Category Archives: Policy

Government and Industry Policy Discussion

In Arizona, the trees have become the enemy of the forest.

Masses of spindly young trees crowd the forest floor and become tinder for destructive forest fires. Instead of focusing on the value of the trees to loggers, the Nature Conservancy’s Future Forests project would make it more viable to remove the young trees that make Arizona forests so dangerous. But thus far the project’s loggers, truckers and sawmills have not met tree removal targets.

Read more…

Census of Ag is underway

The Census of Ag mailouts take place over the next few weeks:

* Electronic Data Reporting Push Letter:  Nov. 27 to ~1 million farmers

* First mailing of Census form:  Dec. 5 to ~420,000 farmers

* Second mailing of Census form:  Dec. 12 to ~590,000 farmers

* Third mailing of Census form:  Dec. 19 to ~950,000 farmers

The first mailout is a letter with information for recipients to respond online.  Subsequent mailouts are paper copies of the Census of Agriculture, though farmers are always encouraged to respond online.  It’s a time-saver for everyone, because the improved online survey is user-friendly, calculates totals automatically, and skips questions not applicable to your operation.

The census response deadline is February 5, 2018.

Farm operations of all sizes which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2017 are included in the census.

Data from the Census help:

* Shape programs and initiatives that benefit young and beginning farmers;

* Expand access to resources that help women, veteran and minority farmers;

* And help farmers diversify into new markets, including local and regional food systems, specialty crops and organic production.

 

If you have any questions about the Census of Agriculture or any NASS surveys and data, please call our office in Louisville, (800) 928-5277.  Thank you for your time and partnership.

 

David Knopf | Regional Director

USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service

Eastern Mountain Regional Field Office

T: 502-907-3218 | F: 855-270-2708

KWOA Board considers range of important topics at it meetings

Woodland property assessment

The on-going appeal regarding property assessment by Jim Corum, KWOA past president, is based on a lack of constitutional appropriateness regarding the disparity in application of property assessment criteria. The current assessment has economic implications for landowners regarding forestland as an investment given the carrying cost of the tax burden. For example, as a percentage of net income, woodland owners pay 15.6 percent of net income compared to 3 percent for corn farmers.

 

KWOA has conducted lengthy discussions covering many aspects of the issue including what criteria distinguish personal use from agricultural use for timber properties and the potential impact on counties’ tax base, particularly in light of the significant decrease in tax revenues from mined minerals.

 

Rough estimates indicate that Kentucky timber resources are only about 25 percent as productive as they could be due to lack of management. The KWOA board voted to form a committee to define what constitutes sustainable management practices. The committee will attempt to compare differences in tax rates between properties that implement sustainable management plans and those that don’t.

Recent high-profile property tax assessments for lots slated for future development in Fayette County resulted in new criteria for agriculture exemptions. There is no similar criteria for tree farms. KWOA is developing a related position paper focused on retaining property tax exemptions for all 10+acre woodlands. The position paper supports greater rewards for woodlands with active management plans. The first effort will be to develop and agree on the criteria that will differentiate a “working forest” (actively farmed) from a personal use or “volunteer” forest.

U.S. Congressional Working Forest Caucus

U.S. House and Senate bipartisan caucuses were formed to pursue common legislative objectives and policies relating to responsible, active management of privately owned forests. No Kentucky congressional legislators are members of these caucuses.

KWOA sent letters with the UK Kentucky Forestry Economic Contribution Report 2016 to the state’s U.S. senators and representatives. Sample letters were sent to KWOA members to encourage them to contact their congressional legislators about joining a caucus.

 

Member presentation on timber harvest

Eric Shrader, woodland owner and KWOA member, made a presentation to the board regarding his experience with a 2015 timber harvest. He shared the challenges, lessons learned, and the result of his efforts to have a logging inspection report corrected to reflect what he considered to be violations of best management practices during the harvest. A summary of his presentation is on the KWOA Practices page at www.kwoa.net.

 

Guest presentation from Dendri Fund

Barbara Hurt, Dendri Fund Executive Director, explained that the Dendri Fund is an independent foundation that gives grants focused on working groups: wood, water and grains. Born out of Brown Forman, a family-owned business, the Fund invests in building relationships, creating dialogue and shared learning, and fueling innovative solutions bringing together diverse perspectives. The Fund is in the process of changing its policy from a transactional to transformative grant-making process.

McCauley Adams, with Dendri’s wood working group, spoke about its focus on the importance of wood products to Brown Forman and to the quality of life for Kentucky’s future generations. Members brought up possible topics of mutual interest such as sustainable management of forests, the importance of other species besides oak and barrel-making and the threats from invasives.

 

KWOF sponsors six programs during 2017 with $3,450 in funding

KWOF contributed sponsorships to the following entities during 2017:

Greenup County Conservation District – $400 – to help fund their annual Woods and Wildlife for Your Wallet program.

Leopold Conservation Award – $500 – honors Kentucky farmers, ranchers and other private landowners who voluntarily demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources.
UK Forestry Student Scholarship – $1,000 – to an outstanding student enrolled in the University of Kentucky’s professional forestry degree program.

Woodland Owners Short Course – $650 – The WOSC is designed to assist Kentucky’s woodland owners in the care and management of their woodland resource.

UK Kentucky Forestry Leadership Program – $400 – for two competitive scholarships to the weeklong program at Jabez for students interested in natural resource management.

Salt River Watershed Project- $500 – managed through the Kentucky Waterways Alliance.

 

New Kentucky Division of Forestry Director outlines plans for agency

Recently appointed Director James Wright introduced himself and updated the board on agency activities and plans. Mr. Wright reported on staffing levels at the agency and his goal to streamline management personnel and increase field staff, including an urban forester position. There is real hope to have US Fish &Wildlife Service provide ongoing support on all enforcement issues. Kentucky foresters are being sent to other states on fires and management practices through new neighbor agreements with the US Forest Service. These changes are saving general fund dollars and looking in new directions to fund and promote sustainable forestry.

Pam Snyder, KDF Stewardship Branch Manager, reported that emerald ash borer has been found in six more counties. The division is re-gearing to roles that have an economic return. It is developing a cooperative agreement with NRCS on easements and timber stand improvement.

 

Emerald ash borer

The office of the Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture has agreed to hold a meeting to discuss issues and economics related to the emerald ash borer. The emerald ash borer (or EAB), a native of Asia, is a half inch long dark metallic green beetle that kills ash trees within three to five years after they become infested.

Former KWOA president Joe Ball has contacted several statewide agencies and associations regarding the EAB threat. He assured the board that forestry is a big issue for the current commissioner, Ryan Quarles. In discussions with the commissioner’s marketing staffer, Ball thinks that woodland owners who have experienced timber loss from EAB damage may qualify for disaster relief funds. The USDA Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Forest Restoration Program provides payments to eligible owners of rural nonindustrial private forest land to carry out emergency measures to restore forest health on land damaged by natural disaster events. Insect disease is mentioned as damage that is eligible for relief funds.

 

UK Forestry Extension is developing a fact sheet utilizing existing forest inventory data for ash trees and EAB infestations to project the economic impact of resultant stumpage, canopy and overall downstream loss from this invasive. (Ash trees comprise seven percent of forest species in Kentucky.) Joe Ball recommended that loss payment be tied to cleanup and active management of future timber.

Governor signs Timber Theft Legislation SB38

Senate Bill 38 relating to timber theft passed both the Senate and the House with one amendment and was signed by the Governor.

The bill amends KRS 364.130 to specify that a person, regardless of state of mind or whether the person believes to be authorized or not, is liable for three times the stumpage value of the timber and three times the cost of any damages to property when he or she takes the timber of another without legal right or color of title.

The amendment exempts residential property owners and farmland owners maintaining their fence rows who mistakenly remove the timber of an adjoining property owner from the requirement to pay treble damages.

 

KWOA and NWOA support resolution to create Timber Theft and Trespass Reduction Task Force

HCR 29 directs the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission to establish a Timber Theft and Trespass Reduction Task Force to study issues regarding timber theft and trespass and to develop consensus recommendations to address those issues.

The task force would meet three times before submitting its final report to the LRCommission by November 30, 2016. The LRC has authority to alternatively assign the issues identified in the Resolution to interim joint committees or subcommittees.

Sponsored in the House by representatives Combs, Denham, Howard, Montell, Nelson, Osborne and Riggs, the resolution passed 95-0 in February. It is now in the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.

KWOA voted at its annual meeting to support the resolution with a letter from President Frank Hicks. In addition, Keith Argow, President, National Woodland Owners Association submitted a letter of support to the senate committee. In his letter Argow notes that “…Kentucky has one of the weakest positions against timber theft of any state.” He argues that, in addition to inherent flaws, Kentucky’s current statute with respect to timber theft, KRS 364.130, is a civil statute that requires timber theft victims to file civil suits, an action that is out of reach for many landowners. The result, Argow concludes, is that “logging theft is an almost risk-free crime.”

KWOA members are encouraged to call and/or write their senators on the Natural Resources and Energy Committee in support of HCR 29. The 2016 legislative session adjourns April 12.

Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee
• Sen. Jared Carpenter [Chair]
• Sen. Brandon Smith [Vice Chair]
• Sen. C.B. Embry Jr.
• Sen. Chris Girdler
• Sen. Ernie Harris
• Sen. Paul Hornback
• Sen. Ray S. Jones II
• Sen. John Schickel
• Sen. Johnny Ray Turner
• Sen. Robin L. Webb
• Sen. Whitney Westerfield

KWOA POSITION STATEMENT

Mission Guide

Kentucky Wood Owners Association (KWOA) is the only statewide organization devoted exclusively to assisting its members in achieving their forest ownership goals. KWOA, a not-for-profit organization, is one of 36 state affiliate of the National Woodland Owners Association.  Membership is diverse with a variety of interests and sizes of ownership. Interests in woodland ownership include timber production, wildlife management, resource conservation and green space.  Membership includes absentee owners as well as those who reside on their woodland property. Ownership ranges from those with several acres to those with more than a thousand acres.

KWOA seeks to promote economically and environmentally sound forest management by advancing the skills of woodland owners and providing communications and networking.

Programs and policies are guided by woodland owner members and aim to protect member interests, seek fairness in addressing woodland issues while enhancing the value and benefits of Kentucky woodlands.

History and Background

An organizing meeting for Kentucky Woodland Owners Association was held February 12, 1994, as part of the University of Kentucky’s annual Forest Owners Seminar in Bardstown.  Later that month an organizing committee met at Gethsemani Abby and identified steps to formally organize.  On July 10, 1994, twelve woodland owners serving as directors approved Articles of Incorporation and By-laws. Formal incorporation was completed in August 1994. The November 6, 1994, directors meeting focused on charting a direction and planning activities that included plans for an annual meeting, membership drive and legislative strategy.

The Association’s initial strategy focused on three areas regarding use and management of Kentucky’s renewable resources:

1. Leadership

2.  Sustainable development and productivity

3.  Public awareness

MAJOR POLICY UPDATE OF 2004

The above policy guidance served the Association for the first 10 years.  Then in 2004 under the Association’s Woodland Economic Development Committee led by Dr. Herb Loyd and Bob Bauer, an updated and comprehensive policy statement was finalized and approved by the board of directors.

2004 POLICIES FOR BUILDING A STRONGER WOODLAND ECONOMY

Some 46 specific policies were outlined in the following areas:

Forest health, diversity and quality

Research and education

Markets

Incentives

Communications and consensus

EFFORTS TO UPDATE 2004 KWOA POSITION PAPER

The Association Board of Directors at the February 11, 2008 meeting adopted a plan prepared by the Policy Committee to update the 2004 KWOA position statement.  The Policy Committee chaired by Joe Ball met in Lexington February 25, 2008, and outlined assignments related to revising and adding new and emerging issues such as Biomass, carbon sequestration, certification, LEEDS, etc.  UK indicated interest in developing a mail survey to identify woodland owners’ areas of interest and emphasis. Response to assignments and enthusiasm was mixed.

Following a hiatus in late 2008 and early 2009 Chairman Ball sought ideas and suggestions related to updating the paper from several directors.  After circulating a discussion paper, he hosted an informal field trip to his tree farm October 21-23, 2009 to discuss a variety of policy, legislative and organizational issue. After reviewing notes and written comments from participants, in February and March of 2010 Don Girton summarized comments and suggestions. The results were then circulated for additional comments from committee members, county agents and some county Farm Bureau presidents.

Using the comments and suggestions from the above described sources; Chairman Ball using material from the aforementioned work prepared the following revised draft.

2011

I. CURRENT SITUATION – Indicators for future actions

Forest Resources

· 47% of land area in trees, with urban forests an important part.

· 95% of the private family timberland holdings are less than 100 acres.

· Kentucky 3rd In production of hardwood lumber, 10% of US production.

· Kentucky leading state in production of white oak timber.

Forest Economy

· Forestry is a major segment of Kentucky’s economy — $6-8 billion.

· Most lumber demand has not recovered following recession of 08-09.

· Returns to woodland owners estimated at only $186 million annually.

· 35,000 jobs in timber related industries, concentration in Louisville area.

Forest Management Challenges

· High percentage of timber is low quality and slow growth rate, resulting from past harvests of taking the best and leaving the rest.

· Tremendous potential to improve timber quality and quantity.

· Only a limited acreage of timber stand improvement carried out.

· Much of forest management, marketing and promotion are status quo.

· Market system is “primitive” and market prices difficult to obtain.

· Many veneer log sales handled by middle men, traders or “pin hookers,” making it difficult for landowners to know if they are realizing full value.

· Returns on investment for tree farmers are very low.

· Very limited acreage of timberland involved in structured stewardship or management program.

· Presently have 842 certified “Tree Farms” with approximately 220,000 acres in addition about 1,000 acres certified under Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI). Supply of certified wood limited.

· Certified “Tree Farm” numbers not growing, may be declining.

· Investing in timber stand improvement for positive economic return requires careful consideration of costs and returns.

Policy Opportunities

· Kentucky lacks a comprehensive forestry statute, setting forth a shared vision for Kentucky’s forests.

· Presently public funding for forestry is very disproportional to the size of the forest economy.

· Interest in urban forest activities are growing and environmental groups are expressing a stronger concern for sustainable forests.

· Kentucky Revenue Cabinet’s guidelines for assessing timberlands are not fair or equitable when compared with other agricultural activities.

· Growing numbers of all-terrain vehicles (ATV) add concerns about increases in private property trespass, timber theft and wild fires.

KWOA Role

· An organization for woodland owner (KWOA) was established in 1994 and is affiliated with the National Woodland Owners Association (NWOA). KWOA has established itself by “networking” with other organizations sharing interest in forests.

· A limited number of county affiliates have been established. Most counties are without any kind of established forest organization or committee, even those with 90%+ of their land in forests.

II. NEW EMPHASIS – The trend of the day is to go “Green.”

Most of the major primary and secondary forest industries are pursuing ways to participate in some level of green certification. Pulp and paper people seem to be leading the charge.

Growing concern by the general public as they become stakeholders and exhibit interest in sequestering carbon in forests, clean water, aesthetics as well as more local utilization of products of the forest.

Government actions will greatly affect the timeliness of change as well as guidelines to follow.

Building codes are rapidly going green

Furniture and consumer products are going green

Energy production is going green and the forests may provide the greatest abundance of sustainable raw material such as:

· Biomass to alcohol

· Wood fiber to electricity

· Home and industrial heating from wood fibers

III. STRATEGIC PLAN – Actions Kentucky can take to enhance the value and sustain its most abundant natural resource to benefit all the citizens of the state; woodland owners up to the consumer of the environment.

1. Kentucky General Assembly needs to enact legislation to create a comprehensive forest program for Kentucky. Such an act would provide a shared (for all the players) identifiable vision for Kentucky forestry to move forward and include incentives for woodland owners to invest and better manage their woodlands to expand the resource base. Other states have such programs and we need to catch up.

2. KWOA favors implementing other sections of the Forest Conservation Act of 1998 in addition to water quality sections. Renew and modify sections of the act that speak to implementing Silvicultural practices as well as infrastructure for dedicated timber tracts which would provide for truck roads, landings, fire lanes, trails and water control measures.

3. KWOA favors an emphasis on third party certification to document green standards. Some form of 3rd party certification is necessary and becomes prerequisite to most future actions the woodland owner would take.  It might enable selling certified wood products, more fully participate in government assistance programs, selling carbon credits and documenting the fact that a timber tract is a managed farm, thus making it eligible to be assessed in accordance with farmland guidelines or other state mandated programs.

4. KWOA favors a “whole land practice” approach to implementing managing timber tracts, especially when government cost share is involved.

The stewardship plan would be the guide to the practices needed and the amount of cost share justified for the acreage.

Rather than just doing a harvest – approach your timber tract with a comprehensive plan—layout (NRCS technical help) and construct roads, log landings and fire lanes prior to harvest.

Harvest would focus on taking mature trees, removing culls, thinning and fighting invasive species. Upon completion, your forest would be ready to grow and produce the next crop.

Benefits of this practice are numerous. Cost of timber stand improvement would be less, roads would make all work easier and harvest more economical and water control maintenance more manageable. (90% of the negative effect of logging is erosion from poor roads.)

The “whole land practice” of managing a timber tract would very much involve the logger, if the landowner does not perform the harvest. Loggers are where the action takes place on the land and until the advent of the Master Logger Program these vital people had not been formally involved in education. The logger with the appropriate equipment and know how could perform the multiple practices more economically than individual practices.

5. KWOA is committed to a state level organization to represent the interest of woodland owners.  Resources are needed to meet that commitment. KWOA should explore all opportunities, following experiences of other states and continue to explore other opportunities such as government funds, private grants, product check off, mineral severance, etc.

6. In addition to a statewide organization, more structures need to be developed at the county and community level. KWOA is committed to networking with all government agencies and private organizations to provide a vehicle to provide education and technical assistance at those levels. This is especially an opportunity for the Land Grant University.

7. KWOA was successful in pulling together the resources at the state level of those most concerned with health of Kentucky forests. In addition to problems of invasive insects, diseases and plants, natural disasters take a toll on forests. Ice storm, tornados, droughts and other happenings stimulate federal disaster programs. A Health Task Force should be granted the responsibility and authority to take leadership for these programs at the state level.

8. KWOA favors a formal evaluation of the primary market system for wood material with special emphasis on looking at openness, fairness and competition from the position of the tree farmer selling logs and chip material. Most of the veneer logs are sold through middle men, traders or pin hookers who may subtract a high percentage of the profits from the woodland owner. What are the alternatives to making the market system more efficient and profitable for the logger and producer as well as providing mills the kinds of raw materials they process? Presently mills buy a lot of materials they are unable to process, thus requiring resale to other processors.

9. The Kentucky Agriculture News Service in cooperation with USDA provides market price information for most agriculture commodities. Such market information is not presently available to the logger and woodland owner. KWOA favors fairness in service from the Market News Service, thus make the markets more transparent.

10. The suppression of forest fires is a major budget item for the Kentucky Division of Forestry. Fire damage to woodlands and wildlife have untold economic impact. KWOA recommends creation of an “Ad Hock Task Force” to evaluate the economic and ecological impacts of wild fires along with an in-depth analysis of the existing fire prevention and suppression programs and related costs for the eastern Kentucky forests. If improvements could be made, recommendations would be forthcoming.

11. KWOA favors requiring a percentage of Kentucky electric generation to be powered from green sources. Since wood fiber is an abundant and renewable resource in the state, the utilization of low quality timber could have positive effects. To the logger and woodland owner it could become profitable to harvest this material and result in increased growth and quality of the next crop. To the electric generator it could improve combustion and reduce harmful emissions. Serious consideration should be given to possible negative consequences. Therefore, sustainable harvest protection would be required.

12. Continue to advocate fairness in timberland taxes. Seek to correct existing unlawful assessments of timberland by utilizing the recently completed study of University of Kentucky Department of Forestry that has developed assessed values for a variety of timber types and conditions.

13. Promote youth forestry education by offering scholarships for individuals intending to pursue careers in natural resources. Our Kentucky Woodland Owners Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not for profit corporation is in place to service the scholarship program as well as working with 4H and FFA on youth project.

14. Explore opportunities to develop through grants or partnerships a youth initiative utilizing social networking and/or programs such as Project Learning Tree.

15. Timber theft-property trespass – Open timber tracts in isolated locations are prone to timber theft and unauthorized trespass. The expanding number of all-terrain vehicles (ATV) continues to exacerbate the problems of soil erosion, noise, littering and increases the difficulty of dealing with arson fires.  The legislature needs to provide the public and law enforcement more tools for action in addressing this problem.

August 18, 2011, Draft Position Statement reviewed at KWOA Board meeting.

October 14, 2011, Revised with member and partner comments.

KWOA Policy Committee

L. D. “Joe” Ball, Chairman; Dr. James “Greg” Kuhns. Dr. James Corum; J. Henry Duncan; Don Girton

The Policy Committee thanks all association members and our many partners who provided ideas, comments and guidance in developing this policy statement.

APPROVED BY KENTUCKY WOODLAND OWNERS ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS AT ITS REGULAR MEETING ON NOVEMBER 17, 2011.

J. Henry Duncan, President

Proposals to expand water quality protection standards could affect private landowners

Several actions taken by or against the US Environmental Protection Agency last spring regarding water quality could ultimately affect timber harvest and woodlands management practices.

The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued draft guidance in April on what constitutes the EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. EPA describes “other waters” as “all other waters such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams),mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, or natural ponds, the use, degradation or destruction of which could affect interstate or foreign commerce…” The guidance proposes to substantially broaden EPA’s jurisdiction over water resources on private lands.

EPA was also petitioned in April to establish numeric water quality limits for nutrients in the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast of Mexico.

Finally, the agriculture industry is suing the EPA to contest the agency’s novel, multi-state watershed pollution limit for nutrients and sediments in the Chesapeake Bay.

Although most of the above actions do not directly affect Kentucky woodland owners, the impending decisions may have broad implications for all private landowners.

USDA promotes wood in green building rating systems

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack made a major announcement March 30th strongly promoting wood as a green building material and recognizing multiple green building rating systems. According to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the USDA announcement was made during the International Year of Forests celebration in Washington, DC. The event was co-hosted by the American Forest Foundation, the National Association of State Foresters, and the USDA Forest Service.

According to a March 30th USDA press release Secretary Vilsack laid out a three-part plan addressing the Forest Service’s and USDA’s current green building practices. The strategy includes the following parts:
1. The U.S. Forest Service will preferentially select wood in new building construction while maintaining its commitment to certified green building standards. USDA will also make a commitment to using wood and other agricultural products as it fulfills President Obama’s executive order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.
2. The Secretary has asked the U.S. Forest Service to examine ways to increase its already strong commitment to green building by reporting to him on ways to enhance the research and development being done around green building materials.
3. The U.S. Forest Service will actively look for opportunities to demonstrate the innovative use of wood as a green building material for all new structures of 10,000 square feet or more using recognized green building standards such as LEED, Green Globes or the National Green Building Standard.
The plan explicitly recognizes the Green Globes standard and the National Green Building Standard, both of which recognize multiple forest certification standards. Opening the door to other green building rating systems increases opportunities for third party certified wood to be used and recognized in green buildings.
“This is just the market signal we need to expand markets for sustainably grown wood from ATFS,” said Tom Martin, President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation.

Estate Planning for Forest Landowners

Regardless of the number of acres, woodland owners need to make arrangements for their estates while they are living and while they are competent to do so. An extensive guide is now available from the US Forest Service specifically for family-owned forests.

Estate Planning for Forest Landowners:
What Will Become of Your Timberland?
2009. General Technical Report SRS-112
Available as a pdf download at http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/gtr/gtr_srs112.pdf

Although the report is more geared to large working timber holdings, its comparison examples of the impact of federal estate tax on family assets with and without estate planning are chilling. In the scenario (chapter 19) with no estate plan estate taxes could equal nearly one-eighth of the original estate. In the second example a simple plan leaving the estate to the surviving spouse avoids immediate estate tax. But the subsequent demise of that spouse could incur an estate tax equal to nearly one-fourth of the original combined estate. The final scenario presents three strategies that could reduce the example family estate tax bill by nearly $1.5 million compared to the simple plan. (These hypothetical examples are based on a family forest estate with assets valued at $10 million.)

The planning guide states that on the national level nearly three-fifths of all forest land is privately owned. More than four-fifths of that land belongs to nonindustrial owners. It also finds that the typical nonindustrial private forest owner is 60 years old. The importance of and urgency for timely forest estate planning should by now be evident. If you are still thinking it’s somebody else’s problem, complete the thirteen question “estate planning readiness” quiz on page 5 to better understand where you are in the process.

According to the book’s abstract, its purpose is to provide quidelines and assistance to nonindustrial private forest owners and the legal, tax, financial, insurance and forestry professionals who serve them on the application of estate planning techniques to forest properties. The book presents a working knowledge of the federal estate and gift tax law as of September 30, 2008.