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6/18/2019 » 6/21/2019
2019 National Conference of Private Forest Landowners

Packed Agenda for Forest Conference
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Regulatory changes under Trump administration provide optimism to forest landowners as FLA meets for annual conference in Asheville, N.C. 

When FLA CEO Scott Jones welcomes members to the 2017 National Conference of Private Forest Landowners on May 30, the dust will have settled on the transition to a Trump administration and the view of his policy priorities and direction will have clarified.


This year’s conference will open with an informed discussion about what the Trump administration means for the policy priorities the association has been working toward for years.


“Like it or not, federal policy really does impact core components of our mission,” Jones said. “President Trump campaigned on a platform of regulatory reform, a fresh look at the tax code and a commitment to domestic manufacturing and all of those really resonate with our members. We look forward to discussing the opportunities we see within this administration.”


The discussion will be led by Alex Vogel, co-founder and managing partner of VogelHood, a policy advisement firm recently retained by FLA.


“We feel like with the Trump administration in place it’s time for the association to play some offense again and Alex and his team are a big part of that offensive strategy,” Jones said.


The conference is much more than a policy forum and this year’s event again features content designed for the younger members of landowner families that might be unfamiliar with the basics of land management or the markets that provide timber sale opportunities for landowners.


“It is important to our board and our staff that our conference really reflect the mission and strategic plan of the association, and attracting the next generation of forest landowners to our event is a key component of the part of our mission that talks about sustaining private forest landownership,” Jones said. “We launched this track last year and heard very positive feedback, so we think the word will spread and we’ll so more representation from the next generation this year.”


Here’s a look at the conference agenda:


General Session Discussions:


There's a New Sherriff in Town: Forestry and Private Forest Ownership's Opportunity and Risk under a Trump Administration


The new administration promises to be like no other. President Trump touted a platform of common sense regulation reform and tax reform as a means to create jobs to win the election, both of which are key areas of policy focus for the association. This panel will provide the audience with the latest insights into how this fast moving administration is rolling out its policy agenda and how it will most meaningfully impact private forest landowners.


Not Your Grandfather's Timber: What the Future May Hold for the Next Generation of Forest Landowners


For a century, the United States has been a model of sustainable forestry, yielding a stable forest inventory despite massive increases in demand for wood and wood fiber. Private forest landowners have been a huge part of that success story. This panel will offer a look at how the forest ownership landscape continues to change. How can forest landowners position themselves to preserve the opportunities and rewards they’ve enjoyed for another century? This multi-generational panel will take a long view on the science, market growth and advocacy work that lies in front of all forest stakeholders if the next 100 years are to be as prosperous as the last.


Content for the Next Generation of Landowners:


Devising and Executing a Robust, Well-Considered Forest Management Plan


Forests do not manage themselves and the financial return from a forest asset is tightly correlated to the quality of the management plan. This panel will break down the development and deployment of forest management plans into logical parts and help attendees understand who they should enlist in the development of a plan, how to make decisions about the goals they could and should have for the plan, and the process by which they put the plan into action.


Preparing For and Making the Most of a Timber Sale


The revenue side of a working forest management plan is a timber sale. Unlike row crop agriculture, timber sales are not an annual occurrence and their infrequency demands that forest landowners maximize the revenue opportunity when they do occur. This panel will walk attendees through the process of a timber sale step-by-step, outlining the critical components.


An Introduction to the Forest Products Markets that Most Impact Private Forest Landowners


Demand for wood and wood fiber underpins the financial return of owning forests. This panel will offer attendees a comprehensive look at who buys and converts wood as well as the relative trajectory of those foundational markets. Additionally, attention will be given to the price histories in the biggest wood categories as well as a look at today’s most promising emerging markets.


Modern Forest Regeneration: Principles and Practice


After a timber sale, the work towards the next timber sale begins almost immediately. How forested areas are prepared for replanting, the science behind seedlings and fertilization and competition control will all be explored in this panel. While panelists will concentrate on the basic concepts of reforestation, experienced landowners hoping to brush up on the latest science will also find value in the content.


Content for Experienced Landowners:


Understanding How the Endangered Species Act Impacts Property Rights While Tracing the Efforts to Modernize the Policy


A newly installed, reform-minded administration in Washington has rekindled hope that regulations that have become tools to control the land management decisions of private forest landowners might very well be reformed. Already a Senate committee hearing has focused on modernization of the Endangered Species Act and private forest landowners are hopeful the momentum for this reform is maintained. This panel will look at the unfortunate reality of how the ESA diminishes property rights without meaningfully making a positive difference for wildlife.


Data Dive: What the Latest Numbers Say about Stumpage Rates, Land Values and Ownership Trends


Thoughtful landowners hoping to better understand the dynamic landscape around them will appreciate this data-rich panel that will explore what we know about who currently owns forests, what that land is worth and what they are getting for their wood when they do harvest. A strong focus will be placed on


The How and Why of Responsible Family Forest Succession Planning


Whenever a forest parcel changes hands, there is a risk of fragmentation or conversion to other uses often against the implied wishes of the previous owners. This panel will outline the steps current forest landowners need to take to ensure that the wishes they have for their forest assets after they are gone. The panel will outline the steps to take and the parties to involve to ensure that their wishes are carried out and their legacy of forest ownership is carried forward.


Silvicultural Practices Being Deployed by Today’s Most Productive Private Forest Landowners


The bedrock of sound forest management is silviculture. Without this science and its practitioners, forest landowners in the United States would not have been able to meet growing demand for wood while maintaining stable forest inventories for over a century. This panel will explore the latest thinking in silvicultural principles and how today’s most progressive landowners are putting the latest science to work on their property.


The venue for this year’s conference is the stately Omni Grove Park Inn, an iconic property in Asheville tucked into the Great Smoky Mountains. “We recognize that for many of our members and attendees our annual conference serves a dual purpose,” Jones said. “We know people also want to relax and spend time with their families and the Omni Grove Park Inn and the Asheville area are absolutely perfect for that. It really is a beautiful area.”


On June 1, the conference will offer two options for attendees not looking to attend the concurrent technical sessions: a tour of the incredible Biltmore Estate and its grounds or a bus tour of Asheville’s rapidly growing microbrewery scene.


The conference will conclude with a panel that will examine the opportunities and challenges for forest landowners in the future. The panel will feature not only discussions on policy and emerging forest product markets, but also on the biological threats that private forest landowners are facing.


“We feel strongly that the National Conference of Private Forest Landowners is worthwhile every year,” Jones said. “I would argue that this year, with a new administration that campaigned on a platform that so closely aligns with some of our larger policy priorities, the conference is an absolute must.”





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