'There's strength in numbers'

By Jeff Zeringue

One doesn’t have to own a lot of forest land to have a desire to learn how to keep his property healthy and learn about programs that could help.


Ask McDuffie “Mack” Herrod, who owns about 17 acres but has access with permission from family members to about 100 acres. Herrod is one of several new Louisiana Forestry Association members joining in 2020.


“I’ve had my hand in it (forestlands), even though I don’t own much timberland,” Herrod said.


Herrod is a certified public accountant, whose clientele includes tree farmers and other forest landowners, but that was not his introduction into the forest products industry. His father, Jasper B. “Jap” Herrod was majority owner of Central Creosoting Co. Inc. near Clinton. He soon added a sawmill to the operation. The company name was changed to Central Wood Preserving Inc. in the 1970s when the preservation process was changed from creosoting to Wolmanizing.


The mill provided many full-time jobs for the community, and Herrod’s father also helped out some students studying forestry at Louisiana State University, his father’s alma mater — “Jap” Herrod earned a degree in forestry with a minor in civil engineering from LSU in 1934.


As a teen and into his early years of college, Herrod, now 61, said he worked at the mill. He had to wait until he turned 16 to work inside the mill.


“When school was out at 15 years old, Dad would put us on the green chain,” Herrod said. “Let me tell you, that green pine was heavy.”


Between semesters and during the summers while in college, Herrod did “everything from selling lumber to sharpening saws ... a little bit of everything.”


Soon, Herrod shifted gears, following more in the footsteps of his mother, Aileen Madere Herrod, who was the accountant for the business.


“Back then I was more into the business realm,” Herrod said. “Since my mother was an accountant, that was more of the direction I had taken.”


Earning an accounting degree from Nicholls State University and stints in the oilfield and for the IRS, he started a career in public accounting.


“I’ve attended a lot of ag and forestry type of tax seminars at both LSU and Mississippi State that were put on over the years and I have a lot of clients who have tree farms,” he said. “And I’m a member of the Feliciana Forestry Association.”


Herrod is the treasurer of that organization. He said that group and the Louisiana Forestry Association are important to be involved in, offering owners of forest property education and updates on legislative activities as they pertain to landowners.


“There is strength in numbers and your membership adds to a group whose positions on potential law changes can’t be ignored by the Legislature,” he said.


Now he has two adult sons and a daughter whom he wants to have the same appreciation for the forest and the importance of sustainable forestry.


“I’ve tried to teach them here and there about trees and proper forest management,” he said.


Herrod said spending time in the outdoors, checking on his property and just enjoying the land is important, though this time of year for a public accountant can be, well, taxing on his time.


“I don’t get out there as much as I’d like to,” he quipped.


The land is a legacy his father left to Herrod and his siblings to enjoy. He is passing that along to future generations.


“I’ve got a 7-year-old grandson who’s already going out in the woods, so he’s enjoying it, too,” he said. “So, it’s already going down to the fourth generation.”


Anyone wishing to join the LFA, can find out more on the website, www.laforestry.com.

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