Landowners hear forestry information at Hammond forum

Johnny Morgan  |  4/11/2018 1:53:54 PM

(04/11/18) HAMMOND, La. — Attendees of the Florida Parishes Forestry Forum heard about industry trends and diversifying their portfolios.

AgCenter area forester Whitney Wallace and an advisory group selected the topics that were discussed at the forum, held April 6 in Hammond.

“Mainly what I want to do is to give our timber land owners some multiple-use options since the price of timber is not at its best right now,” Wallace said.

One of the recurring topics of the meeting was the use of cross-laminated wood in the construction of multi-story buildings.

Cross-laminated timber used in multi-story buildings is made by laminating lumber into materials up to 12 feet wide, 48 feet long and 24 inches thick, said Rich Vlosky, director of the Louisiana Forest Products Development Center in the AgCenter.

“This could be one of the next best things to hit the industry in a long time,” Vlosky said.

The process has already taken off in Europe, but there are no cross-laminated manufacturers in the South using southern yellow pine, Vlosky said.

“Cross-laminated timber panels currently are being manufactured in Canada and the Pacific Northwest,” he said.

A new study is being conducted by the Louisiana Forest Products Development Center this spring to determine market and investment potential for cross-laminated timber and the massive plywood panels manufactured from southern yellow pine, Vlosky said.

Eric Gee, deputy director of the Southern Forest Products Association, said his organization is developing new markets for southern yellow pine lumber.

AgCenter forestry specialist Michael Blazier discussed the value of silvopasture practices on forest land.

Blazier explained how grazing cattle in pine stands offers a two-pronged approach to profits.

“Silvopasture means you have some sort of forage system that you’re cultivating, while you’re also managing trees,” Blazier said. “This is a form of agroforestry that is popular in the Southeast.”

In addition to grazing cattle in pine forest, pecans are another crop that works well in cow-calf operations, he said.

Wood Johnson, of the U.S. Forest Service, told the group to be on the lookout for the southern pine beetle.

“The numbers have been relatively low in the state over the past few years,” Johnson said. “But it is showing up in the Homochitto National Forest in Mississippi.”

Mike Strain, commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, gave an update on trade and the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Trade is critical. We have to have fair trade,” Strain said. “China imports 93 million metric tons of soybeans from us. They can’t get that from Brazil, so they have to get it from somewhere.”

As far as crops, forestry is still the top industry in the state.

“That means 14 million acres or $3.6 billion,” Strain said. “Last year the Louisiana wood industry paid $725 million in state and local taxes.”

“I remind our legislators constantly that the agriculture, forestry, aquaculture, and oil and gas industries are the foundational dollars of the economy,” he added. “If you grow that, you grow the whole economy.”

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Rich Vlosky, director of the Louisiana Forest Products Development Center in the LSU AgCenter, discusses the use of cross-laminated wood in the construction of multi-story buildings at the Florida Parishes Forestry Forum in Hammond on April 6. Photo by Johnny Morgan/ LSU AgCenter

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Mike Strain, commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, gives an update on trade and the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement during the Florida Parishes Forestry Forum in Hammond on April 6. Photo by Johnny Morgan/ LSU AgCenter

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LSU AgCenter forestry specialist Michael Blazier explains the value of silvopasture practices on forest land during the Florida Parishes Forestry Forum in Hammond on April 6. Silvopasture means the grower has a forage system while also managing trees. Photo by Johnny Morgan/ LSU AgCenter

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