27/23) Managing Forests for Wildlife and Forest Health is a 45 minute webinar featuring Dr. Mark McConnell, Mississippi State University. McConnell discusses "management strategies to achieve a multi-use forest in the southeastern U.S. by covering topics including preferred tree species for wildlife and different management approaches for various wildlife species, all while maintaining a productive and healthy forest ecosystem."

(02/24/23) Winners of the 2023 Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest Announced. Enjoy.

(02/22/23) Another company that didn't get the memo about carbon credits? "Three months ago, it was announced that a consortium led by T. Rowe Price Group subsidiary Oak Hill Advisors paid $1.8 billion to acquire 1.7 million acres of timberland in 17 states from The Forestland Group. This standout transaction was even more noteworthy because the ultimate goal of the purchase was not to maximize timber production. Instead, carbon storage was the highest priority." Source: The Land Report, 2/23. See "memo" comments below. Plan now to learn more from Trip Jobe, Forest2Market, when he speaks to us about "Why We Should Ditch Forest Carbon Credits" at our Annual Meeting on April 15.

(02/21/23) Everything You Need to Know About Property Access -- Part 1 by Felicia Cristofaro, Compass Land USA, will give you some ideas about questions frequently forgotten when buying forestland. If I sell timber, does the logger have a right to cross my new neighbors to get to the county road? If I build a cabin on the property, will I always be able to cross my neighbors' land to get to it, even if my neighbors sell their land? If I lease my land to a hunting club, will they have the right to enter the property by crossing my neighbor's land?

(02/16/23) Forest Landowner Academy, an online course offered by University of Florida Extension, is now open for enrollment. Seven modules include:

  • Understanding your forest resources
  • Developing your management plan
  • Timber management
  • Marketing forest products
  • Other forest enterprises such as pine straw and hunting leases
  • Wildlife management
  • Planning for the future

(02/15/23) "Financial aid available to help Alabama landowners fight cogongrass spread." Source: AL.com, 2/14/23. "Potential applicants are directed to the Cogongrass Mitigation Program web page of the AFC website. Landowners may also email cogongrass@forestry.alabama.gov."

(02/14/23) "Overcoming the Timber Harvest Blues" and "Top Quality Hardwood Veneer" are the latest issues of Back Porch Forestry produced by Dr. David Mercker, Extension Forester at the University of Tennessee.

(02/13/23) Tuscaloosa County Farmers Federation Weighs In on Tomorrow's Property Tax Increase Referendum. See also 2/1/23, below. (02/15/23) The property tax increases were defeated by about a 4 to 1 margin. About 13,000 people voted. Source: Tuscaloosa Thread.

(02/10/23) "JP Morgan just bought a massive forest..." to be "...managed for both carbon capture and timber production." Source: yahoo!finance, 2/1/23. AFOA wonders if JP Morgan read the "memo," below.

(02/07/23) Why We Should Ditch Forest Carbon Credits in 2023 by Harvey Greer on Forest2Market Blog will surely worry the folks who have built an industry around carbon credits. Greer quotes Pete Stewart (see below) in his concern for greenwashing, "Carbon credits -- of any type -- only provide justification to pollute more."

(02/06/23) Pete Stewart, CEO of Forest2Market, is at it again. This year he shares 6 Predictions for 2023 Global Forest Industry. Last year he made 8 predictions. The surprise this year is number 6: The death of forest carbon credits is coming.

(02/03/23) Contrasting Headlines: Pellets Up; Lumber Down.

(02/02/23) "Have you ever wondered what type of deed you ought to get when you're buying land, or what the difference is between different types of deeds that you've heard about or read about or seen on the internet?" RecLand Realty Broker Pat Porter describes a few in a short video. About 11 minutes.

(02/01/23) Property Tax Increase on Ballot February 14 for Tuscaloosa County Voters. The proposed 8-mill increase would, we think, be an 80 percent increase for school taxes in the county. "Northport Mayor Bobby Herndon took to social media on Sunday to oppose a proposed property tax increase..." The vote will take place on Valentine's Day, so plan your schedule accordingly. Please send more information if you have any to RLL@AFOA.ORG. Thanks.

(01/31/23) Running on Empty: The BC (British Columbia, Canada) Forestry Crash by Ben Parfitt discusses the wood shortage predicament Canadian sawmills find themselves in (40,000 direct jobs lost in past 20 years). If you are ever presented with the opportunity, we hope you will make sawmill investors from Canada welcome in Alabama.

(01/30/23) "The Nebraska Department of Revenue found that conservation easements, such as those issued by the Natural Resource Conservation Service, devalue the land by 40 percent. This directly decreases tax revenue to the local government reducing their ability to provide necessary services but also causes the tax bill of other landowners to increase." Armed with this information, "Oklahoma State Senator Casey Murdock (R) has filed Senate Bill 980 that gives local governing authorities the ability to approve or deny a conservation easement placed on private land within their jurisdiction."

(01/27/23) Publicly Available Mapping Tools with John Gilbert is the latest issue of Alabama Extension's 2023 Natural Resources Webinar Series. About 56 minutes. Editor's Note: If you have any interest in mapping your property, this video is a must watch. Packed with great information! It was originally presented to the members of the Alabama Prescribed Fire Council, which explains why John included the smoke management tools in the presentation. John will talk to us about maps at our Annual Meeting at Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge on April 15.

(01/26/23) 84% Hasn't Got Anything to Do with Farms or Forests. Have you ever wondered why the giant welfare programs related to food (some may remember food stamps) and the giant welfare programs related to farm and forest land are all clumped together in The Farm Bill? Did you know that the nutrition programs (food stamps) make up most of the spending (76% of the current Farm Bill and 84% of the likely 2023 bill)? Since the farm and forest welfare programs are largely supported by rural interests and the nutrition programs are largely supported by urban interests, would it make sense to separate these two programs if one were trying to pare them down a bit? Asking for a friend.

(01/25/23) Land Market Update with Ryan Folk, co-founder of LandFlip.com and the University of Montevallo's President's Outdoor Scholars Program with William Crawford were both featured on Episode 377 of The Land Show. The two interviews are numbers 1 and 2 of the program. See also: Outdoor Scholars Video.

(01/24/23) Don't Eat!   PFAS Pollution Causes Venison Consumption Advisories in Four States. Not an announced problem in Alabama, but may be soon. PFAS stands for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which contain a strong carbon-fluorine bond that allows them to accumulate over time in the environment and in the bodies of animals and people, posing health risks." See also 2-minute video: What Are PFAS?

(01/23/23) Foreign Ownership of Ag Land: Federal & State Legislative Update was presented last week by Micah Brown, Staff Attorney at the National Agricultural Law Center. One segment of the webinar reviewed Alabama Senate Bill 14 which was proposed in last year's legislative session. SB 14 stated "...a nonresident alien, foreign business, or foreign government, ...may not purchase or otherwise acquire agricultural land in this state." Forestland was included in the definition of agricultural land. The Bill failed to pass. See also, Foreign Investments in Agricultural Land: FAQs & Resource Library.

(01/19/23) Map of Storm Paths -- January 12, 2023. "On January 12, 2023 the State of Alabama suffered damages throughout several counties as a result of severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes. There was approximately a 218-mile stretch of storms that produced several tornadoes across Alabama and Georgia. An EF-2 with winds of 130 MPH impacted Selma, Alabama, and an EF-3 tornado with winds of 150 mph ran 76.7 miles leaving a path of destruction across several counties. The Alabama Forestry Commission is encouraging landowners affected to reach out to their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices to request the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP). Landowners will need to put in a request for EFRP in order to have an Environmental Assessment done in regards to their storm related damages. Once landowners have reached out to the FSA, the FSA office will request EFRP implementation." Click here to find the contact information for your local FSA office. Source: Draft News Release, Alabama Forestry Commission, 1/19/23.

(01/18/23) 10 Things Landowners Should Do Before They Sell Their Timber by Billy Rye was published in Cooperative Farming News, June/July 2022. First on the list is "Understand the Timber Sale Process," followed by "Understand the Tax Implications of a Sale."

(01/17/23) Great Video Series on Pond Management, Stocking, etc. reports Alabama Fish & Pond. Topics include Principles of Pond Management, Construction of a New Pond, Management Practices Prior to Stocking, Stocking and Management of New Ponds, Management Maintenance of Established Ponds, Pond Problems, Reworking an Old Pond, and Other Pond Options.

(01/16/23) "Create and Share Interactive Maps," says MapRight's website. AFOA has talked with the folks at LandGlide, onX, and HuntStand and found them all to be useful additions to our landowners toolbox. If you have used MapRight, send a note to RLL@AFOA.ORG and tell us about your experience. Thanks.

(01/13/23) A Guide to Owning Forestland, Part One and Part Two were written by consulting forester Billy Rye and published in Cooperative Farming News, February/March 2022 and April/May 2022. Topics covered in the articles are:

  • Know What You Have
  • Know What You Want
  • Know How to Get There
  • Know Whom to Call

(01/12/23) When you and your consulting forester talk, do you think you're being heard? Communication between landowners and consulting foresters is important, so Auburn University forestry graduate research assistant Jace McCauley is doing research that might be useful to us. Jace would like to hear what you have to say about communications with consulting foresters and has developed a survey to help him understand the issues. If you are a landowner and wish to participate, click here. Please note, the survey will close on February 28th, 2023.

(01/11/23) "Land Market Predicted to Falter Within the Year in Wake of Slowing Home Sales," predict respondents to LandThink Pulse survey conducted in November. "For land owners, the return on investment of owning land with merchantable saw timber is reduced when the housing market is in a slump, making timberland a less desirable investment."

(01/10/23) "Many Android phones to get satellite connectivity," reported BBC News on 1/6/23. "A new partnership between the satellite phone firm Iridium and chip giant Qualcomm will bring satellite connectivity to premium Android smartphones later in the year. It means that in places where there is no mobile coverage, handsets can connect with passing satellites to send and receive messages." See also 8/31/22.

(01/09/23) Tax Tips for Forest Landowners: 2022 Tax Year is now available online and also in the January issue of Capital Ideas, pages 3 through 6. Headlines include:

  • Understand Timber Sale Income and Recovery of Timber Basis
  • Consider the Reforestation Tax Incentives
  • Deduct Operating Expenses and Carrying Charges
  • Recover Other Major Capital Costs
  • Claim Casualty Loss Deduction When Natural Disaster Hits

(01/06/23) In case you've been worried about the threats of rising temperatures and extreme weather events, Dr. David South, retired Auburn University forestry professor recently sent us some graphs of 100+ years of Alabama summer temperatures (Source: A Practical Guide to Climate Change in Alabama by John Christy). Also, yesterday, PowerLine Blog posted a story, Extreme Weather Events Declining, that may reduce your fears that hurricanes or tornadoes will blow away all your trees (they might, but that would not be abnormal).

(01/05/23) Each year at about this time, a few forest owners decide to go into the Christmas tree business. If you are one of them, click here to read the latest newsletter of The Southern Christmas Tree Association. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the newsletter for a little encouragement. Ha Ha

(01/04/23) The Land Report 100 features short stories about the largest landowners in the U.S. and includes quite a few forest owners including several in Alabama. The article in the Winter 2022 issue of The Land Report begins on page 114.

(01/03/23) Bonus Depreciation Will Be Phased Out. Forest owners have used the Bonus Depreciation when buying computers, vehicles, off-the-shelf software, machinery and equipment and more. A short paper, Big Tax Payoff for Bonus Depreciation, by JamisonMoneyFarmer's Bobby Bragg provides more information.