Saturday, February 25, 2012

Young Farmers

Mobile Bay was busy this morning as ships and tugboats ran up and down the bay as the sun started to rise.  This was the view from our motel room on the 17th floor at the Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel.  I was asked to judge the Alabama Young Farmers Farm Family competition along with two other individuals.  It was a quick trip but it was very enjoyable meeting and talking with these young farm families.  It made me feel young after having a birthday this week.
Brandon Moore, Alabama Farmers Federation Young Farmer Director, briefed us on what we were about to do in the judging process.  Kirsten Johnson, Mississippi Young Farmer Director, and on the other side of me, Ray Hilburn, Alabama Poultry and Egg Association Membership Director, listen to the instructions we were to follow in the interviewing of the young farm families.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Attempted Prescribed Burn

Today was a day that stayed cloudy and the humidity was at times as high as 58 percent.  This made it almost impossible to burn.  We got a few acres to burn but we will have to go back and try again on the majority of the land to burn.
It looked funny where spots did not burn.  It just was not dry enough. 
Here you can see the flames were not very high and there was lots of smoke due to the high humidity.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Arbor Day

Friday of last week we, at the Clay County Forestry Planning Committee, gave away trees for our Arbor Day Project.  Darlene Lovelady from the elementary school was the first person to come by the Forestry Commission Office to get trees to plant.  Josh, Mr. Brown, and Nick worked hard sorting and identifying trees we gave away.

Today I drove to Centre to meet with the Alabama Treasure Forest Association Committee planning this years conference.  We are planning a great meeting providing good information to private forest landowners.
Centre Chamber of Commerce is excited about hosting the convention and are working to make this meeting a success.  The meeting was at the Gadsden State College branch in Centre.  Great facility!

After I got back from the meeting in Centre I went to Bowden Grove to get some pictures for Melissa Moeller with the American Forest Foundation in Washington DC and to planted some Beauty Berry plants on the property.  Tomorrow, hope is to burn 125 acres there if the weather will cooperate.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Forest and Clean Water

We are doing a major pre-commercial thinning of a pine stand right now.  This thinning will help the trees to grow faster and improve the habitat for wildlife.  Plans are two years from now thinning this stand again but this time it will be for money instead of costing money like it is now.  It cost $175 an hour to have this process done and it takes hours on several acres.  This machine is amazing how it eats through these trees.

You might ask why do you choose to do it this way?  The answer is on the ground.  The mulch acts as a sponge and helps purify the water as it goes through the mulch.  The mulch holds the soil in place and keeps the water clean.  The people of Clay County drink the water that falls as rain on this property then flows down the streams.  The picture below shows what the ground looks like after the thin.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Work and Meetings

This week started with firebreaks being cleaned out.  We are going to burn 125 acres next week if the weather cooperates.  Nic Jordan with the Alabama Forestry Commission is the best and deserves an award because of his commitment to doing a good job. 
The next day I was in Birmingham for a State Wildlife Committee meeting at the Farmers Federation Commodity Organizational meetings.  One speaker spoke on the best trap doors to use to catch wild hogs.  The next speaker spoke on the black bears in Alabama and how there are probable more than we know.  He told about several bears that they  had worked with to try to help them survive.  The last speaker spoke on Whitetail deer and the research Auburn University is doing at the deer research facility.  The next day I had a major pre-commercial thinning project started.  The pines are too thick and we are trying to cut down on competition.
Before thinning.
After thinning, more sunlight comes through and not only helps the trees grow but it helps the wildlife have more browse.
This is what the ground looks like after the machine has gone through the trees and cut them down.  The mulch helps keep the water clean and makes for no erosion.  

The next day we had a meeting with Tree Farm at Auburn University put together by Dr. Salem Saloom on Private Family Forest advocacy.  Melissa Moeller with the American Forestry Foundation in Washington DC was the main speaker for the seminar.   The meeting started with dinner at the Auburn University Conference Center.  The meetings started the next morning at breakfast at the Forestry and Wildlife Science Building.
Melissa Moeller and Dr. Salem Saloom

Dr. James Shepard, Dean of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Science, is a great asset to Alabama.  He is such a worker wanting to help the people of this state.

The Speaker of the House in Alabama, Mike Hubbard, spoke about forestry issues and gave his support for forestry and what we are doing to make Alabama a Great State.  Tom Saunders and Chris Isaacson with the Alabama Forestry Association also spoke on Alabama forestry issues.

Dr. Shepard had graduate students do posters on their research projects so we could see what is going on as far as research in forestry and wildlife.  This was very interesting.

That night at the Conference Center was the forestry awards banquet.  Dr. Shepard put his support behind this and made it a great success.  A huge plaque was unveiled at the meeting with all of the names of the  former Helene Mosley Award winners.  This will hang in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Science Building  at Auburn.  It is such an honor to be on that board with other great individuals that love and care for our natural resources.
It was a good two days visiting and spending time with old friends and meeting and making new friends.  Looking forward to next year!