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Latest from the Forest Landowners Association!

Legislative Update: Endangered Species Act

Three new bills have been introduced to amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that pertain to transparency and citizen suits.

Under current law, when a species is proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act, the Department of Interior publishes the listing proposal in the Federal Register and allows for public comment for a 60 day comment period. To promote awareness of a proposal, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service then issues news releases, conducts special mailings, and informs the scientific community and other Federal and State agencies. In addition, the government publishes a summary of any proposal as a legal notice in newspapers serving each area in which the species is believed to dwell and holds public hearings in cases of high public interest or if an interested party requests one within 45 days of the proposal. (more)

Legislative Update: WOTUS Rollback Moving Forward

As the Trump administration prepares to pull back the Obama administration’s signature water rule, Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso, a longtime Waters of the United States critic, will preside over a hearing Wednesday aimed at detailing flaws with the 2015 rule and the process that produced it. His Environment and Public Works Committee hearing will host a who’s who of players from the WOTUS battle, including Michael Josselyn, a wetlands consultant and dissenting voice from the external EPA science panel that worked on the rule, and Ken Kopocis, the Obama administration water chief who oversaw it.  

At the same time, farmers will be meeting with Trump on the issue. In addition to signing the aforementioned executive order geared toward rural America, Trump will hold a roundtable discussion with farmers on Tuesday. (more)

Legislative Update: Strengthening Timber Markets with Trade Agreements

The forestry sector in the United States has experienced extreme volatility, unprecedented challenges, and substantial change during the past two decades.  We are at a tipping point regarding the importance of increasing wood markets for the economic livelihood of forest landowners and sustaining healthy forests.  The future suggests both opportunities and challenges.  FLA has increased its commitment to public and government affairs work to leverage a policy atmosphere favorable to the use of wood as an environmentally preferred product.

The FLA is focused ensuring trade agreements advocate the interest of US wood markets and landowners to ensure access to emerging markets for forest related products. (more)

Legislative Update: Tax Policy Gaining Interest

President Trump indicated that the process to reform America’s tax code will kick into high gear this week, with an expected annulment of the Administrations tax reform plan on Wednesday.

There are three legs to the tax reform stool: the House, the Senate, and the White House. Little is known about what will be the priorities of the Senate and White House so we will be watching closely to see how their positions evolve this week. Knowing that tax reform is a high priority of the White House and Congress,  FLA is on the Hill weekly talking to members of Congress about key provisions (more)

 

Conference Preview: Mini-Q&A with Alex Vogel, Founding Partner, VogelHood Group

Everyone agrees that the Trump presidency will be like none other before it. Forest landowners are optimistic that Trump’s platform of tax reform, domestic jobs creation and better trade deals will be a very positive thing for them and their interests. Is their optimism well-founded?

I believe that optimism is well founded. The president has laid out a broadly deregulatory agenda focused on policies centered on incentivizing and promoting U.S. based producers and jobs. When combined with a broad push towards an America-focused trade policy, these initiatives should be viewed with optimism. (more)

Early Forestry Education

Auburn University’s summer forestry camp for high school students helps prepare the next generation of land managers.

On warm June mornings, you might notice groups of students in forests near Auburn, Alabama.  Listen and you might hear cicadas hum in the distance, the clinking of logger’s tapes and the unmistakable squeak of an increment borer biting into a pine. There is a murmur of voices as an Auburn University professor moves from group to group.

These are not, however, college students. They are high school participants in a forestry camp as part of Auburn’s summer youth programs. This fourth-annual, week-long residential camp, scheduled this year from June 25-30, gives students ages 15 to 18 the opportunity to learn about the profession of forestry and the management of associated natural resources. (more)


Being Prepared

Generations of boys have learned about the woods through Boy Scouts of America. With kids spending more time indoors and in front of screens, BSA’s efforts are increasingly important in educating the next generation of forestry.

Jimmy Sawgrass is leading a group of Boy Scouts and adult scout leaders through the woods at Camp La-No-Che. It’s a balmy afternoon a week before Christmas at this mostly wooded, 1,480-acre Central Florida camp on the border of the Ocala National Forest.

Sawgrass, a member of the Muskogee Creek tribe, is providing a running commentary on trees, animals, hunting, and living off the land. He points out a 100-year-old oak felled by Hurricane Matthew two months earlier, notes various edible and poisonous berries, and shows where scouts like my 11-year-old son, who hope to earn their wilderness survival merit badges, must construct lean-to shelters and spend a night with only the clothes on their backs. (more)

Barreling Along

Though Alexandra Richman’s grandfather and his siblings sold the Jack Daniel’s distillery six decades ago, the fourth-generation landowner manages more than 6,000 acres of Tennessee forestland in the shadow of where her great-great grand uncle founded his famous whiskey empire. 

Alex Richman is driving through history. On a crisp chamber-of-commerce morning in mid-October, with the sun accenting a kaleidoscope of fall colors, Richman pilots her SUV through Tennessee land her family has owned for more than a century.

She points out specimen white oaks on either side of the road while mentally reviewing a packed schedule that includes a forestry field event the next day, along with an ongoing red oak logging operation and a timber sale the following month. She’s a landowner, forester, hunter, graduate forestry student at the University of Tennessee and, on this day, perhaps the most insightful tour guide of Lynchburg, the tiny town that draws 300,000 annual visitors wanting a glimpse of how the world’s most famous whiskey is made. (more)  

Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works Holds Hearing on Endangered Species Act Modernization

On Wednesday, February 15 2015 the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, chaired by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (WY) held a hearing entitled “Oversight: Modernization of the Endangered Species Act. Offering both written and verbal testimony at the hearing (more)

Tax Time

Forestland tax rules change every year and 2016 was no exception. Here’s what you need to know as you prepare your returns for April.

This report provides up-to-date federal income tax information affecting timber transactions. It assists woodland owners, logging professionals, foresters and their tax accountants in filing the 2016 tax returns. The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended for legal or accounting advice. It is current as of September 30, 2016. (more)

Tar Heels in the Forest

Modern forestry has deep roots in North Carolina, home to one of America’s strongest forest industries and site of FLA’s 2017 national conference.

When the Forest Landowners Association welcomes members to the Omni Grove Park Inn for the annual National Forest Landowners Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, on May 30, it will return to arguably the birthplace of American forestry.

The Tar Heel state’s nickname originates from the earliest days of the colony, when the area’s vast pine forests were an important source of tar, pitch, and turpentine to the British Navy.

Organized forestry began around the start of the 20th century out of a need to restore and protect the Appalachian Mountains, which had been damaged by more than a century of abusive lumbering and fire. At the time, nearly all of North Carolina was clearcut to make way for farms. (more)

FLA Amongst 132 Organizations Pushing for Death Tax Repeal Act

On Tuesday January 25th a letter written by the Family Business Coalition and signed by 132 different trade associations, including the Forest Landowners Association (FLA),  was sent to Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-SD) in support of their Death Take Repeal Act of 2017. The letter thanked the senator and congresswoman for their bill saying, “The negative effects of the estate tax make permanent repeal the only solution for family businesses and farms. Your legislation will help America’s family businesses create jobs, expand operations, and grow the economy.” (more)

Landowner Engagement

Stepping Up the Message

Timber talks and forest forums spotlight role of private forests in at-risk species conservation and environmental benefits; FLA events held in Georgia, Alabama.

FLA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Host Forum at Auburn

FLA and representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) held a Forest Forum on Nov. 10 at Auburn to strengthen the relationship between forest landowners and the USFWS.

FLA members respond quickly to IRS on the proposed change

More than 35 family forest stakeholders responded to FLA’s Call to Engage by sending comments to the IRS on the US Department of Treasury proposed changes to the way estates are valued in what is known as section 2704. 

(more)

Investing in a Consulting Forester

Retaining a forestry professional can be a landowner’s best move. The key is to check credentials and find the one best suited for your needs.

When it comes to choosing a forester,one size does not fit all. Given the individualized nature of a forest property in terms of management goals, it can be a challenge to identify and hire the proper professional.

Forestry commission foresters and extension agents provide valuable free advice. While the price is right, public service foresters tend to provide only a cursory examination of woodlands and generic recommendations for forest management. Many landowners seek a more thorough review of the property and a more in-depth report. (more)

The 2016 Forest Year in Review

From a bitter Presidential campaign to concern about increasing government regulation, forest landowners won't soon forget 2016.

Just about any issue or trend that impacted forest landowners in 2016 was overshadowed and influenced by the 2016 Presidential election.

Whether it was the death tax, markets, regulation on multiple fronts, they were all subplots to the most polarizing Presidential election in American history. (more)

Presidents Letter

Happy New Year! Regardless of how you voted in the general election or what predictions might be made about the impact of the results, we can be sure of one thing: this presents an opportunity for private forest landowners.

   It has been more than a decade since the executive branch and Congress were aligned under the Republican Party and the first time since 1928 that a Republican President has taken office with a majority in Congress. Although we are not a partisan association, we all can agree that the priorities of private forest landowners often are advanced by the Republican Party. The GOP, after all, tends to have a better understanding of our shared values. (more)


FLA Board Meeting Set for February 6-8 in Washington DC

The Forest Landowners Association Executive Committee and Board of Directors will meet February 6-8 in Washington DC to discuss strategic priorities for the upcoming year, conduct official association business and meet with elected representatives on Capitol Hill.

“There is no better place for us to jump right in to our work on behalf of private forest landowners in 2017 than in Washington DC,” said FLA CEO Scott Jones. “Congress and the administration have both begun to realize the economic and environmental importance of larger private forest landowners and the FLA will continue to reinforce our role in having the needs and concerns of these landowners clearly communicated.”

The meeting will kick off on Monday with two smaller breakout meetings. The Strategic Planning Implementation Committee will meet in the morning and the Executive Committee will meet in the afternoon. (more)

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