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Providing Forest Resources for the Future

Rick Oates
(800) 392-5705, ext. 4305

The Alabama Farmers Federation Forestry Division is composed of forest landowners throughout the state who produce timber as part or all of their livelihood. The Forestry Division represents these landowners on a national, state and local level. The Forestry Division has county committees in almost every county in the state. The forest landowners who make up these committees come together at the local level and develop policies and program ideas to address their needs and concerns. Those policies are then discussed at the state level and may be transformed into state and national initiatives by the organization.

Two thirds of Alabama, 22 million acres, is covered in forestland. Non-industrial private landowners own approximately 75 percent of that forestland. On average, each person in the United States uses enough tree products each year to make a tree 100 feet tall and 16 feet in diameter. One acre of healthy trees can generate approximately 5,600 lbs. of wood in one year. For more details about forestry statistics in Alabama, visit the
Alabama Agricultural Statistics Service website.

Goals and Issues

Goals of the Forestry Division are determined by a state committee, which is elected by other producers throughout the state. Issues and challenges facing producers are evaluated each year, and priority is placed on each to determine a focus for the division's efforts. Goals include:
  • Work to provide more markets for wood products in Alabama
  • Work to improve the declining pulpwood market in Alabama.
  • Work to provide funding for forestry research projects.
  • Work to keep tariffs on Canadian lumber imports.
  • Work to find uses for wood products and income-producing enterprises from forestland.
  • Monitor environmental efforts that have potential to regulate forestry practices.
  • Work to promote biomass as a new source of energy.

Helping farmers address everyday problems is a key part of our mission. As new challenges appear, Alabama Forestry Producers is poised to address those for the good of its producer members.

The Forestry Division works with the Alabama Forestry Commission and the Alabama Forestry Association in sponsoring and promoting forestry tours and demonstrations. These services increase forest landowners' understanding of forest and wildlife management. The Forestry Division also works closely with the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences to determine priorities for forest and wildlife research and develop markets for forest products. The division also works with the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service in the areas of forestry research, financial planning and insect identification and control.

Members of the 2013 Alabama Farmers Federation Forestry Committee are, from left, front row: Chairman John Dorrill, Pike County; John Farrow, Tallapoosa County; Richard Jones, Covington County; Brian Agnew, Bullock County and Jake Harper, Wilcox County; back row: Charles Langley, Chambers County; Charles Whatley, Lee County; Ken Real, Marion County; Richard Cox, Baldwin County and Federation Forestry Division Director Rick Oates.

Activities and Programs

  • Promote wildfire prevention programs aimed at improving county and statewide firefighting capabilities and prescribed burning as a hazard reduction and forest management tool.
  • Support programs to maximize and expand the further utilization of all forests as a basic renewable resource.
  • Provide marketing information and strategies to produce maximum returns from timber sales.
  • Work to facilitate better research information exchange between forestry producers and research personnel at Auburn University.
  • Co-sponsor and promote forestry demonstrations and tours to increase forest landowner understanding of forest and wildlife management.
  • Work with forestry and conservation-related organizations in funding and implementing incentives for forestry practices.
  • Vigorously oppose regulations that infringe on private property rights and opportunities for proper management of forestland.

Related Links

Alabama Forestry Commission

Alabama Forestry Association

Alabama Forest Owners Association

Alabama Natural Resource Conservation Service
Alabama TREASURE Forest Association

Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Alabama Farmers Federation at Work for Alabama Producers

As a part of Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama Forestry Producers is represented at the state and national levels through departments of Governmental Affairs and National Affairs. The Department of Public Relations provides communications about important issues and notices through its monthly magazine, Neighbors, and biweekly newsletter, Cultivator.

The Local Connection

County Farmers Federations, with the assistance of Area Organization Directors, provide support and a mechanism to address issues on the local level. Herein lies the strength of Alabama Farmers Federation. Each county may establish its own Forestry Committee. Needs and requests from producers in the county are the beginning of policy development and the direction of Alabama Forestry Producers. You may contact your county Forestry Chairman, or if none currently exists, the Area Organization Director in your region or your County President for more information.

Why Should I be a Member of Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Forestry Producers?

The Alabama Farmers Federation brings farmers of all commodities together for a common cause. Together, we can accomplish more for everyone's benefit. The more producers actively participating in Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Forestry Producers, the more effective the organization can be on issues affecting them. With membership in the Alabama Farmers Federation, come many benefits.

Did You Know?

  • Forestry is Alabama's #1 industry.
  • Alabama currently has around 23 billion cubic feet of timber "in the bank."
  • Forestry generates approximately $13 billion for Alabama each year.
  • More than 170,000 Alabamians are employed directly or indirectly by the forestry industry.
  • There are more than 1,100 Forest Manufacturing operations in the state.
  • There are twice as many trees in Alabama today as there were 50 years ago.
  • For every tree harvested in Alabama, five are planted.
  • Alabama forests consist of 35 percent pine, 45 percent hardwood, and 20 percent mixed pine and hardwood.

For more information, contact Rick Oates, Director of the Alabama Forestry Producers, P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, AL 36191-0001. Phone: (800) 392-5705, ext. 4305.

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