SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA FORESTRY ASSOCIATION
By Dick Meaux, President
A number of years ago, some forward looking individuals decided that it was time for landowners in Beauregard Parish to get together and meet to discuss items of mutual interest – the result was the founding of the Beauregard Landowners Association. As time progressed the focus of the association narrowed to issues primarily involving forestry and the name was changed to the Beauregard Forestry Landowners Association to reflect more accurately what the organization was about. The evolution continued and a couple years ago it was decided to broaden the membership to include the parishes of Allen, Calcasieu, Jeff Davis and Vernon, changing the name to the Southwest Louisiana Forestry Association (SWLAFA).
Those of you receiving this blog already know this and are familiar with what we do. You also realize that our group is made up primarily of forestry landowners both private and industrial. Certainly there are professionals such as foresters, buyers and loggers and the like who are members, but our primary membership is made up of tree farmers both large and small. It is with that in mind that this article is written because there are a lot of people out in the five parishes that are involved in growing, managing and selling timber that could benefit from what SWLAFA has to offer and yet they do not know that we exist and that we can help them enhance their forestry operation.
With the foregoing in mind, this is a plea for you who already enjoy membership in our group to pass the word to friends and neighbors who are interested in forestry and tree farming that there is an organization that can provide them not only with information and assistance but with the opportunity for them to meet with others who share their interests. They should know that we have an informative annual meeting, field trips and workshops of many types that cover a wide range of topics.
At the last annual meeting we had a presentation from the Executive Director of the Louisiana Forestry Association covering the activities of the Legislature, then in session, that affect Forestry. An attorney who specializes in mineral leasing gave timely advice on that topic, one which is of interest to many as there is much activity in the local oil patch just now. The District Conservationist discussed longleaf programs as well as other areas of NRCS support that could benefit forestry land owners. How to register your land as a movie site was presented and the difficulties of selling small tracts of timber were brought up. Timber from small tracts of less that 40-70 acres is sometimes difficult to market since it is not cost-effective for a logger to move equipment for such a relatively small harvest. The hope to develop a system wherein small landowners could get together on a sale in a certain area that would concentrate their timber assets and thus make harvesting more attractive due to the larger amount of acreage. This effort is currently underway.
Field trip options are being considered, but the last annual meeting site was a just such a trip in itself in that it was held the historic Southern Forest Heritage Museum at Longleaf, Louisiana between Forest Hill and Glenmora. This could not have been a more perfect setting for an in depth presentation of items pertaining to forestry. The opportunity to enjoy a great bar-be-que luncheon and then tour of the historic buildings and facilities rounded out a very informative day.
Recent workshops involved hunting leases, prescribed burning and landowner legacy and succession. The later topic is unique in that it attempts to help a landowners pass on the fruits of their efforts to the next generation and not see their land lost to an unmanageable estate where a tangle of different interests result in the land becoming unproductive and unmanageable. One future workshop already planned will address thinning of a stand and thus be a help to those who choose to manage their own timber.
The price of membership for one person and one spouse is only twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per year. The benefits, such as the ones discussed above, are obvious, but in addition at the annual meeting there is lunch for all and the fee for most workshops are waived for members of our group. Now it is up to you, current members, to put out the call and be a good friend and neighbor by encouraging other forestry landowners to join. They will not only benefit from what we have to offer, but they will thank you as well.
Thank you and think good forestry management.