Letters To Editor – Sep 04, 2008

Logging Bond Actually Costs The Landowner In The End

Dear Editor

  In regard to the story about our county supervisors warning landowners they are not responsible for paying for damage to roads incurred during logging operations, I have a few facts to present, as have already been presented to the board of supervisors, collectively and individually.

  The tree farmers (i.e. timber growers) of Yalobusha County are tax payers, not just timber landowners as referred to in the August 14th edition of the North Mississippi Herald. The majority of privately owned acreage in Yalobusha County is forested.     

    These forested acres are taxed at a rate that is higher than those acres in row crops or pasture. The landowners that grow timber will pay taxes for at least 15 years before they see any return on their investment. They also have a very high risk factor within that first 15 years which determines when, and if, they will even get to see a return on their investment. These risks include fire, insects, disease, drought, ice storms, tornados and theft, just to mention a few. Growing a crop of timber, (yes, it is an agricultural crop), is a long term investment, one that is not, or can not, be harvested every year as cotton, corn, soybeans or wheat.     

    Landowners that grow timber will get to harvest their crop a maximum of three (3) times during their lifetime if they are lucky, because, it takes a minimum of 35-50 years, depending on the soil quality, to grow a stand of timber from start to finish. Most people will not live long enough to see an entire rotation on their investment. The landowner growing timber, for a minimum of 35 years, will see around $4,000/acre. The landowner growing cotton, each and every year, over a 35 year period, will see a gross return of around $14,700/acre.

  With everything mentioned above in mind, we see who is making the most money per acre on their investment, yet the landowner growing cotton or other row crops, who pays fewer taxes per acre every year and hauls their crop to market each and every year, is not held responsible for any damage to roads, does not have to get a permit to haul 27-28 tons of corn in a hopper-bottom trailer to market, much less pay a minimum of $2,000 for a road bond before they even get to haul their crop to market.

  Everyone has been led to believe that this mandatory “road bond” is not at the expense of the landowner growing timber but, when it comes time to sell timber in Yalobusha County, buyers know that they will be putting up at least $2,000 before anything is cut or removed that they have purchased either lump sum or by the ton. That $2,000 road bond expense to the buyer, comes right off the top of the purchase price of the timber that the landowner is selling, before any price has been mentioned. In effect, the landowner growing timber just lost $2,000 of the actual value of their crop. This is in addition to the roughly $66/acre in property tax they have already paid over at least 15 years before getting to see any return on their investment. Over the entire rotation of the stand, if it gets thinned twice and then a final harvest is done, the landowner growing timber will have paid at least $154/acre in property taxes, or, for a 40 acre stand of timber, a total of $6,160 in property taxes plus an additional $6,000, at least, in road bonds. This additional $6,000 expense, incurred only by individuals growing timber in Yalobusha County, is, in effect, an additional tax levied directly on the forest landowners of this county, and only those landowners. This could be construed as taxation without representation toward these specific individuals.

  The majority of landowner revenue generated in Yalobusha County is from timber, and in my opinion, it would seem to be a necessity to encourage the landowners of Yalobusha County to invest in a crop of timber on their property, especially since these timbered acres are the very acres that generate the most in tax revenue.

  Sincerely,

  Yalobusha County

  Forestry Association

Bill Williamson,

Dennis McMinn,

John H. Ashford,

Billy Fielder,

Joe Farmer,

Ben Wright,

J. L. Crawford,

Mike Williamson,

Ollie Judson,

Jerry Denley,

Michael Glick,

Alan Rone,

George W. Stewart,

Joe A. Snider,

Bill Upchurch,

Mary Alice Moorman,

Donald Morris,

Roy B. Stevens,

Edward L. Keel,

Pearl Keel,

James Bratchett,

Larry E. Whiteside,

Joel E. Rogers,

Nellie L. Gardiner,

Alex McCachren,

Janet Williams,

Sam McCachren,

Mary L. McCachren,

Sheila Flippin,

Ralph Hughes,

George Lambert,

Brett Crawford,

Frank C. Brooks,

Frank B. Brooks,  

John Wood,

Raymond Phillips,

Joe Pullen,

Buster B. Jackson, Jr.,

Mike G. Harmon,

Willie Pullen,

Freddie Moorman,

Jeff Bynum,

Faye H. Black,

A. Black,

Harold Johnson,

Claud Beeler,

Ricky Fly,

Donald Gray,

David Arrington,

Smily E. Arrington.

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