Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Alan Page Sounds Off on Forestry, Climate Change, and Farm Banking Strategies


Alan Page Sounds Off on Forestry, Climate Change, and Farm Banking Strategies


Dr. Alan Page
As a forester for the past 44 years, I have watched the things I have tried in forests and with people change with time. Most of these have been in the small to medium scale as allowed by the central New England landscape and ownership patterns. The conclusions formed from these reflections have changed my view of what should be normal and what is possible with and without substantial change, and the rate at which this change must occur to save life as we know it.

The opportunities offered by many small applications of particular practices include the possibility of isolating those things that really work from those that are or were wishful thinking. Much of current forestry thought is wishful thinking. For one thing, we are in a climate crisis that will soon be driven by uncontrollable methane releases from sources recently thought to be stable (polar and deep oceanic).

Our embrace of cheap sourcing of labor has its origin in pathological designs by those who believe that they are entitled to a larger share of global resources than anyone else. The primary design has been the depletion of the common good by enabling only short term investment and demanding payment for a medium of exchange that should come from within the sovereignty of the occupants of each region. This fraudulent set of policies has caused all of forestry to be non-economic. When in fact it provides a major component of life maintenance just because of the forest being healthy. The provision of local jobs, local renewable energy, local renewable materials have been made obsolete by the adoption of foreign sources for everything. The error of this mode of operation will play out within my short remaining tenure here, and the children of the region where I operate will not have had the chance to become familiar with the things I should have imparted and will not have the benefit of the value of truly healthy forests because we are in the process of destroying their stability.

Green Diamond Systems
May 21, 2011                     
To Whom It May Concern:

Dear Sir or Madam:

RE: FARM BANKING STRATEGIES

Farm Credit Service Bureau
I have been a Farm Credit (FC) client for over forty years and am a new member of Farm Bureau.  I manage long term forest land for private owners in MA and NH.  Over that 40 year time frame I was puzzled because no matter how proficient or productive my forest or forest practices were I was never able to do anything unless I or my clients had a regular income from oil stocks or the like. I am now 69 years old and would like to pass on the good things I know about managing highly productive forests to high school and college age youths, but I can find no interest in such a program from any local banks including FC.

You may have already guessed that the problem is that trees have no debt service capability, are at severe climatic risk, are a long term investment, and I will be engaged in training youths who have been brainwashed by consumer logic and have no common sense.  Of course, on the other side. the things I do are always carbon neutral, can be carbon negative, generally improve the stability of ecosystems in our area, provide local employment and seek to pay more than competitive wages... 

Being a slow learner, I only recently realized that this stems from the way currency and credit are formed in most countries. More particularly here in the US, the problem stems from the way the Federal Reserve System was formed in 1913.  After 1913 our fiat currency was made available as needed through an unnecessary debt transaction between the US government, a sovereign entity (the payer/debtor), and a private entity (the payee).  Of course, this works very well for the private banking system, but the rest of us are continually focused only on those projects that can be formed to produce a regular payment that would qualify as a "performing loan".  This short term focus allows all of us to feel comfortable in that there is nothing that we can do simply because we can not figure out how to fund the proactive measures to do the things we all understand must be done to hold the human ecosphere together.

The real issue is that this important community based opportunity can provide no regular interest or principle payment to a bank since the trees generate no intermediate income, and are always a ‘mark to market’ asset since there are no guarantees of true value until the trees and or the products are sold.  Normal banks must maintain a competent "performing loan portfolio".  So the question is: ‘is FBB any different from normal non-farm banks?’  Is there a way for any private bank to legally invest in long term rural community infrastructure style projects?  If not, why not?, and what can be done to change this situation?  (You may not recognize infrastructure in forest maintenance, but you can surely see it in retaining top soil, maintaining soil carbon levels, good soil structure, retaining all 
possible nutrients, reducing pollution from sprays, hormone and antibiotic use, etc.)

Could this bunch of farmers, the Farm Bureau in aggregate, come up with a way to do things right?  

Could their determination stand the test of toxic efforts of the Bank for International Settlements to maintain their extremely effective hold on the short term focus of all normal people?  Is Farm Bureau the entity from which these constructive possibilities will flow?

The recipients of this note are all some how connected and understand the issues in one way or another.  Your and their answers will be communicated to our youth in many different ways.  You might almost believe that they are not terribly important to me, but you would be wrong.  I suggest that you check out the Bank of North Dakota – a very successful 97 year old public bank formed by angry farmers and a very effective aid to their heirs.  BND however, does not appear to fund infrastructure appropriately at this time.

Sincerely yours,



Alan C. Page Ph.D., Research Forester
MA License #184, NH License #218 


Specialties

Forest growth analysis, second opinions for existing forest management programs, long term carbon sequestration, economic review of local options for long term projects, supply of renewable materials from local forests, expert witness testimony regarding timber.

Alan Page's Education

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Ph.D.Tree Physiology, Forest Management

1967 – 1973

Yale University

MFSilviculture and Management

1964 – 1966
The last class at the Yale School of Forestry that had a summer field camp requirement.

Cornell University

BSConservation

1960 – 1964


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