Notice of Death April 26, 2020

Please note that the State Law limits number of people during the visitation period and attendance at the service to ten (10) or less and that social distancing be observed! This must be strictly enforced! Thank you in advance for your cooperation. It is designed for the safety of the family, our staff and the general public.

Sheila Brumett Cook
August 21, 1947 – April 25, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Jackie F. Tucker
August 16, 1942 – April 22, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Eloise Jones
January 6, 1935 – April 24, 2020
Final care arrangements will be in strict compliance with currently stated COVID-19 regulations. There will be a non-lingering visitation of groups smaller than ten people at the Winnfield Funeral Home, 117 MLK Drive, Winnfield, LA 71483, Tuesday, April 28, 2020 from 10:00 a. m. to 11:00 a. m. Procedure will include viewing in that format with groups then taking their cars for procession to the Winnfield Cemetery. Even before or after the viewing period, groups on the funeral home’s premises will be confined to ten or less people. A family-only graveside service will take place immediately after the viewing at the burial site.

Charles Otto Williams
April 15, 1929 – April 23, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Jerry Dale Prather
December 09, 1952 – April 06, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Dorothy Townsend
July 26, 1930 – April 24, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Pamela Jones Sisk
October 11, 1955 – April 23, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Louisiana Department of Health Update for 4/23/20 – Shows No Change in Winn Parish Positive Cases

Positive cases are reported by parish of residence. Tests are reported by the parish where the test was administered. Only cases of persons testing positive for COVID-19 with accurate and complete address information are matched and counted.

Tests are assigned to parish based on the location the test is administered, not the parish of residence of the individual being tested. Case and death counts are assigned to Parishes based on patient residence. Patients may be hospitalized or seek care outside their Parish of residence.

All information on the LDH website reflects the most current information provided to the State. It is subject to change based on further investigations, and will be updated accordingly.

Defend Against COVID-19

Stay home. Follow the Governor’s Stay at Home Order. Only leave your home if it is necessary for essential work or for essential items. Click here to read the Stay at Home order that expires on April 30.

Defend Against COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Recognize the symptoms. Cover your cough. Wash your hands. Stay home especially if you are sick.

Maintain a Social Distance of 6ft. Social distancing means keeping 6ft. of physical space between yourself and others. This helps to prevent the spread of illness.

Bicyclist Killed in Winn Parish Crash

Winn Parish – On April 21, 2020, shortly before 5:30 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop E responded to a fatal crash on U.S. Hwy 84 near Silas Mercer Road. This crash killed a man from Trout.

The initial investigation revealed a bicycle, ridden by 53-year-old Edward Herron of Trout, was traveling east on U.S. Hwy 84. For reasons still under investigation, an eastbound 2017 Kia Rio, driven by 38-year-old Deya R. Toler of Natchitoches, failed to observe Herron. This resulted in the Kia striking the rear of the bicycle. Herron was ejected from his bicycle and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Routine toxicology tests and charges are pending. The crash remains under investigation.

Louisiana State Police would like to take this opportunity to remind bicyclists to never assume that a motorist can see you. Simple precautions such as wearing an approved bicycle helmet and reflective materials are key to preventing crashes.

Motorists should remain alert at all times and remember the three-foot rule when passing bicycles. Making good choices, while in motor vehicles, such as never driving while impaired, always ensuring every occupant is properly restrained, and avoiding all distractions can often mean the difference between life and death.

Troop E Troopers have investigated 12 fatal crashes in 2020, resulting in 13 fatalities.

Contact Information:
S/T Casey Wallace
Louisiana State Police
Public Affairs Section
Office: (318) 239-0912


By Royal Alexander/Opinion

Our state and country have been, understandably, so focused on the health emergency that it is easy to lose sight of one important fact. Our fundamental rights and freedoms not only do not disappear during a crisis, they actually come to the fore in a more concrete and conspicuous way than in normal times. In fact, our rights are most important in times like these.

There is no doubt that the virus deserves–and has been given–our country’s full medical, health and safety attention. However, perhaps for the first time in our nation’s history, we have quarantined and largely immobilized healthy people. The fact is that our citizens, in huge numbers, have lost their liberty—their religious freedom, their freedom of expressive activity – including freedom of association, freedom of movement and mobility, and freedom to peacefully assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievances (i.e. including the small demonstrations we are beginning to see across the country). Further, we may also be losing our right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures” as well: for example, if law enforcement or other government entity comes, uninvited and without a warrant and probable cause, onto private property, or, if government undertakes covert surveillance of us through our cell phones to see, for example, whether we are abiding by the stay at home orders, these trespasses amount to an erosion of private property rights and an invasion of privacy. Broadly speaking, such government conduct contravenes the 5th and 14th Amendment guarantees that we cannot be denied our rights to life, liberty and property without due process of law.

For these reasons, our current status cannot exist indefinitely. Our U.S. Constitution trumps state law and state emergency/crisis orders. There is no exception or exemption in the Constitution for a health crisis. It also doesn’t yield to any other body of law. It is the supreme and final authority and, while it is designed to insure that the states and the people retain the majority of power in our free society, the specific enumerated rights that are exclusively the province of the Constitution include protecting from government suppression the freedoms of press, free exercise of religion, expressive activities, protection of private property rights and privacy, and numerous others.

We will, undoubtedly, continue to do everything we possibly can to protect those who suffer from, or are most susceptible to, the virus. However, that is not the only consideration in this critical balancing of interests. The large majority of 330 million Americans are having their lives, including their jobs–and, thereby, their families–damaged if not destroyed. This cannot be allowed to happen. While the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized a nuanced need to allow government to modify the behavior of citizens during a crisis, these allowances are supposed to present a compelling government interest and be narrow, specific and limited; no more extensive than the threat reasonably demands. Hence, while government should move with greater urgency and efficiency to exercise the powers it legitimately possesses, it may not assume greater power simply because we are in a crisis. If we don’t see these rights protected by our government, the small demonstrations across the country we are beginning to witness will become much louder, larger and more widespread.

P.O. Box 1837
Shreveport, LA 71166
Phone: (318) 344-7030

18 U.S. Code § 242.Deprivation of rights under color of law
U.S. Code

Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

State Fire Marshal’s Office Announces Burn Ban is Lifted

The statewide burn ban issued on March 25 is lifted effective IMMEDIATELY!

Please also be sure to follow safe open burning practices.

Thank you to everyone who cooperated in order to be considerate of your neighbors who are spending more time at home due to Covid-19!

Please remain aware of and compliant with any local restrictions on open burning and follow DEQ’s guidance on legal open burning materials: 

Louisiana Unemployment Weekly Certification Process Changed Starting This Sunday

Due to the overwhelming number of unemployed claims that the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) is currently receiving the agency has announced changes to the weekly certification process.

Currently claimants can re-certify their unemployment claim any day of the week. The most common day historically is Sunday. Due to the popularity of Sunday for weekly certification by claimants, the system is frequently slow or, in some cases, crashed. “We are continuing to work around the clock to make sure each and every citizen receive all benefits for which they are eligible,” said LWC Secretary Ava Dejoie. “The processing of large payment files and on-going programming is part of our continuing efforts to meet the historical demand for benefits, but people are receiving benefits. The LWC will never stop working to improve our systems to make filing as easy as possible.”

In an effort to alleviate the congestion to their systems on Sundays the LWC is changing the certification process to allowing people to file their weekly certifications based on the last digit of their social security number. 

  • Sunday: 0 to 3
  • Monday: 4 to 6
  • Tuesday: 7 to 9
  • All accepted: Wednesday through Saturday 

The change may affect the day of the week claimants receive their weekly payments. To date filers have received their payments one day after they submit their weekly certification. With most people filing their claim on Sunday that means they are accustom to receiving their weekly payment on Tuesday. With the change claimants with the last digit of their social security number of 7  to 9 that file on Tuesday will not receive their payment until Wednesday. “It may inconvenience some people, but it will make the system work more smoothly,” Wooley said. “When the system is slow, we can’t help anyone. It’s better for everyone to do it this way.”

Since March 22, the agency has paid out $561 million in state and federal dollars to 302,000 jobless workers, it said in a press release Wednesday. The agency paid out $151 million to 103,000 people for all of 2019 – or less than what the agency paid out on Monday alone.

Supreme Court Order Extends Aspects of April 6 Order

The Supreme Court of Louisiana issued an order on April 22 that extends aspects of the April 6th Order (SEE DOCUMENT BELOW).

1. Prior Order: All provisions of the April 6, 2020 Order of this Court shall remain in place, except as expressly modified herein. To the extent that proceedings can be conducted by remote conferencing, judges are encouraged to conduct all court matters.

2. Jury Trials: No civil or criminal jury trial shall commence in any Louisiana state court before June 30, 2020.

3. Remote Proceedings: The consent for remote proceedings in civil matters required in Section 6 of this Court’s April 6, 2020 Order shall not be unreasonably withheld by any party, which shall be enforced by the trial judge pursuant to the authority granted by Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 191, or as expressly provided by law.

You can read the order here. 

Secretary of State Announces Emergency Election Temporary Plan for July 11 and August 15 Elections

After working with the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, chairmen of both House and Senate committees, as well as the Attorney General, a temporary plan was announced by Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, which is considered the best path forward to ensure voter access and maintenance of integrity and security in the election process.

● Emergency COVID-19 related excuse absentee-by-mail applications: For Louisiana voters affected by or concerned with the spread of COVID-19, a temporary, emergency application would allow those voters to receive an absentee ballot for the July and/or August elections. This plan covers five COVID-19 related excuses, drawn from CDC guidelines or federal legislation: those at higher risk for COVID-19 due to CDC-identified underlying health issues; those subject to medically necessary quarantines or isolation orders; those advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine; those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking diagnosis; those caring for certain individuals. Further, this plan requires a witness signature on the absentee ballot envelope flap.

● Expansion of in-person early voting: While maintaining the same voter ID requirements under current law, in-person early voting would be expanded from seven days to thirteen days to ensure maximum capability for social distancing. This includes three Saturdays of early voting for the July 11, 2020 and August 15, 2020 elections.

● Change of polling location for some voters: For voters who normally vote at polling locations associated with Louisiana’s senior population across several parishes, the polling place will be moved to a new location for the July and August elections. Voters affected by this change will be notified in a timely manner.

● Heightened precautions at in-person voting locations: For those who choose to take advantage of in-person voting, either during early voting or on election day, we are taking extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of polling commissioners and voters. This includes maintaining social distancing guidelines, offering hand sanitizer to voters, and distributing masks and gloves to polling commissioners.

For more information on what steps we are taking to conduct honest and fair elections during this pandemic, or to find out how you can vote in the July 11, 2020 and August 15, 2020 elections, head to

This is Our New Normal: Governor Calls for Public To ‘Mask Up’

There’s going to be a new normal until there’s a vaccine for the Coronavirus and everything gets back to normal. At a press conference on Wednesday, April 22 Governor John Bel Edwards said that less physical contact is going to be required, as well as the use of facial coverings and masks. Whether you have an underlying health condition or not Edwards said he needs everyone to wear masks when they go out into public and come in contact with other people. Starting Thursday, April 23 the media will be required to ware masks to enter the room and attend future press conferences.

“We’ll have a lot more information going forward with this,” he said. “I encourage you to begin this process now. I’m calling upon Louisiana to “mask up.”

Edwards also said he’s comfortable betting that on May 1 Louisiana will be under a different order than it is now. This really depends on what happens over the next week or so because the state has to make sure it has those 14 days where the trajectory is the way it needs to be as it relates to cases and hospital capacity and an overall downward trajectory over 14 days of influenza like illness (ILI).

“I want people to have realistic expectations on what that will look like whether it happens May 1 or sometime after that,” Edwards said at a prior press conference on Tuesday, April 21. “It will be a gradual phased reopening of different parts of the economy. Social distancing will remain a prominent feature of daily life. There will still be crowd size restrictions and other limitations. We’re always going to be monitoring through testing to see what happens.

Moving forward three things are imperative:

1. Slowing the spread remains the number one priority for the state as a whole. All the things being talked about (stay-at-home order, social distancing, etc…) remain incredibly important.

2. Increasing the state’s testing capacity is important going forward because more has to be done.

3. Engage in more contact tracing as individuals are tested as they become positive. Make contact with everyone the positive person came into contact with for 48 hours before they became symptomatic. And these individuals need to understand they need to engage in quarantine.

“This will be key to us moving forward so we can keep the case numbers down, so we can continue to open up the economy,” said Edwards. “There is no stigma for being tested for or contracting Covid-19. Think of it as taking an opportunity to keep your self and members of your community safe.”

Icing on the Cake

By Reba Phelps

When planning a wedding there are so many intricate details that take months, sometimes years to perfect and organize. There is also a fair amount of stress involved. Even the coolest and calmest of brides can let their emotions get the best of them in a moments notice. Therefore, brides must always plan ahead to fend off any potential last minute surprises.

If the wedding venue is outdoors they will have a Plan B location simmering on the back-burner just in case the weather is not agreeable. They may even have a backup photographer or stand in brides maids if one falls ill on the big day. Brides also take special care in the planning of the cake. When will it be delivered? When will it be set up?

The cake is one detail that cannot fall through the cracks. The cake can either wow a crowd or leave them grumbling….cake and its icing must never disappoint the guests.

But, how does a bride pre-plan around a worldwide pandemic that could possibly cancel events across the nation?

My friend, Micah, and her fiancé’s wedding was a statistic of this very thing. They were to wed on March 28, 2020. Not even the most clear of crystal balls could see this one coming. Most brides would panic because all of the details were in the final stages of preparation.

The sentimental, and delectable, caramel flavored wedding cake, baked by the groom’s sister, was already in transit. The cake was the one thing that could not be rescheduled. Many brides around the nation were met with this same reality. But, I am not sure they all handled it as well as our friend did.

Micah isn’t one to let life’s circumstances stop her in her tracts nor is she the type to host a pity-party. Her mom and younger sister couldn’t agree more.

Her mom tells me, “She was an independent and determined child, she was always the planner of the family. She was the one to put together birthdays and holidays. When she moved out she would always come back and get her brother and her sister to stay with her. She was a loving sister to them and helped raise them. She was such a good child that it failed to prepare me for defiant children. She is always there for everybody.”

It came as no surprise to Micah’s sister that she didn’t let the delayed wedding ruin her spirit. Mallie shared, “Micah is everything a big sister should be and has always filled my life with happiness and adventure. She is also like my mom and watches over me to make sure that I am on the right track. She isn’t afraid to call me out when I am not doing my best. From the time I was a little girl I always wanted to grow up to be just like her.”

As soon as Micah found out that her wedding would have to be rescheduled I recruited our tough as nails friend to assist with the “Feeding our Heroes” initiative in Natchitoches. FOH is local group of volunteers who are dedicated to providing meals or desserts to the heroes and essential workers of the COVID19 pandemic while utilizing local restaurants.

Since she wouldn’t be honeymooning, I knew she would be the catalyst to bring it together with her mad marketing skills and “can do anything” spirit. I knew she would be the icing on the cake. She was also the keeper of the spreadsheet that housed the groups that were fed and what restaurant was used. During the flurry of activity I noticed that she would add to the spreadsheet where a cake would be delivered and she would mention, “as soon as this cake is iced it will be delivered to…..”

It took all of us a few layers of cake to realize that Micah had donated her whole sentimental and delectable, caramel flavored wedding cake layer by layer to various heroes in Natchitoches. Being the lover of cake that we are, we gently hinted around that we were heroes as well and would love a slice of that cake.

She never picked up the hints we were dropping….because, she always thinks of others before herself.

Sometimes God puts friends in your path that are much stronger than you are. They have been places that you have never been. They have seen things that you haven’t seen. They have experienced and survived more than the average human will in just one lifetime. It takes a lot to spook this kind of rock of a friend.

These friends are sent to tell you to get your life together when you are being weak and dramatic. These are the friends who go out of their way to help you feel good about yourself and see yourself how God sees you. These are the friends who act as a mirror and will completely tell you about yourself…in the direct kind of way that you will not soon forget.

If you are blessed enough to have one of these types of friends, they are the complete icing on the cake.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27:17

Notice of Death April 23, 2020

Please note that the State Law limits number of people during the visitation period and attendance at the service to ten (10) or less and that social distancing be observed! This must be strictly enforced! Thank you in advance for your cooperation. It is designed for the safety of the family, our staff and the general public.

Lonnie Wayne Higgs
January 16, 1957 – April 22, 2020
Service: Friday, April 24 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Home

William “Bill” Marshall Puls
October 19, 1934 – April 15, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Meal Deliveries for Students Update from Healthy School Food Collaborative

The Healthy School Food Collaborative is excited about our partnership with Winn Parish. We look forward to servicing your students and community by providing meals during this troublesome time.

We will begin delivery of the shelf stable meals to families that have signed up at the latest for April 24th. We will work through the weekend to ensure all deliveries are made.

Meal delivery frequently asked questions:

1. I signed up and have not heard from anyone, can you confirm you received my application.

If you are receiving this email, we have received your application.

2. How do I update information that I submitted on my application?

To update information, please complete this form:

3. I signed up and still have not received my delivery. When will I receive meals?

We continue to receive applications and are working on adding households to the delivery routes. Once your delivery date is confirmed, you will receive an email from us specifying your delivery date.

4. I signed up once and never received meals, so I signed up again. Do I need to sign up multiple times? Do I need to sign up every week?

No, a household only needs to sign up once and will continue to receive meals until the federally declared public emergency expires.

5. Can I add someone who’s in a different Parish?

No, a household must be in a participating parish in order to receive meals.

6. Do I need to be home to wait for the delivery?


7. What time will deliveries be made?

Delivery window is 8 am – 8 pm

8. How often will I receive meal deliveries once I receive my confirmation delivery date?

Deliveries will be made weekly.

9. I received an email with my delivery date, but never received my delivery. What should I do?

Deliveries that were not made on the confirmed delivery date, will automatically be rerouted for the following day. If you have not received the package by the following day at 2 pm, please complete the following form and a customer service representative will review your information.

10. What is in a meal kit?

Each shelf-stable meal kit contains enough food for 7 days of breakfast & lunch meals and 5 days of snack & supper meals for one child. Some items may come in individual packets/containers for each day and other items might come in larger containers to be used over multiple days. While each kit will have different items, you can expect the following:

Daily Breakfast:
● Breakfast Grain such as bagel, bread for toast, cereal, oatmeal or grits
● Fruit such as fresh whole fruit, fruit juice or canned fruit
Daily Lunch:
● Grain such as bread, bagel, roll, tortilla, pita, tortilla chips, pasta or rice
● Protein such as nut/seed butter, chicken, tuna, cheese or beans
● Vegetable such as canned vegetables varieties, vegetable juice blends,
● Fruit such as fresh whole fruit, fruit juice or canned fruit Supper:
● Grain such as bread, bagel, roll, tortilla, pita, tortilla chips, pasta or rice
● Protein such as nut/seed butter, chicken, tuna, cheese or beans
● Vegetable such as canned vegetables varieties, vegetable juice blends,
● Fruit such as fresh whole fruit, fruit juice or canned fruit
● Grain such as graham crackers, bagel, assorted snack crackers/chips
● Fruit such as fresh whole fruit, fruit juice or canned fruit

Shelf-stable milk is currently unavailable. As shelf-stable milk becomes available, it will be added to the meal kits.

Please note that kits will vary as the food supply change is working hard to produce shelf stable items during this pandemic.

Louisiana Department of Health Update for 4/21/20 – Shows No Change

Positive cases are reported by parish of residence. Tests are reported by the parish where the test was administered. Only cases of persons testing positive for COVID-19 with accurate and complete address information are matched and counted.

Points on the map do not represent the actual location of cases or deaths.

*Cases reported include positive COVID-19 tests results from both the LDH Office of Public Health Laboratory and commercial labs. The CDC no longer requires that positive test results be confirmed. Cases are assigned to parish based on the residence of the patient.

Deaths reported include a cumulative count of COVID-19 deaths.

Tests reported here include those completed by the LDH Office of Public Health Laboratory and those completed by commercial labs and reported to the state.

**We are conducting a comprehensive review of commercial testing numbers. These data will be updated upon completion of this review. This does not impact the number of positive cases reported. Positive cases are updated and accurate.

Tests are assigned to parish based on the location the test is administered, not the parish of residence of the individual being tested. Not all negative test results from commercial labs have been reported to the state. Some of the commercial test results reported to the state are from out of state.

***Age information related to positive cases may lag behind the initial reporting of those cases. We are updating data as we receive it.

All information on this website reflects the most current information provided to the State. It is subject to change based on further investigations, and will be updated accordingly.

Case and death counts are assigned to Parishes based on patient residence. Patients may be hospitalized or seek care outside their Parish of residence.

Timber Management in a Slumping Market

By Kevin Daugherty

A couple of months ago, we watched as the COVID-19 upended China’s entire economy. At the same time here in the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at record levels and economic indicators like unemployment and GDIP suggested we were headed in the right direction. My how things can turn on a dime! As the coronavirus pandemic grips our nation’s economy, the forest industry is feeling the effects. With home building on hiatus for the foreseeable future, the demand for lumber and panel products has been drastically reduced. The demand for fine writing paper and certain types of packaging papers are in decline as well. While the demand for toilet paper and sanitary wipes has gone through the roof, it’s hard to increase pulp and paper production because those machines are already running at full capacity.

As goes the market for forest products, so go the timber markets. With the decrease in demand for lumber and panel products, pine saw-timber and chip-n-saw demand have dropped. The hardwood saw-timber market is still suffering from the trade and tariff situation with China. Though there may be some much-needed light at the end of the tunnel with “Phase 1” of a new trade pact, prices for grade oak remain low. The decrease in demand for the other forest products has forced the logging community to shift to pine pulpwood. Wood yards are full, wood suppliers are on strict quotas at the mills, and prices are dropping. Local timber markets were already saturated, but this has taken it to another level.

In light of this gloomy forecast, timberland owners currently face a couple of very serious questions. “How does all this affect my timber management plan?” “Should I cut any timber now or wait for the market to improve?” On the one hand, each step in a timber management plan is geared toward benefiting the stand and maximizing profit throughout the rotation. Periodical thinning increases growth and promotes a healthy stand by reducing competition for moisture and nutrients and by removing diseased or defective trees. On the other hand, timber is an investment, and, as with liquidating any part of an investment portfolio, timing can be critical. Though it requires some explanation, my advice for private landowners on managing and harvesting timber during poor market conditions is pretty simple and straightforward.

During the growth cycle of timber stand, there are stages at which timing of a thinning is critical to setting the foundation for forest health and profit down the road. Possibly the best example of this is when a pine stand is ready to be thinned for the first time. At this point, tree growth has decreased drastically due to overcrowding, and the stand is most vulnerable to fire, insects, and disease. The stand must be thinned to reduce competition and free the remaining trees to grow. When a harvest is crucial to the future of the stand, I generally recommend going ahead despite a relatively weak market. The sooner this is done after the trees reach a merchantable size, the better. Pulpwood thinnings aren’t the big income producers that saw-timber harvests will be later on, so the profit/loss from market timing is not as great.

There are also stages where the timing of a harvest is not as critical. A good example is when a timber stand has reached maturity, and it’s time to clear-cut and regenerate. At this stage, even though the trees are mature, growth has slowed, and some natural mortality is starting to occur, it may be best to wait for market improvement.

In summary, I recommend the following: 

  • In young pine stands, stay true to your management plan. Proceed with first and second thinnings, if possible.
  • In saw-timber stands, monitor market conditions and consider waiting for improvement before making final harvests. Keep in mind that volatile markets are tough to time, so you need to be ready to strike when the iron gets hot.
  • Do all necessary reforestation and silviculture work and always maintain property boundary lines.
  • As in farming, weather and insects pose a threat to timber crops. Many landowners fear that by waiting to harvest their timber, they are increasing their susceptibility to these threats. These threats are a reality. However, I never recommend that fear of catastrophic mortality be the sole basis for timber management (harvest) decisions. 

Of course, there are special circumstances that may override market consideration. Storm damage, insect infestation, financial need, and clearing property for pasture or development are a few that come to mind. These are circumstances where emergency or opportunity may dictate that the landowner remove the timber immediately.

As stated earlier, local timber markets were already saturated before COVID-19. The saturation of the market not only affects the price of timber but also reduces buyer interest for tracts with marginal volume or challenging logging conditions. Small acreages, poorly stocked stands, and difficult tracts (poor access, steep hills, wet-natured) are most affected by this factor.

The current situation has affected every sector of the forest industry, my business included. As a consultant, I partner with clients to try and relieve them of much of the stress and uncertainty that can come with selling timber. When they make less for their timber, I make less for my services. As we continue to navigate through the uncertainty associated with this pandemic, it’s important to focus on things we can do to prepare ourselves and our timberland for opportunities that await on the other side.

Kevin Daugherty is a forestry and wildlife consultant, real estate agent, and the managing member of ForestLand Associates, LLC. He’s a member of the Association of Consulting Foresters, Louisiana Forestry Association, Society of American Foresters, and is a Land Certification Inspector for the Quality Deer Management Association. He and his wife live in rural Winn Parish. For questions about this article Kevin can be reached at (318) 312-1240 or