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Foresters celebrate good 2010

The saws of Lincoln County foresters remained in the woodshedsThursday evening as roughly 200 members of the Lincoln CountyForestry Association left the woods to gather for their annualmeeting and awards banquet at the Lincoln Civic Center.

The night was a little different than being out on the farm.Members met to bring 2010 activities to a close, rub elbows withfellow foresters, hand out awards and listen to guest speaker stateSen. Giles Ward, District 18.

“I have been to (County Forestry Association) meetings, and thequantity of participation of this is impressive to me,” said Ward,R-Louisville. “It speaks volumes about what their land means tothem.”

While all those who attended were treated to a logger’s meal ofmeat and potatoes, a few also walked away with something to mounton their wall.

Percy and Sarah Rutledge walked away with the President’s Award,Homer Richardson received the Friend of Forestry Award, DannyKnight took home the Tree Farmer of the Year Award and HarryBrumfield received the Logger of the Year Award.

As forestry is a leading industry in Lincoln County and with 238members in the LCFA, choosing the recipients of the four awards isnothing to shake a limb at.

“This is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, CFAs in thestate,” said Rebecca Bates, Lincoln County extension director. “Thesupport of the board is a great association to work with.”

During his speech, Ward, who serves as Senate Forestry Committeechairman, took time to point out the significance of the foresters’craft.

“Forestry is so important to our state,” said Ward. “It’s anexciting (field) to be in, it’s an exciting way of life.”

Ward noted that forestry accounts for roughly 9 percent of all jobsin Mississippi and $4.4 billion in wages and salaries.

On a local scale, forest-related economic activity in LincolnCounty created 905 jobs and more than $31.5 million in incomeduring 2007, which equates to a little more than 5 percent of jobsand 5 percent of income in the county.

“You can see how important forestry is, not just to us gathered inthis room, but in the state of Mississippi,” said Ward. “It’simportant to all of us.”

In addition to food, speeches and plaques, LCFA members saw theinstallment of new officers, which included former president JohnnyRushing handing the reins over to Joe Dan Leggett.

“I’m really proud we got to send a couple teachers to conservationworkshop,” said Rushing while reflecting on his most recent term aspresident. “I’m proud to be able to give a couple students ascholarship.”

The future looks tall for the LCFA, as Leggett intends to grind asharp axe in the upcoming months.

“I’ve been thinking about what I want to accomplish this year,”said Leggett, adding that his goal is for Lincoln County to benamed the state’s outstanding county forestry association.