Forestry landowner education raises incomes
Individuals and families own approximately 80% of the commercial forestland in Mississippi. When combined with employment, value-added processing and expenditures, forestry contributes $12.8 billion and 69,445 jobs annually to the state economy. This makes landowner education a key education component of Mississippi State University Extension.
Extension faculty and staff conducted educational programs at 86 meetings, 20 workshops, three short courses and 17 field days. These programs served 4,478 clients owning more than 877,000 acres of forest. A 2019 survey of 1,036 training participants found that they owned/managed 3,347,285 acres of forest in 77 Mississippi counties and estimated that they saved/earned $4,834,735 on their forestland. Of these, 331 respondents (33.4%) indicated that they have implemented forestry practices since attending a program. The top practices included prescribed burning, reforestation and thinning. A total of 315,970 acres of forest were impacted from all practices. An additional 490 respondents indicated that they plan to implement practices on 141,840 acres within the next two years.