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Workshops Are Set For Forest Owners
By Chuck Dunlap
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Forest ownership is a significant family asset that can send children to college, provide current and retirement income, and enable a better lifestyle if owners know how to manage land properly.
Dr. Glenn Hughes, Extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University, said unfortunately, many private, non-industrial forest landowners, particularly minority or female landowners, are not realizing the full benefit of land ownership. Many encounter problems managing their forest land.
"Landowners frequently undervalue their forest land, need guidance to protect their land for current and future uses, and require help in technical matters such as timber sales and regeneration," Hughes said.
Several forest landowner workshops are being held throughout Mississippi this summer to better educate these underserved landowners on the value of their property. There are currently 20 county-level programs scheduled for 1999.
Forestry is an extensive resource in Mississippi, with timber covering 61 percent of the land. Private, non-industrial forest landowners hold 66 percent of this land, of which 82 percent is classified as highly productive. The state also benefits from strong and diverse timber markets.
"Complex ownership patterns make it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to actively manage forest land. Hopefully these workshops will clear up confusion and address any questions the landowners might have," Hughes said.
Workshop speakers include tree farmers, foresters and an attorney. Workshops will address the following topics:
- Legal and ownerships issues -- why clear titles, written skills and binding contracts are important to landowners, and where to get help with these issues.
- Environmental issues -- why Best Management Practices help landowners protect their forest land and how federal and state regulations and legislation can potentially affect the management of forest land.
- Economics of forestry -- can a landowner make money growing trees? and
- Sources of assistance -- where landowners can get help with their forest land.
These workshops are sponsored by the MSU Extension Service, local county forestry associations and U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies. Counties with programs scheduled for the remainder of the year include Adams, Chickasaw, Claiborne, Clay, Copiah, Covington, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lincoln, Marshall, Neshoba, Newton, Pike, Winston and Yazoo counties.