By Maggie Edwards
Landowners and natural resource professionals stepped onto the soil of the Alabama 4-H Center in Columbiana ready to learn during the annual Alabama Landowners Conference Oct. 3-4.
The conference is a joint meeting of the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association (ATFA), Alabama Tree Farm Committee and Alabama Natural Resources Council (ANRC). ATFA is a partner organization of the Alabama Farmers Federation.
ATFA President Jamestican Parham said this conference is a hub for discovering how to be a successful landowner.
“Whether it is dealing with timber harvest or the price of timber, any forestry-related questions you have can be answered here at the conference,” said Jamestican, who owns an Alabama TREASURE Forest in Wilcox County with wife Angela. “It is always important to get a group of people together to share information and get different ideas.”
Jamestican said this conference is beneficial in learning how to make forests more sustainable.
“The definition of forestry is the art and science of managing a forest on a continuous basis,” he said. “It is important we practice good stewardship.”
The two-day conference included a packed agenda that began with an address from Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen.
“I, like you, am a landowner,” said Allen, as he welcomed the attendees. “I am so proud to serve in this position. It is my goal each day to represent you with class and integrity. I will not forget the values that are in this room.”
After Allen’s remarks, educational seminars kicked off with topics on turkey research; bee and pollinator management; prescribed fire and carbon emissions; and timber genetics.
Angela Parham, Jamestican’s wife, said this conference is a great way to network with landowners, help others and receive assistance.
“I enjoyed the session dedicated to pollinators,” said Angela, a beekeeper. “I learned great practices about planting wildflowers specific to where you live. The successful crop will encourage more pollinators to come onto your property.”
Hinterland Drones LLC enthused attendees by sharing drone research — focusing the presentation on how drone usage can impact landowners.
Day 2 continued educational sessions that started with an introduction to biochar and an overview of cost-share opportunities for landowners. The final session was led by Federation Agriculture Counsel John Allen Nichols, who educated the group on the importance of estate planning.
During the event, ATFA raised $1,313 for scholarships through a silent auction and honored outstanding individuals who contribute to the success of Alabama’s 23.1 million acres of forest land.
ATFA presented the 2023 Gary Fortenberry Partnership Award to Baldwin County’s Ryan Mitchell, a former regional extension agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. The Bill Moody Award was presented to Earl Norton of Chambers County. This award is named after Bill Moody, the state forester who created TREASURE Forest’s multiple-use stewardship philosophy.
“This award is an honor for me,” said Norton, who had a working relationship with the late Moody. “I am truly humbled by this.”
In addition, ANRC and the Tree Farm Committee presented awards in conjunction with the conference.
View conference and award photos here.