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Troup County Extension agent: Calling all our local forestland owners

Brian Maddy

Contributing columnist

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One of the striking features of being a resident of the state of Georgia is the tremendous amount of forest in this state.

Green is the prevalent color almost year round. Our hardwoods are beginning to make a spectacular appearance this fall.

Two out of every three raindrops land on forest. The forest absorbs the impact of the raindrop; it hits with a 20 mph force and allows it to soak in. Contrast this with all the news of flooding we hear throughout the year from the rest of the United States.

Of Georgia’s 37 million acres of land, 24.8 million acres are in forest. Of the 197,967 acres of forestland in Troup County, private landowners own 177,757. In many western states, the federal government owns the majority of the land.

The land is managed — or mismanaged, depending on how you look at it — by whoever can file a lawsuit stopping whatever is deemed unacceptable. This is one of the reasons for the prevalence of uncontrolled wildfires.

Prescribed burns, a common practice in Georgia, are rarely implemented in those states. We learned the practice from our local Native Americans.

Because most of our forestland in Troup County is locally owned, we have an obligation to be good stewards of the land. Developing a forestry management plan is the first step in becoming a good steward.

One distinct advantage besides enjoying the beauty of a forest ecosystem is that owning forestland can be a profitable venture if managed properly. If that is not an incentive, transferring the property between generations can be a tax headache if a properly developed plan has not been implemented.

The Troup County Extension Service will be offering a class on developing a forest management plan on Nov. 19 at the Ag Center at 7 p.m. Dr. Ben Jackson will be the guest speaker. Daniel Westcot of the NRCS will discuss the cost share programs available.

Joseph Moore of the Georgia Forestry Commission will present their programs for local landowners. Call the office to register for the class.

Getting a forestry management plan developed will provide a blueprint for managing your forestland for years to come. It can also alleviate potential problems.

Baccharis halimifolia or groundsel

This is the plant that has the brilliant white foliage that is blooming along our roadsides. It is usually found along coastlines and wetlands. It is in the sunflower family, (asteraccae).

In Florida it is recommended as a shrub or hedge because of its hardiness and resistance to salt spray. It likes wet areas. It flowers mainly from August through December. It has become invasive in Western Europe and considered a toxic weed in pastures. Be that as it may, enjoy the fall color.

What’s going on in Extension?

Jefferson Street Market begins Saturday mornings from 9:30 to noon at 625 Jefferson St., just off of Dallis Street.

Nov. 17: Troup County Cattleman’s meeting, 7:30 p.m. at the Ag Center. Meal starts at 7 p.m.; the cost is $6. Pam Wilkes of the FSA and Rory Richardson of the NRCS will be speaking about the cost share programs.

Nov. 19: Timber Growers Meeting, 7 p.m. at the Ag Center. Dr. Ben Jackson, Daniel Westcot and Joseph Moore will speak on developing a forestry management plan for landowners.

Tree seedlings can be ordered from the Georgia Forestry Commission, 706-845-4122.

Brian Maddy is the ANR Agent for Troup County Extension. The Troup County Extension office is located at 114 Church St. in LaGrange and may be reached at 706-883-1675, Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–noon and 15 p.m.