Posts tagged forestry

Agricultural & Forestry Leaders meet with Congressman Fleming in Beauregard Parish

February 23, 2012

A group of agricultural and forestry leaders met with Congressman John Fleming at the War Memorial Civic Center in Beauregard Parish to discuss issues involving the production of local food and forest products. Rather than speaking, Congressman Fleming wanted to hear from local Beauregard producers about the challenges they are facing.

Attendees included:

Thomas Avant, Gulf Coast Blueberries; AgCenter advisor

Clyde Gehron, Beauregard Farm Bureau, Board Member

David Smith, Beauregard Farm Bureau, President; Farmer, Leonard Smith Farms

George & Merlyn Giltner, Beauregard Forestry Association, past officers; Master Gardeners

David Vidrine, USDA Farm Service Agency, County Director; AgCenter advisor

Dick Myers, Louisiana Forestry Association , President; Boise Paper, Governmental Affairs

Chuck Melsheimer, Beauregard Cattlemen’s Association, President; Melsheimer Farms; AgCenter advisor

Topics included the high cost of fertilizers, child labor, minimum wage, bioenergy, the Farm Bill, the national debt, trade with China, and environmental regulations. The discussions were informal as these leaders sat around a table to exchange concerns and thoughts.  Congressman Fleming, when asked, commented about the composition of the House and Senate after the upcoming elections, and he said that  he expected the next Congress will be friendlier to businesses.

Fleming affirmed the hard work and character of these citizens and thanked them for this discussion.

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Forestry Forums – A Valuable Tool for Tree Farm Management

The Southwest Louisiana Forestry Forum, an educational program of the LSU AgCenter, will be coming up soon. It will be on Saturday, March 17, at the Southern Forest Heritage Museum, Longleaf, LA. It is also the Annual Meeting of the SW LA Forestry Association.

I asked Mr. George Giltner, a Tree Farmer and past President, Beauregard Forestry Association, to share his comments about the benefits of attending Forestry Forums. Here are his thoughts:

This is the time of year to get updates, make new contacts, and to review management plans with the assistance of forest forums throughout the state.  These meetings provide experts from the LSU AgCenter and other agencies to help deal with everything from estate planning to prescribed thinnings to maximize forest health and yield of our timber products.  While we are in the information age with computers and online information, human to human communication is by far the best means of disseminating forest information.

 Our Tree Farm has benefited over the years with professional advice from forest specialists. Dad first experimented with Timber Stand Improvement with a garden tractor modified to power a heavy drill that he used to inject herbicide.  That did not work as the cull trees simply continued to grow with dead holes in the trunk.  After attending one of the first available forestry meetings, he learned about girdling to destroy the cambium layer for hardwood control. Then we were off deadening hardwoods every weekend to improve our pine stands.  From that time on, we made every effort to keep up with the educational information at forestry seminars.  Probably the most significant seminars were on marketing timber for final rotation sales.  We doubled our expected returns by using sealed bids and the services of foresters for sales.  Estate planning seminars also had a profound effect on our ability to send the kids to college and to retain capital in the Tree Farm after Dad passed.

 Last year after hearing emphasis on fire protection, budget cuts affecting response times of fire fighters, and the need for continued management in a down market, we took our forester’s advice for a thinning on our home 80 acres.  Most of our fire lanes are now 20 to 25 feet wide, yaupon and other flammable brush has been reduced to ground level, and crowded pine beetle Ips infected areas have removed or opened up for healthy forest growth.

 Forestry forums have always been a catalyst for action.  The emphasis of subject matter that they bring forward, a better way to manage forests, and just the private discussions and interactions at meetings with professionals, lead to making the family forest more profitable and viable.  Plan on attending one or more!

Attitude of gratitude: Thank you, George for your comments.




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