W. Allen Nipper, Van Osdell, Mary Ann | 1/21/2009 9:19:46 PM
Nearly every speaker at the Ag Expo Forestry Forum sponsored by the LSU AgCenter Jan. 17 said youth are important to forestry.
Held in West Monroe, the event was co-sponsored with the North Louisiana Agri-Business Council.
The LSU AgCenter will introduce a new Web site in the next 30 to 60 days on forestry best management practices (BMPs), said Dr. Michael Dunn, LSU AgCenter economist. The site has been several years in the making and will include videos.
A DVD will be available for those who do not have broadband access, Dunn said. BMP booklets currently are available from the LSU AgCenter.
The Web site will offer guidelines for providing minimum protection of land “when some sort of disturbance occurs,” Dunn said.
As of 2001, all 50 states have some sort of forestry BMP. Dunn said. They help maintain site productivity and sustain resources for future generations, he said.
Families were encouraged to attend the forum, said Dr. Allen Nipper, regional director of the LSU AgCenter. He said about 70 percent of the 100 in attendance were in family groups. Grooming successors through family forestry meetings covering intergenerational transfers is important, he said.
“If we can share what we do with the youth, then we are effectively influencing the future,” said Wade Dubea, state forester for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
Dubea said trees are Louisiana’s No. 1 agricultural crop. “We have to make sure we are stewards of the forest industry,” he said.
He said LDAF and the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station are studying hurricane-resistant trees.
Dr. Gordon Holley of Louisiana Tech University discussed economic trends and the forestry market. The bright side includes value from such markets as carbon credits, bioproducts, harvest residues and possible credit for water rights, water production or clean water, he said. “Water is the new oil,” Holley said.
Holley said three parts of a successful timber sale include adequate access, sufficient volume and high-quality trees. He suggested the group hold the trees they have if at all possible.
“If you miss harvest this year, they’re going to get bigger next year,” he said. “If you’ve got to sell, get the stand going again because things are going to turn around.”
Low-value thinning should proceed, Holley said. He cited an adage that “if you want to grow a good tree, you need blue sky to grow green to grow brown to grow money.”
“We’ve got to implement good forestry practices regardless of the money situation,” he said.
Paul Spillers, tax attorney, discussed basic mineral law for forest landowners. “Too many view timberland as a single purpose, selling,” he said. “It has so many other facets, like a diamond. Without all the facets, it wouldn’t sparkle.”
Those include minerals, water, iron ore, clay, recreation and nature, Spillers said.
Buck Vandersteen of the Louisiana Forestry Association said he will be working closely with the LSU AgCenter to make sure Louisiana voices are heard while serving on a new national research and development committee.
State Sen. Mike Walsworth, who attended the forum, encouraged the group to explain to other legislators and kin what agriculture means.
“It is very important to this state and individual lives,” Walsworth said. “If it weren’t for agriculture, we wouldn’t need a New Orleans port.”
Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell at (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, or email@example.com