11/12/2005 1:40:41 AM
The LSU AgCenter is presenting a series of workshops in southeastern Louisiana designed to help hurricane victims with cleanup and a variety of other topics.
The workshops range in scope from chainsaw safety to financial management.
In one example, more than 100 people attended a session on tree management after a storm in early November.
LSU AgCenter county agent Rusty Batty of St. Tammany Parish said dealing with storm-damaged trees is a vital topic in that area, since more than 60 percent of the parish’s timber was destroyed.
"This is the second of the workshops of this type," Batty said of the Nov. 4 workshop in Covington, which he coordinated for owners of smaller acreages of timber land. "The first one was held about a month ago in Washington Parish, but it was geared more toward landowners and buyers dealing with larger plots of land. This meeting was designed to get information out to landowners with 5 to 10 acres of land."
Batty said the purpose of the meetings is to encourage these landowners to make use of their downed or damaged timber instead of just allowing it to go to waste.
Dr. Pam Hodson, the LSU AgCenter’s regional director for Southeast Louisiana, pointed out that these meetings for timber owners are examples of the types of well-rounded sessions the AgCenter is attempting to offer on a variety of topics.
"In this meeting, we’re covering not only what to do with timber but also other topics ranging from income tax issues to the likelihood of fires," Hodson explained.
Downed trees and debris, coupled with much less than normal rainfall in the area since the storms, have increased the likelihood of fires. Officials point out there have been a number of fires in Washington, Tangipahoa and St. Tammany parishes – including one recently near Folsom that consumed 300 acres.
During the timber workshop, Dr. Todd Shupe, associate professor of forest products for the LSU AgCenter, recommended owners of smaller timber crops do as much of the work of cleanup and salvage themselves as they possibly can.
"The large industries are at capacity with material, and loggers are at a shortage to deal with all this volume of wood down," Shupe said. "So my recommendation is for the smaller landowners to try to find a portable sawmill."
On the positive side, however, Shupe said the demand for lumber is at an all-time high. That means landowners who can manage to cut, mill and dry timber will have a market for their products.
But Lula K. Breaux, a St. Tammany landowner, said Louisiana is losing resources.
"In Washington, Tangipahoa and St. Tammany parishes, fallen timber is just going to waste," she said, adding, "In Mississippi, Georgia Pacific came in with over 1,000 temporary workers to harvest the timber, and they’re going to keep it wet until it’s needed."
Batty said the problems with resources to harvest and process timber are complicated, because more than 65 percent of the timber in the hard-hit southeastern Louisiana parishes is either down, damaged or destroyed.
As for other workshops, LSU AgCenter agent Alexis Navarro of Jefferson Parish said workshops to help citizens recover from the storms also are being held the next couple of weeks at the East Bank Regional Library in Jefferson Parish.
"We’ve already had some of the meetings that dealt with such issues as mold removal and financial management after a storm," Navarro said. "That covered such things as avoiding scams and frauds, identity theft, how to buy an automobile to replace their vehicles, how to select a reputable contractor and other issues that people are dealing with right now."
Navarro also said there will be upcoming workshops on chainsaw safety and a variety of other topics.
For additional information on disaster recovery, visit the LSU AgCenter’s Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com. You also can phone the LSU AgCenter Disaster Recovery Hotline at (866) 573-0178 or contact your local LSU AgCenter office for information about other workshops, publications or answers to specific questions about disaster recovery.
Rusty Batty at (985) 875-2635 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Pam Hodson at (985) 543-4129 or email@example.com
Alexis Navarro at (504) 838-1170 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd Shupe at (225) 578- 4255 or email@example.com
Johnny Morgan at (225) 281-0814 or firstname.lastname@example.org