News Filed Under Forestry
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With up to three year's worth of harvest timber destroyed or damaged, the odds of salvaging much volume or value are slim, and the clock is ticking.
Bob Daniels, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said preliminary estimates indicate Hurricane Katrina damaged $1.3 billion worth of timber on 1.2 million acres.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Residents across Katrina-damaged areas are being discouraged from burning debris left in the hurricane's path.
Glenn Hughes, a forestry professor with Mississippi State University's Extension Service and a resident of Hattiesburg, said Mississippi residents should delay brush fires until conditions improve in the disaster area.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Tropical Storm Cindy and Hurricane Dennis, practically twins in their arrival dates and targeted areas, combined to dump as much as 8 inches of rain in some parts of Mississippi, but the bulk of the state's commercial trees withstood potentially damaging winds.
Glenn Hughes, forestry professor with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said most coastal areas were spared Dennis' wind damage. He speculated that east central Mississippi took a harder hit, but still damage was light.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Savvy U.S. consumers want to know the pedigree of the products they buy, a trend that is driving change in American production and industry, and Mississippi's forestry industry is no exception.
A nationwide market is developing for forest products produced in an economically, ecologically and socially sustainable manner. Products such as lumber produced under these standards are sold as certified forest products.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The tornadoes that swept across Mississippi April 6 caused an estimated $10.3 million in timber damage, and affected landowners must find a way to handle the loss of this cash crop.
According to information released by the Mississippi Forestry Commission, Pike and Walthall counties received the most damage. A tornado left a half-mile wide by 25-mile long path through 4,000 acres in the two counties, causing timber losses of $9.3 million.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Landowners with as few as five acres can manage their land for pine timber production, and an often overlooked byproduct can add to the profits.
Tim Traugott, a Mississippi State University Extension Service forestry professor, said in the past landowners needed 20 to 40 acres of land to make timber production economically feasible. With today's market situation and prices, however, five acres of pine trees is more than enough.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- New educational materials should help young people gain a life-long appreciation for the benefits of forests on society.
Bob Daniels, Extension professor in Mississippi State University's Department of Forestry, chaired the national design team that developed the "Forests of Fun" 4-H curriculum. Foresters, educators, curriculum specialists, county Extension agents and volunteer leaders from around the country contributed to the two-year project. The new national curriculum is the first for forestry since 1979.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Trees do more for an area than add beauty, and communities across Mississippi have begun to recognize and protect the value of these leafy giants.
The 2005 Urban Forestry and Arboriculture Conference Feb. 14-16 in Natchez will give community leaders a better understanding of the benefits trees provide to a community. The Mississippi State University Extension Service is one of the sponsors for the conference.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A wet summer kept loggers out of the woods and helped the 2004 timber harvest increase in value for the second consecutive year.
The state's No. 2 agricultural commodity is expected to have a 2004 value of production of about $1.1 billion, up 1.5 percent from last year's value. Poultry and timber have retained their No. 1 and 2 spots since the mid-1990s.
Debbie Gaddis, a forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said heavy rains in June, July and August contributed to increased timber prices.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Now is the time to prepare land for pine tree planting, and a new tax law change will affect landowners with both small and large acreage.
Debbie Gaddis, a forest taxation specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said tax incentives for planting pine trees changed in October. In general, this change is beneficial to landowners with large acreage and unfavorable for small landowners.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Weather conditions made 2004 a challenging year for the state's Christmas tree growers, but Mississippians should have no problem finding top quality, affordable trees to decorate their homes this holiday season.
Steve Dicke, forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said choose-and-cut tree sales reached 100,000 last year in Mississippi. Similar sales are expected this year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Strong nationwide housing starts are helping the timber markets buck late summer traditions and remain strong heading into the fall months.
Bob Daniels, forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said prices normally are lowest during the driest months when timber is most accessible for harvest.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A new wrinkle in the tax code allows timber owners to deduct the cost of fertilizer as an ordinary and necessary business expense.
Deborah Gaddis, forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said before the Internal Revenue Service ruling, fertilizer costs were treated as a capital expenditure and handled differently. Landowners now can deduct this cost all at once, up to certain limits, rather than recovering it over the expected life of the fertilizer, generally three years.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Newly elected officers for Mississippi State University's College of Forest Resources alumni are planning a "grand" 50th reunion for July 31.
Throughout the day, groups will tour campus locations such as the newly renovated Montgomery Hall, the Forest Products Lab, the wildlife holding pens and aquaculture unit. MSU baseball coach Ron Polk will be the guest speaker during the evening banquet in the Bost Extension Center.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's population is reflecting national trends as it undergoes a generational shift in assets, and that means a lot of forest land is changing hands without clear ownership.
Glenn Hughes, forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Purvis, said a recent survey indicated that many Mississippi landowners do not have a written will and are unprepared for the transfer of land and other assets.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Current dry weather makes burning debris a potentially lethal hazard, especially coupled with windy conditions that help spread fire at an alarming rate.
"The southern part of the state is particularly dry, so people should avoid burning debris at all," said Glenn Hughes, a forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "The fuel is there and ready to go up -- if a spark gets away from you, the wind can move it very quickly."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's 2003 timber industry did not begin its climb out of the depression of recent years, but officials believe the descent has stabilized and recovery should be in the near future.
Agricultural economists and forestry specialists with Mississippi State University's Extension Service are predicting the value of Mississippi's 2003 timber harvest at $1.03 billion, compared to 2002's value of almost $1.04 billion. That prediction represents a 0.3 percent decrease.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Enjoy the fresh smell of a live Christmas tree longer by shopping at one of the state's remaining choose-and-cut farms.
Steve Dicke, Christmas tree specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said between 1985 and 1987, the state had about 450 choose-and-cut farms. The 100 remaining farms represent some of the best quality trees available this holiday season. Locally grown trees offer fresher products than consumers will find on most retail lots.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Foresters and landowners can learn about tax issues ranging from deducting expenses to taking reforestation credits during upcoming short courses offered across the state this fall.
Debbie Gaddis, forestry tax specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, will teach the six-hour sessions for Webster, Forrest, Lamar, Yalobusha, Jackson, Jasper, Smith, Newton and Adams counties. Foresters and landowners from other counties are invited to attend at the most convenient location.