Session Descriptions

Learn more about the topics available at the Annual Conference below. If you have any questions about the schedule, contact Matt Hestad →

The Importance of Political Advocacy to the Forestry Community

Dick Molpus

Speaker: Dick Molpus, President, Molpus Woodlands Group (+LinkedIn)

Standing as we do at a pivotal time in American and world history, stewards of forests of the U.S. bear huge and complex responsibilities, not only to our forest clients of many kinds and our own families. Fortunately, we have many partners in the enterprise of protecting and fostering forest lands: energy partners, timber and housing products partners, and regulatory government partners.

As federal government and agencies become more aware of the many economic, environmental, and social contributions of privately owned forests, their policies have in part followed that awareness.  But that does not mean that forest owners can rest; on the contrary, we must advocate for specific policies that promote the economic and environmental benefits of privately owned forests.

Therefore forest owners must actively, on the job, be aware of the specific and changing, growing advocacy needs of the forest owner community.

Risk Management and Effective Federal Advocacy and Engagement

Panel Discussion:
  • Moderator: Mike Bell, Director of Economic Development, Public Affairs & Communications, Rayonier (+LinkedIn)
  • Scott Jones, CEO, Forest Landowners Association (+LinkedIn)
  • Chris Isaacson, Executive Vice President, Alabama Forestry Association (+LinkedIn)
  • Tom Putnam, Special Projects Manager, The Langdale Company

The velocity and demands of mitigating government threats are relentlessly accelerating and, in recent years, increasingly are coming from the Federal level. Legislative debates and regulatory rulemaking in Washington, DC around issues including comprehensive tax reform, expansion of the Clean Water Act, threatened and endangered species, biomass carbon neutrality, and a host of additional issues threatening strong markets for trees, reforestation, and our supply chain, have the real potential of infringing upon private property rights, reducing long-term investment in working forests, weakening the global competitiveness of domestic forest product manufacturing, and killing high wage forest sector jobs in rural communities critically-dependent upon them.

This panel will discuss the importance of federal advocacy and engagement and what the Georgia Forestry Association and other state forestry associations are doing through coalition building and partnering with federal trade associations to leverage limited resources, magnify our voice on federal issues, and work together to strengthen our operating environment. The session will focus on case studies and what is being done right here in Georgia to increase our engagement, effectiveness, and influence in Washington, DC.

The Mosquito in the Tent: How the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities is Affecting North America’s Forest Sector

CNO 2013

Speaker, Carlton Owen, President & CEO, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (+LinkedIn)

Get an “inside the tent view” of how one product of a decades-long dispute between the world’s two largest producers of softwood lumber is impacting and influencing the North American forest sector. Can a not-for-profit charity that isn’t even rounding error for the best known names in American philanthropy really help chart a new and brighter future for one of the nation’s oldest industries? Endowment CEO Carlton Owen reviews a few wild successes and one spectacular failure in the organization’s first 9/10ths of a decade of existence.

From borrowing lessons from America’s farmers to “grow the market pie” for agricultural products to advocating for consideration of modern biotechnology to address the continent’s burgeoning forest health challenges, the Endowment is working to advance the cause of working forest retention and family wage jobs in rural forest communities in what could be the forest sector’s greatest Century.

Endangered Species Act – Federal, State, and Private Perspectives on Conservation

Panel Discussion:
  • Kyla Cheynet, Senior Wildlife Biologist, Plum Creek
  • Jon Ambrose, Chief of Nongame Conservation at Georgia Department of Natural Resources (+LinkedIn)
  • Mike Harris, At-Risk Species Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 4
  • Lauren Ward, Doctoral Candidate, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia (+LinkedIn)

Georgia currently has more privately-owned forestland than any other state. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) places obvious pressures on private landowners with heightened regulatory risk and limitations on land management. This panel will discuss the importance of the Endangered Species Act to the forestry community and the conservation perspectives of federal agencies, state agencies and private landowners. The panel will focus on the current strategies and tools in place to conserve certain “at-risk” species and the initiatives to address private land conservation.

Challenges and Opportunities for the Logging Industry in Georgia

Panel Discussion:
  • Moderator: Dr. Dale Greene, Dean, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia
  • Paul Ferre, Projects Forester, Beasley Forest Products (+LinkedIn)
  • Shawn Baker, Forest Harvesting, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia (+LinkedIn)
  • Chad Nimmer, Georgia State Representative (R, Blackshear), Pierce Timber (+LinkedIn)

Following one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression, the logging industry continues to face challenges in terms of cost, capacity and people. Learn how Georgia’s loggers and logging contractors have increased efficiencies during the economic downturn and how one Georgia company has created an initiative to increase interest in logging as a career among high school students.

Efficient, Effective and Productive Management of Our Pine Plantation Resource


Speaker: Derek Dougherty, CEO, Dougherty & Dougherty Forestry Services, Inc. (+LinkedIn)

Managers in any business sector have to be efficient, diligent and progressive to be effective and successful. This is true of forest managers and owners as well. Derek Dougherty discusses the potential for our SE US pine plantations and the business and field management methods needed to make attendees more successful at meeting landowner potential and objectives. Forest managers and owners are asked to reconcile available resources, access to knowledge, goals, focus, and efficiency with their potential and realized results. This presentation is targeted for land owners, and management decision makers and potential forest sector leaders.

Key Concepts of Estate and Business Succession Planning: Yours or TheIRS

  • Jim Gillis, Financial Advisor, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (+LinkedIn)
  • Jim Swink, Vice President, Raymond James Insurance Group (+LinkedIn)

Forestry operations, like any business, have their associated risks. Timber property has the potential to become increasingly endangered given that the market value of forest property is often higher for non-forestry uses. Additionally, forest lands are especially vulnerable to conversion pressures when passing from one owner to the next. For these reasons, families that plan to pass their timber property to future generations or business associates can lose control of their land without sound estate and/or business succession planning. Appropriate estate and business succession planning can help to ease the transfer of both the land and the business from generation to generation, reducing negative surprises often encountered by those who fail to plan well in advance of any event that may prompt a transfer of the property or business.

This session will review the current federal estate tax landscape, discuss the varying asset transfer and protection strategies available to forest landowners and review the steps necessary in beginning the process of building an estate or business succession plan that is appropriate given your current situation and the long-term goals that you would like to achieve for your family or business.