'Wall of wood' with no place to go

By James Ronald Skains
Journal Correspondent

"There seems to be a wall of wall wood coming on the market from private landowners without any real place to go," Dr. Josh Adams, Professor of Forestry at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, pointed out to the Piney Woods Journal. "Stumpage prices seem to be stuck on low."

"Many private landowners need to sell timber now to properly manage their timber under the CRP program and also just based Best Timber Management Practices that are not in CRP programs. How this "Wall of Wood" coming on the market in the timber basket of the nation will play out, remains to be seen but I am encouraged to see lumber prices moving upward."

"How the increase in lumber prices on a national level will affect stumpage prices locally for private landowners is unclear. I am very pleased to see DRAX close their acquisition of the old German Pellet operation at Urania.

That should stabilize the pellet and chipping industry in north central Louisiana for a while. That takes care of the low end of timber which plays a vital role on the sale of the high end of market logs."

"There has been a lot of new technology come into the forestry business within the last decade. We teach all the latest forestry technology here at La Tech on how to manage your timberland, but I still believe you have to have boots on the ground at some point in your management plan," Dr. Adams elaborated.

If the name Dr. Adams and La Tech Forestry School sounds familiar it is because Joshua Adams is the son of the late Dr. John Adams. John Adams taught at La Tech for some 30 years positively touching the lives of numerous La Tech forestry students during those years. Dr. Adams passed away soon after retiring.

His son, Josh, now Dr. Josh Adams earned a degree in Forestry from La Tech and then attended Mississippi State University where he obtained both a Masters Degree (Forestry and Quantitative Genetics) and a Ph.D. in Forestry (Forest Resources and Molecular Genetics). Dr. Josh Adams then taught at the University of Arkansas Monticello for two years (Faculty Service and Achievement Award) before getting the opportunity to return to La Tech as a Professor.

"That part worked out well for us," Dr. Josh Adams explained. "My wife Heidi also has a Ph.D., and her specialty is migratory birds. Her expertise fit in well with one of La Tech's program so there are actually two Dr. Adams now on staff at La Tech."

Dr. Josh Adams' wife, Heidi Puckett Adams obtained a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in wildlife studies. While attending Mississippi State University to earn her Ph.D. degree in Wildlife Management, Heidi met Josh. She has participated in six peer reviewed academic publications.

"Our major problem here at the La Tech Forestry School is having enough money for student scholarships. With school budget cuts it has been a challenge to keep moving forward. We decided to go outside the budget process and go directly to our industry for help in maintaining scholarship programs. The response has been outstanding, especially Roy O. Martin Lumber Company in Alexandria, and Hunt Forest Products headquartered here in Ruston."

"The entire forest industry in Louisiana has bought into our concept of helping the La Tech Forestry School to have money for new students wanting to come to Tech to pursue a forestry career," Dr. Adams noted with pride. "Last spring, we decided to hold a thank you banquet for our forest industry partners."

"When we started planning the event, I figured that if we had 50 people show up we would be doing well. Our final attendance count was 170 people associated with the Louisiana Forestry industry. It became so large that we had to hold the event at the Athletic Complex."

"We were very concerned what the actual attendance would be because a storm hit Ruston the day of the event and we didn't get electricity back until two hours before the event started. We plan to hold another "Thank You Forest Industry Event" in the Spring of 2018."

Dr. Adams' official title is Assistant Professor of Silviculture and Forest Genetics. Even though he is only 35 years of age he has participated in writing 17 Peer Review Academic publications. La Tech is on the quarter system so within the yearly quarter system Dr. Adams will teach Forestry 231 (Dendrology), 232 (Dendrology II), 233 (Forest Trees of North America), 302 (Silviculture I), 320 (Silviculture II)and Forestry 417 (Bottomland Hardwoods).

"Growing up with my dad being a Forester who managed a few private tracts of timber as well as a Professor of Forestry at La Tech gave me some insight as to what the Forest Industry was all about at a young age," Dr. Josh Adams explained, "but my interest in the forest industry really perked competing in the FFA in Forestry Skills Competition. I attended a meet in Washington DC, and was surprised that how well a country boy from Ruston could do in national competition."

"One of the things I am very excited about is the renewal of the 'La Tech Forestry Boot Camp.' This is very exciting for me as I participated in the Boot Camp several years ago during my time as a student. Last year we were down in Central Louisiana. This year we will stay overnight three days at Hodges Garden Complex in Sabine parish then go down in Central Louisiana for another over-night stay. Roy O. Martin and Hunt Forest products have been so supportive of Tech's annual Forestry Boot Camp."

"Last year, I had a forest industry employer call me about hiring one of my students when he graduated," Dr. Adams recalled. "The prospective employer asked me what was outstanding about the student except for his academics."

"My reply beyond the usual good reference was that he had attended our Forestry Boot Camp and seemed to really enjoy and excelled in the woods. Hopefully those Boot Camp comments helped nudge the employer into hiring the Tech student because he did get the job."

"With my wife working in Wildlife Management, my Dad working in forestry that he loved so much before his untimely death at age 63, and my mother (Sandy) being a devoted gardener (really a small truck farmer), and my grandfather a landscape contractor, I guess you could say we are an outdoor family."

"We are only carrying on a family tradition, but it sure is fun," Dr. Adams concluded.