Thursday, October 27, 2011
About 135 attend Forestry Field Day
By MARY R. MINOR
“Raising Pine in a Bottomland Environment” was the theme for this year’s Forestry Field Day.
It was sponsored by Marshall County Forestry Association (MCFA), with the cooperation of Marshall County Extension Service, Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC), Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Stations, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Mississippi State University College of Forest Resources, and Mississippi Forestry Association (MFA).
Held on the JA-BAR Timber Farm near Byhalia, a large crowd estimated at around 135 attended.
Hosting the 15th annual field day October 1 were Mr. and Mrs. David Rogers, along with other family members. Emcee was Calvin Ozier, MCFA president.
Registration began at 8 a.m. with wagon tours leaving at 8:30 a.m. The first stop on the tour was Southern Pine Beetles presented by Dr. Andy Londo, MSU-ES. He talked about five different kinds of beetles to be worried about (3 IPS Gravers, Turpentine Beetle and the Southern Pine Bark Beetle). After showing examples of beetle damage, pamphlets on “Identifying and Controlling the Southern Pine Bark Beetles, and Six Important Invasive Species of Mississippi,” were given to participants.
George Byrd, MFC, was the second tour stop presenter. He discussed the many ecotypes in the area such as fire lanes, a creek, a thinned pine stand, food plots, and different habitats. He noted that the pines in this lowland tract had not been thinned and that the trees were planted on raised beds, which was better for runoff.
The use of herbicides was the topic at the third stop and was presented by forestry specialist Alan Van Valkenburg, Red River Specialties. He spoke about the best time to use herbicides and said that the prime time is September 1. He also stated that you have better trees and better habitat when you thin.
Dr. John DeFazio (NRCS) spoke on Wildlife Management at tour stop four, and told how food plots fit into the management plan. He said that habitat diversity equals wildlife diversity, and suggested to landowners to do a soil test when they put out food plots.
“To get additional information on wildlife management, go to the website: msucares.com and go to the Wildlife and Fisheries link,” he said.
The last stop was on Prescribed Burning and presented by Eddy Pou, MFC (retired), and Darrell Dickerson (MFC). They showed a tract that had been burned off and talked about reasons to burn.
Pou said, “Prescribed burning is the deliberate use of fire under ideal conditions to achieve forest management objectives.”
The speakers said that fire can enhance the productivity of pine forests, but it can also cause injury, poor growth, and death of desirable trees, but is part of a healthy Southern pine forest. To learn more about pine tree management and prescribed burning, contact your local Mississippi Forestry Commission office, they said.
Following the tours, Rev. Leon Burton, pastor of Emory Methodist Church, gave the invocation, followed by a catered catfish lunch prepared by Kenny Dickerson and his assistants.
J. Tedrick Ratcliff, Jr., MFA executive vice president, a registered forester and a certified prescribed burn manager, was the keynote speaker. His topic was “The Future of Forestry.” Some of the points were the importance to remain active in the Marshall CFA as well as getting involved with Mississippi Forestry Association and the Tree Farm Program.
“Now, more than ever, is time to get to know your local, state, and national elected officials. A good working relationship with these associations and officials will help us shape forestry into what we desire for it to be,” he said. “Forestry is in the hands of its participants (landowners, foresters, loggers, and industries). How will the Marshall County CFA use their lands?” he asked.
The field day ended with the announcement of contest winners, followed by a live auction and giving away door prizes. The last item on the agenda was the drawing for a Savage 110 rifle, won by Bobby Smithwick of Potts Camp.
For additional information on MCFA, contact the Marshall County Extension Service at 662-252-3541.
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