Page images
PDF
EPUB

we go on another year and increase the crop, it looks as if it is perfectly hopeless to expect better prices from the operations of the naval stores industry.

Mr. C.F. Speh, Turpentine & Rosin Producers Association, New Orleans, La.. The factor and the banker-I say banker, because he furnishes the money-but the factor essentially, has it within his power to remedy the situation. It may not be that he can dictate to the producer and say, “You must only operate so many trees," but the producer needs a little outside education. The solution of this problem is going to be not so much in dictation as in education. If we can bring about a change through education we are going to have much more easy sailing than if we try to force it. So I think we have a perfect right, as producers in the industry, to look to the factor, the man who has always a common interest, to try the educational remedy,—to educate the producer that it is unprofitable to work these small trees. He can do that in several ways, by always telling them that it is to their advantage. He can always have it in his mind to point out to the producer that there is no sense in any business man operating an unprofitable enterprise. It is merely a question of dollars and cents, the foolishness of putting a hundred cents into something and getting back from it only seventy-five cents. We would not do it in the timber business, and we would not do it at anything else. Why, that's not the way we do any of these things. Furthermore, it is unfair, it is wrong

for any man to take upon himself to withdraw from our wealth of one hundred years and destroy it just simply as a means of keeping himself in labor, when we know that he cannot possibly add thereby to his wealth. So I really believe I am going to pass the buck to the factor, that it is up to him to pass the education on to the producer. I believe you will get the more advanced operators to listen to you, and they might help you and take on themselves the work of educating the smaller producers.

Mr. A. K. Sessoms, Cogdell, Ga.. I know this, that a great destruction of small timber has been going on in the woods, but, as to how to best control that, my own views are that it is a matter of education. Now, whether the operator, or whether the factor can best educate him to do it, or go after the man that owns the land, I hardly know, but possibly all of them

together could do something. In my opinion it is a question of education of the man owning the timber, or owning the land, to prohibit that gross destruction of his own resources, and that it is not profitable.

Mr. C. S. Hodges, Cyrene, Decatur County, Ga.: Out of thirty years experience in the yellow pine belt of Southwest Georgia, I have observed that necessity is a severe schoolmaster, but I have learned that the turpentine operator will learn in no other than the school of experience. In my own county, Decatur, which is right at the southwest point of Georgia, and in Douglas and Early and other counties in this section, the yellow pine has been the chief source of wealth. It has been heartrending to see the destruction of the yellow pine in southwest Georgia. It is surprising to me that the great Giver of all gifts has allowed the reproduction of that yellow pine harvest. It has been in spite of our efforts, for we have lent nothing to it. We have not protected the yellow pine from the forest fires. In our operations we have been guilty as a man who would pull up young corn. We have cut everything that you could stick a cup on. I thought one time,—and I am sure that we were correct—that when we got cups for the timber it would be a blessing, and I guess it was, but the trouble is that we have not profited by it, because we would stick a cup on a little tree that we could not get a box in. I heard a man say last year that thousands of those which were cupped were so small that it took two men to do the job,—one to hold the tree steady while the other put the cup on; and that is very nearly true.

The forest in our Southwest Georgia is fast reproducing itself. We have thought the turpentine operators were due no protection, for they use no common sense, you might say, but only greed for gain. We destroy the very thing that would in time be of value to the rising generation and to the State and to ourselves. I do not know how to conserve the forests, though I have made it a study for years. I have tried it in a small way on a few thousand acres of cut-over lands, and the reproduction of that forest has been phenomenal. I have ridden through the holdings of other men near me. I have watched the reproduction there and in the adjoining counties to me, and it is wonderful there, with nothing save what Nature has done. No effort or no man's hand has been turned to save the tree. We live in

a country where the piney-woods rooter runs at large, and every turpentine man knows what that means when it comes to the destruction of new trees only a year or two old, and sometimes four and five. They will go down and get them and tear them out by the roots. The pine tree, as every one knows, is not like the sassafras or some other trees. If you break it up even with the ground it will not produce itself any more, and therefore, the destruction alone of the piney-woods rooter has been more than we can calculate, but it has not been as much or as extensive as the destruction of us operators, I am sorry to say.

The question of taxation was brought up in Mr. Pringle's paper. I believe that the tax on cut-over lands in the territory that I live in, and in several counties like mine, will not amount to more than 20 cents per acre. I think that is low. Six or seven dollars per acre is the valuation. In Mr. Pringle's country the millage is thirty-five or forty, and I believe that will amount to more than 20 cents per acre. That condition itself will prevent conservation and discourage men to reproduce forests, because the lands there are not so very valuable, other than the pine trees that grow on them. It is poor land, and the good Lord has given us one thing that will grow on poor land, and that is yellow pine. How we can do this, how we can bring about a system of thinking and education among our people with reference to the burden of taxation, I don't know, but I do know that it takes from 15 to 20 years for a forest to reproduce itself to where you can saw mill it again, and that is only where it has not been sawn over too close. There is a saw mill in our county now that will cut timber down to where it is only eight or nine inches, right at the ground too. Now, it will take that forest forty years to reproduce itself. Where it is cut to 10 and 12 inches, and the trees left, it can be worked and turpentined, if it is worked conservatively, in 15 years. Pardon me for taking so much time, but I want to say one thing. A few years ago I went to an old farmer to lease his timber. He said, "How small are you going to cut it?" I said, "Well, we are not going to cut it below eight or nine inches." He said, "You cannot cut my timber that low." That old man got me to thinking. I finally traded with him on the basis of cutting his timber down to 10 inches. I thought somebody had been talking to him and he would not bother about watching the

woods, but that old creature was out there the day we started. He ran the negroes out of the woods. He would not let me cut it under ten inches. I said, “We can't measure every tree.” He said, “You will have to do some good guessing, then. You can't cut my timber under ten inches." Mr. President, I made more money on that than I ever made on a lease proposition in my life, because I got results from the trees that I did work.

On the other hand I can show you thousands of these little trees worked elsewhere. Let turpentine go to one dollar and a half and two dollars, and every turpentine man will lease anything he can lay his hands on, that he can put a cup on, and I can show you trees where they were worked four years, and they are broken off where they cut them. Now, that is a destruction that the factor cannot control, and gentlemen, we cannot expect anybody else to control it, except the man that is operating it. Turpentining has been too easy,—it has been too easy to make a living. Now, that is a fact. We all know it. A fellow can get a nice check-book in his hip pocket and get in his automobile and ride around and have a good time, and get incompetent men to look after it, just so that he breaks even in the fall, and is able to borrow money from some bank or some factor. But we haven't paid any attention whatever to the very thing from which we have been deriving a livelihood. We have paid no attention whatever. Let it go, let it go. If I had what has been burned up in the territory where I am working,-I wont go any further than that,-if I had what has been burned up down there, I would have more than we can work out of the live trees.

Mr. A. V. Wood, Vice-President Georgia Forestry Association, Brunswick, Ga.. I am one of those young men like Mr. Kayton, who has only had a few years in the business. I began sometime in 1868. I have watched the turpentine business in a way during those years, and have followed the flag, you might say, only at Brunswick instead of Savannah, for forty-eight years. I am thoroughly in accord with the ideas and the remarks of these gentlemen on the question of education. It is a matter of education entirely, as to what we could do. I thought we could educate our legislators in the first place to the enormous possibilities that they have of correcting some of the evils we have been confronted with. How we are going

grow. To

to do that I do not know. I was in the Legislature but once in my life, and then I quit. I tried to get a bill passed in the Legislature some years ago to establish a State Board of Health,—and of course it has been established since.

Education of the operators is coming gradually. As Mr. Kayton said we have a great many more intelligent operators in the forests now than we have ever had before. Conservation is growing there, but it has not grown to the extent that it should

many

of us it sometimes appears as if it were almost stagnant. I don't know very much about the naval stores business, but I am an observer, and one of the great things that is being done now and has been done for the last few years has been the educational work by Mr. Austin Cary. Those of us who have been in the business see the revelations of this man working all the time. The operator in the country is seeing it, those that he comes in touch with all the time. Many of them are profiting by his researches and the experiments that he is making, and certainly that is going to be one of the big results, the conservation of the timber already standing. It is already showing results.

I went into the business, as I say, in 1868. In 1871 the senior member of the concern that I was working with came to me very dolefully, I suppose we had had a bad year,-and said, “The naval stores business will last about five years more.” It was very doleful to me, a young man, only to have five years lease of life in that particular business. However, it jogged along. I traveled on down to Brunswick, and after I had been there about ten years, one of the members of our firm came in one afternoon, called me in his office, and said, “Woods, what are you going to do?" He felt as if the industry was going to stop. He said, “I will give it about ten years." So I really have become an extreme optimist. I don't believe there is any stopping point in the naval stores industry. I am certain that there wont be any lessening of naval stores production if an organization like this, and people like we have in this organization, keep themselves thoroughly alive to the situation and push it forward as it should be pushed.

Mr. A. S. Carr, President A. S. Carr Co., Bainbridge, Ga.: I am in line with Mr. Pringle's views, and Mr. Seph, about the production from the small tree, the small immature pine tree,

« PreviousContinue »