Last week, I had a pleasure to participate in 2017 Timberland Investment Conference, organized by Harley Langdale Jr. Center for Forest Business (University of Georgia). If you are interested in forest business, this post is just for you!
Growing value in Georgia
The motto of the University of Georgia Timberland Investment Conference is “Growing value”. The first Timberland Investment Conference was organized in Atlanta, Georgia in 1985. Next, a series of conferences on timberland investment topics followed in late 1980s and early 1990s. Since the first conference, the timberland investing landscape has changed more than anyone could have imagined, and the growing interest in institutional timberland investment have expanded. This was one of the reason why the University System of Georgia Board of Regents formally instituted the Center for Forest Business (CFB) in 1997 to reflect the maturity of the timberland investment community. CFB was established to integrate the business aspects of forest production and processing with the biological and ecological requirements of sustainable production.
Principal activities of the Center forcus on:
- a graduate program which educates professionals who will successfully occupy senior-level positions in private industry and public organizations;
- research to improve planning and privide financial analyses to forest industry and private forest landowners;
- service programs to educate professionals and organizations about the financial, biological and social components of intensive forest production.
In 2015, CFB was renamed in honor of Mr. Harley Langdale, Jr., a long-time alumnus and very strong supporter of forest business.
2017 Timberland Investment Conference
The conference began, on March 1st, by the welcome speech of Dr Bob Izlar, the Director of University of Georgia (UGA) Harley Langdale, Jr. Center for Forest Business.
Presenters and Participants
The program of the conference was prepared very well, and participants had opportunity to watch interesting and inspiring presentations. For instance, Ms. Rhonda Hunter – Senior Vice President of Timberlands at Weyerhaeuser discussed the dynamics in timberland ownership and what they mean to Weyerhaeuser. She was talking, among others, about Weyerhaeuser tranformation, and its forest ownership expansion from 6 million acres in 2012 to 13 million acres today. I liked especially Weyerhaeuser motto:
“We produce logs and we have opportunities for innovation at every stage of the process”.
Also interesting presentation had Lee Alexander – Director of Fiber Supply at International Paper. The subject of his presentation was “Think Again: Paper Ain´t Dead!”. He was talking about the domination of paper and pulp production, increasing demand for pine pulpwood in coming years, and reductions in printing and writing paper production, which are offset with increased fluff pulp market.
Jack Lutz – Principal and Forest Economist at Forest Research Group – was discussing index of value for southern timberland (Southern Timberland Index), its components, calculations and constraints related to its practical application.
More about the presentations and presenters, at the 2017 Timberland Investement Conference, you can find at the Center for Forest Business (CFB) website.
During the Timberland Investment Conference, there were over 300 participants, who represented, inter alia, wood industry, forest owners, banks, insurance companies, investors, appraisers, universities, or forest and wood industry consultants.
The conference was divided on following subjects:
- Industry Structure, Ownership Changes and Innovation
- International Opportunities for Investing
- Economic & Political Outlook
- Analysis and Insights on Current Topics
- What You Need to Know as a Timberland Investor by Knowing the Details
- Timberland Investment Opportunities
- Timberland Valuations and Appraisals
Continuing Education Credits
During the conference, participants had an opportunity to gain education credits such as:
- Georgia State Bar – 14 hours of CLE
- Society of American Foresters – 12.5 hours CFE/CLE, 3 hours Field Tour
- Georgia Real Estate Commission/Appraiser Board – 12 hours CE.
2019 Timberland Investment Conference
CFB organized its first conference in the fall of 2004. Since then, Timberland Investment Conference was held in 2007 in Georgia, 2008 in Munich (Germany), 2009 in London (UK), 2011 in Georgia, and 2013 and 2015 in Florida. This year (2017) the conference was in Florida, and the next one that will take place between March 20-22, 2019 will be also organized in Amelia Island, in Florida (USA).
I encourage everybody, who is interested in forest business, to book already this date in your calendar and come to beautiful and sunny State of Florida.
Main photo: Golf course next to Ritz Carlton Hotel at the Amelia Island, FL, where 2017 Timberland Investment Conference was, and will be again organized in 2019. Photo credit: Rafal Chudy