News Filed Under Forestry
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The Mississippi State University Extension Service will offer timber tax workshops Feb. 28 in Raymond, March 1 in Coffeeville and March 29 in Oxford.
Landowners, certified accountants, consulting foresters and loggers are invited to participate in the Income Taxes and Family Forest short course. Topics include changes to capital gains tax law, basics of basis, record keeping, timber sales income, recovery of reforestation costs, casualty losses, strategic tax planning, tax forms and information sources.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s agricultural commodities are predicted to reach a record-high value of more than $6.7 billion for 2011.
Mississippi State University Extension Service economists compiled the numbers from poultry, forestry, agronomic crops, catfish and livestock for the annual value estimate. If government payments are factored in, the state’s value of production reaches $7 billion for the first time in history.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Kudzu can grow a foot per day, and today it covers nearly seven million acres in the South.
Now listed as a federal noxious weed, kudzu was imported to prevent soil erosion and to feed livestock. The semi-woody plant covers large tracts of land from eastern Texas to the East Coast and as far north as Maryland. Kudzu climbs, covers and eventually kills trees, destroying the timber-producing value of these lands. It reduces land productivity by millions of dollars yearly.
By Kaitlyn Byrne
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Each year, many Mississippians must decide whether to buy a live or an artificial tree to celebrate the Christmas season.
John Kushla, Mississippi State University Extension forestry specialist at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, said artificial trees are usually less expensive than real trees and can last for many seasons, but real Christmas trees provide benefits that artificial trees do not offer.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Freshness is the key to quality Christmas trees, and with choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms scattered across the state, all Mississippians can get a great tree every year.
John Kushla, forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, said locally grown trees can look great for weeks when they are put in water immediately.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Pine beetles are a threat when trees are stressed, but a cost-share program can help Mississippi private forest landowners keep trees healthy.
Andy Londo, forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said proactive management activities, such as periodic thinning, can increase overall forest health and reduce the threat of a Southern pine beetle outbreak.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The tornadoes that ripped through Mississippi this April damaged about 74,000 acres of forestland in 22 counties, racking up timber losses of more than $30 million. Most of that timber was uninsured, but the results of a survey conducted by Mississippi State University may help change that trend.
Steve Bullard was one of those uninsured. He owns 100 acres of timber in Webster County — 40 acres of 26-year-old plantation pine and 60 acres of mixed pine and hardwood.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – It’s not the heat or drought but the economy, specifically poor housing starts, that are causing grief for Mississippi’s forestry industry in 2011.
James Henderson, forestry economist and management specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the slow economy is hurting the industry.
“There’s no good news for the pulpwood markets, and pine saw timber prices are the lowest they’ve been since the national housing construction downturn started in 2006,” Henderson said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – With most of the state needing rain and south Mississippi under exceptional drought, landowners are watching as their trees deal with stress.
Glenn Hughes, forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said dead or dying trees, both pine and hardwood, are becoming a common sight in south Mississippi. This concerns both homeowners and forest landowners.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Much of the flooded Delta was already planted for the 2011 season, and when it finally dries out, landowners will face challenges preparing it for planting.
Landowners of flooded acreage must manage a variety of issues, including oxygen-depleted soils, nutrient loss, soil compaction, debris removal and possible chemical contamination. Some acres may not be ready for planting again until next year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Financial incentives for property owners to plant and manage their lands for timber production have been around since the 1930s, but many private landowners in Mississippi do not know about them.
These incentives, called cost-share programs, were developed to offset the initial costs for site preparation, tree planting and forest stand improvement.
By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The overflowing Mississippi River is threatening the Delta’s trees, but with the proper care and maintenance, many can and will recover.
The Delta’s forests are exclusively bottomland hardwood, and the trees range from tolerant to very intolerant to flooding. For example, baldcypresses generally fare better than white oaks in flooding situations.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Farmers in the path of the cresting Mississippi River floodwaters should take precautions to minimize effects of the flood, and high on that list is moving farm chemicals out of harm’s way.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality is urging farmers, homeowners and those whose businesses deal with chemicals to beware of environmental issues that can result if flooding reaches them. Among the farm chemicals that should be moved are herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, fuels and treated seeds.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Tornadoes that swept through Mississippi and much of the southeast April 27 caused an estimated $8.4 million of timber losses.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission compiled the estimate April 30 based on aerial surveys conducted after the storms. Russell Bozeman, director of forest protection and forest information with the commission, said the total affected area was about 26,240 acres. Of this, 15,564 were forested acres.
By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The estimate for this year’s forestry year-end harvest value is better than last year’s dismal showing, and if the forecasted improvement in the overall economy is accurate, this trend could continue for the next few years.
The preliminary estimate for forestry’s overall harvest value is $1.078 billion, which is comparable to 2008’s value of $1.079 billion. The harvest value for 2009 was $864 million, the first time in 16 years the value dipped below the billion-dollar mark.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi farmers are finding out not only what a difference a year makes, but also what a difference a decade makes.
Agricultural economists with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service predict a record $6.9 billion production value for the state’s farm enterprises. The figure represents a 19 percent increase, or $1.09 billion, from 2009’s disastrous bottom line. After adjusting for inflation of agricultural prices, it is 45 percent, or $1.55 billion, better than in the year 2000. The previous record of $6.4 billion was set in 2005.
By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications
VERONA -- With less than a month to go, Mississippi’s Christmas tree growers are counting down the days to what may shape up as a great year.
The trees mature enough for sale have good color and have filled out nicely, despite periods of dry weather statewide and too much rain in some areas of the state. Most species of Christmas trees grown in Mississippi take five years to mature, which makes one-fifth of a grower’s crop marketable each year if new seedlings are planted after the holiday season.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The summer’s drought has made lawns, woods and grassy areas into fire starters, creating ideal conditions for wildfires across Mississippi.
On Oct. 6, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour issued a statewide ban on all outdoor burning in response to “extremely dry conditions and fire danger.” The ban will remain until the conditions improve and the danger is abated. This action came less than a week after the Mississippi Forestry Commission issued a statewide Wildland Fire Alert.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The Sept. 17-18 Mid-South Forestry Equipment Show will showcase the newest technology and machinery being used to advance the South’s timber industry.
The event will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days on the John W. Starr Memorial Forest off of Highway 25 near Starkville. It is sponsored by Mississippi State University’s College of Forest Resources, Hatton-Brown Publishers Inc., Mississippi Logger’s Association and the Mississippi Forestry Association.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A passion for the environment is drawing students to a recently redesigned economics-based degree program at Mississippi State University.
The Environmental Economics and Management degree combines courses in environmental economics, natural resource economics, environmental policy, ecology and environmental law. The EEM major was formerly an environmental and resource economics concentration under the umbrella degree Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics.