Ashley Farms Recognized as 2020’s Jon Gould Florida Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year

 

Southern Forestry Consultants (SFC) is excited to announce that Ashley Farms, owned by Don Ashley and Theo Meadows, has been recognized as the 2020 Jon Gould Florida Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year.  This award is presented annually by the Florida Tree Farm Program, a non-profit organization, and the state affiliate of the American Tree Farm System (ATFS).  Our SFC team in Monticello, Florida assists Ashley Farms with forest and wildlife management, a relationship maintained for over 25 years.

SFC Vice-President, Dave Lewis, began working with Mr. Ashley’s and Mrs. Meadows’ parents in the early nineties and attributes a great deal of the success at Ashley Farms to the family’s willingness to adapt.  From local shifts in weather patterns to global influences on forest product markets and anything in between, the determination to “make the best of things” is unwavering.

Dave characterizes the resolve and adaptive approach of Ashley Farms in his comments that, “Regardless of the next management challenge, Don and Theo are always ready to tackle any obstacle with a solution-focused mindset.”

Ashley Farms has experienced quite the transition over the last four decades from a shade tobacco farm to a diverse property focused on striking a balance between timber production, wildlife habitat, and row crop production.  These efforts also led to Ashley Farm’s recognition as the Florida State Forest Stewardship Landowner of the Year in 2007.  While recognition as the Florida Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year may be the culmination of efforts focused on maintaining this sustainable, multi-use farm, Ashley Farms is excited to continue and improve for years to come.

SFC and WEA are fortunate to work with outstanding landowners who are committed to sustainable management.  As a result, Ashley Farms is our fifth client since 2010 selected as the Florida Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year.

For more information on Ashley Farms and their award, please visit the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences announcement.

SFC Announces Planet Imagery Partnership

Southern Forestry Consultants is excited to announce that we are now a Planet Labs imagery reseller. Planet is a leading global provider of daily satellite imagery at multiple resolutions and temporal scales. SFC’s geospatial solutions division will provide Planet imagery to clients across the Southeastern U.S.

Planet’s imagery products are a game changer for efficient real time monitoring of land assets. Being a provider of Planet imagery is a strategic fit for SFC’s cloud-centric strategy for digitally enabled natural resource management via real time imagery within SFC’s managed web GIS solutions which allows all access to land data anywhere work is being done, whether the office, the truck or the woods. “We at Planet could not be more excited to have Southern Forestry Consultants signed on as a partner.” said John Atkinson, Global VP of Partnerships at Planet. “Their towering competence in forestry management, combined with Planet’s unique service, will deliver the best possible results to our joint customers.”

It can be a challenge for forestry and natural resources professionals to visit each and every ongoing management activity across geographically distributed land assets. Putting eyes on all operations is increasingly a challenge as organizations run lean due to tight labor markets. SFC’s web GIS customers can add Planet imagery directly to ArcGIS (Online or ArcGIS Pro) for real time visibility across all their lands and value added silvicultural activities. Operational benefits include reduced time on the road checking jobs and having to walk sites to see the precise extent of work completion. Land managers can quickly quantify a harvest’s extent, or acres for payment, using last week’s imagery right in ArcGIS Pro instead of walking a job’s edge with GPS. Since Planet’s imagery streams directly to ArcGIS, one can reduce time spent on labor intensive and slow imagery transactions involving shapefiles, email and large file management.

Reach out to us to learn more: sales@soforest.com
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Learn more about Planet at their website : https://www.planet.com

Prism Spring 2020 Release Available

We’re excited to announce a major release for Prism. Prism delivers Map-Centric, Automated tools for forest sampling, timber cruising and wildlife data collection. This major release includes dozens of enhancements for improved efficiency across the forest inventory business process by eliminating data management and providing quick answers to forestry questions.

Prism is part of our effort to Redefine Forest Technology which is based on the belief that yesterday’s technology won’t solve today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. Our business critical technologies must reliably function over the long term while adapting to changing workplace demands for automation, work from home and smart devices.

Reach out to us to learn more about how Prism is a complete rethink on forestry data collection: redefine@soforest.com

Look at our Prism page to see this release in action in a 3 minute video tour.

Continued Support for the Forest Recovery Act during COVID-19

 

As owners, managers, and stewards of natural resources, we talk often of the resiliency and ability of natural systems to recover from disasters like hurricanes and wildfires.  However, as we collectively navigate another challenge in the form of COVID-19, it is apparent that the people that make up our forestry industry have a similar resiliency.  Over the past twenty months we have experienced pressures on our industry that are unprecedented beginning with the onslaught of Hurricane Michael in October 2018 and continuing now with the current pandemic.  The weeks and months following Hurricane Michael were filled with uncertainty and confusion, but ultimately we forged a path forward with confidence that our working forests were important and meaningful enough to restore.  While the recovery effort is far from over, efforts continue in earnest to restore full functionality to these working lands.  Assuredly, the resolute people of our industry will confront the current pandemic with the same perseverance that has allowed us to overcome the challenges of the past.

To that end, Southern Forestry Consultants (SFC) and Wiregrass Ecological Associates (WEA) are proud to share the letter below sent to leaders in Washington and endorsed by members of the Legislature pushing the inclusion of the Forest Recovery Act in legislation addressing COVID-19 relief.  SFC and WEA feel this is a product of the tremendous effort by the agricultural industry in general, and specifically our forestry industry, to educate our lawmakers about the financial aspects and subsequent implications of the long-term investment in timber.

While this letter alone may not result in monumental changes for the forestry industry, it is symbolic of the policy changes that our collective effort will continue to target.  To that end, SFC and WEA want to take this opportunity to extend our gratitude to our clients, partners, and colleagues who have dedicated their time and resources on behalf of our industry.  Furthermore, we want you all to know that we will continue to stand with you in this effort through our participation and leadership in national organizations like the Society of American Foresters and state level Forestry Associations, Farm Bureaus, and Forest Landowner Associations across the Southeast.

We will continue to face challenges as we move forward, but with a resilient group of people grounded in the natural resources entrusted to our care, SFC and WEA are confident our industry will continue to thrive and produce the many products, environmental services, and outdoor opportunities that benefit all of society.

FRA and COVID-19 Letter to Leaders in Washington

SFC and WEA Discuss Landscape Management Plans in the Southeast at Tennessee Forestry Association (TFA) Annual Meeting

 

The 2019 Tennessee Forestry Association (TFA) Annual Meeting was held this week in Knoxville, Tennessee.  TFA and the Tennessee Tree Farm Program asked Austin Carroll to speak on behalf of Southern Forestry Consultants (SFC) and Wiregrass Ecological Associates (WEA) regarding ongoing landscape management planning efforts in the Southeast and implications for the upcoming Tennessee plan. Mr. Carroll, a Registered Forester who led the development of the initial American Tree Farm System (ATFS) Landscape Management Plan (LMP), has led the creation of state-wide LMPs in Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida.   SFC and WEA will continue to lead the creation of these plans during 2020 in Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia.

LMPs are currently being developed and utilized in numerous states as a tool to help navigate one of the biggest barriers to landowner forest certification, the management plan itself. The SFC/WEA team are developing this innovative tool to meet standards for both ATFS and the Forest Stewardship Program.  Additionally, these LMPs are designed to strengthen the critical bond between a landowner and their natural resource professional, which research indicates leads to active forest management. Mr. Carroll presented on lessons learned during the development of LMPs throughout the Southeast and how those lessons will help in the development of Tennessee’s LMP.

 

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The Tennessee Forestry Association (TFA) serves as “The Voice of Forestry” in Tennessee. TFA is a private, non-profit organization primarily funded through membership dues. It began more than 50 years ago under the name of “Keep Tennessee Green” and was organized to assist in reducing the tremendous toll taken by forest fires each year throughout the state. TFA continues to work with state and national government agencies to promote a better understanding and appreciation of the forests of Tennessee through a diversity of public relations, government, and educational programs.