Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fixing the Estate Tax

Earlier this month, President Obama signed a law that provides a two year decrease in the estate tax and a higher exemption level (35% and $5 million), compared to the tax that would have been imposed if Congress and the President had done nothing (55% and $1 million). This helps family forest owners across the country hang on to their land. There is a great article that appeared in the Baltimore Sun on December 17th that provides a good overview. The article gives a lot of credit to the American Forest Foundation. We need to thank them for their efforts.

We still need to get a special provision passed specifically for family forest owners but this is definitely a step in the right direction. Continue to encourage your congressional leaders to consider the Family Farm Estate Tax Deferral Act of 2010 (S.3664). This bill would remove the estate tax burden on family-owned forests, if the land stays in the family and is managed sustainably. S. 3664, would provide family forest owners with an exemption from the estate tax, if they keep the land in their family and manage it as a forest.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Trees - The Real vs. Fake Debate

With christmas just a few days away I thought I would share this article with my readers.  The debate over which type of christmas tree to buy "real" or "fake" continues.  Which tree is "greener?"  When you look at the evidence, there's only one environmentally friendly option.  A real tree is the best choice!

O Tannenbaum! Which Christmas Tree to Trim: Real or Fake?
Christmas tree farms employ 100,000 people in America, an acre of Christmas trees supply enough oxygen for 18 people, and Christmas trees are a renewable resource.  A fresh-cut balsam smells wonderful and when the holidays are over they make excellent habitats for birds and rabbits in your back yard.
To read the rest of the story click here

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Firewood Value

Written by: Michael Jacobson, Associate Professor of Forest Resources, Penn state School of Forest Resources

Wintertime is here, which means acquiring firewood and stoking the fire. The firewood market is fairly robust these days. Just open the newspaper and you'll see lots of firewood ads. My local paper today has six vendors selling firewood. This is an industry that provides part time work and extra cash for families. Many landowners enjoy cutting firewood for their own use. It requires very little expense other than a chainsaw, safety equipment, wedges, splitting maul, and truck or trailer. The firewood market also provides landowners with a market for low grade wood if they don't want to use it themselves.

For the rest of the story click here.

In addition, the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension has released a new publication entitled "Heating With Wood in Maryland."  This is an excellent 12 page publication which includes valuable information that will help you make the decision to heat with wood or improve your current wood burning situation. Topics include:
•How wood burns
•Improving woodfuel efficiency and emissions
•Comparing wood to other fuel
•Seasoning wood
•Burn wood safely
•How to buy firewood
•Selecting trees for firewood
The fact sheet also contains several illustrations that help explain how wood burns as well as many complete tables of information including comparisons and guides.

Monday, December 6, 2010

History of Deer Management in Pennsylvania

I came across this interesting article on StateCollege.com.  With the Pennsylvania deer season in full swing I thought it was fitting to share it with my readers. 

By Gary Lewis Jr. (November 29, 2010)
From the urban centers of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, to the ridge and valley region of central Pennsylvania and the hardwood forests of the Allegheny plateau, the landscape of Pennsylvania is incredibly diverse. Equally diverse is the history of deer management within the commonwealth. To examine this diversity, this article is divided into distinct periods of differing deer management practices. By the end of this article, the reader should develop a deeper understanding of the historical management of Pennsylvania’s deer population.

To read the full story click here.