September 18, 2018

Texas Forestry Association Hosts 2018 Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year Tour

LUFKIN, TEXAS (March 1, 2018) – Texas Forestry Association will host a tour to highlight the selection of Ironwood Plantation Ranch, Ray and Diane Krueger, in Liberty County as the 2018 Texas Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year, on Saturday, April 7, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The Kruegers’ property, located between Rye and Moss Hill, Texas, was acquired in 2008 and the rest in 2010, and became a certified Tree Farm in 2013. The tree farm is managed for multiple use for sustained yield timber and wildlife management as well as family recreation. Their management goals have gone through some adjustments since they purchased the property, however, proper stewardship, protection and improvement of unique stand and ecologically significant areas and maximizing the production of their timber asset while working towards improving the general enjoyment of their property continues to be most important to them.

The tour will include observations of 2010 Longleaf and Loblolly Plantings and 2006 Pine Plantation, as well as firelanes and buffer zones. The tour will also showcase the property’s unique attributes that include river plantings which show a Pine transition to Cypress, Trinity River Sandbar which is part of a Forest of Recognized Importance, and a special site on a historical river bed. The tour will visit a Cypress Swamp, a unique ecosystem in itself.

Participants are asked to wear outside attire and comfortable shoes/boots. The event is free and lunch will be provided. The guest speaker at lunch will be Tom Boggus, State Forester.

Space is limited to 120 participants and registration is required to reserve your spot. Register online by clicking the Events tab on or call 1-866-TXTREES, 936-632-8733 or email with your name, mailing address and the number attending.

Jason Ellis, left, presents Ray and Diane Kruger with the award for 2018 Outstanding Tree Farmers Of The Year during the Texas Forestry Association’s annual banquet held Oct. 25-27, 2018 at The Fredonia Hotel in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Texas Forestry Association, the voice for forestry for over 100 years, promotes an economic, social and political climate that will advance forestry in Texas through education, political action and public relations, as well as serving the broad needs of the forest resource of landowners, producers and consumers, and to enhance and perpetuate the Texas forest resource.




LUFKIN, TEXAS – Texas Forestry Association has named Ed Small as the recipient for the Ed Wagoner Leadership Award at the Association’s annual convention held at The Fredonia Hotel in Nacogdoches, Texas on October 25-27, 2017.

“This award recognizes the high standards of leadership set by Ed Wagoner, who served as TFA Executive Vice President from 1955 through 1983,” said Dr. Jerry Marcontell, TFA President. “Ed Small has gone above and beyond in his commitment and service to TFA, and it is our honor to present him with this award.”

Small received the award in honor and recognition of his leadership, time and personal attention to the success of the many TFA programs. He has been a TFA member since 1995 and has provided his professional services as an attorney and lobbyist to the Association for over 20 years.

“Today, we want to recognize his leadership that played a vital role in passing truck weight legislation, timber theft legislation, and led the legislative efforts that resulted in the establishment of the Prescribed Burn Board,” said Dr Marcontell. “He has been a loyal friend of the forestry community and we greatly appreciate his wise council throughout the years.”

In addition, Small led efforts for two years to make a rule change to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for easier performance during prescribed burns while maintaining air quality regulations. He has also provided his legal services when TFA members required assistance with positive results.

Ed Small accepts the Ed Wagoner Leadership Award during the annual convention for the Texas Forestry Association held at The Fredonia Hotel in Nacogdoches, Texas on Oct. 25-27, 2017. Presenting the award is Dr. Jerry Marcontell.

Texas Forestry Association, the voice for forestry for 100 years, promotes an economic, social and political climate that will advance forestry in Texas through education, political action and public relations, as well as serving the broad needs of the forest resource of landowners, producers and consumers, and to enhance and perpetuate the Texas forest resource.


Texas Forestry Association Recognizes Rep. Trent Ashby As 2017 Outstanding State Legislator Of The Year

LUFKIN, TEXAS – Texas Forestry Association (TFA) presented Rep. Trent Ashby with the Outstanding State Legislator of The Year award during the Association’s annual convent held Oct. 25-27, 2017, at The Fredonia Hotel in Nacogdoches, Texas.

“I am honored to present this award to a very dear friend of the forestry community and to one who is a TFA member” said Ron Hufford, Executive Director of TFA. “Rep. Trent Ashby is a leader in the Texas State House of Representatives and one who understands the issues facing rural Texas, the forestry community, and agriculture.”

The award was given to honor Rep. Ashby’s efforts in helping TFA secure a rule change in the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s air quality rules for prescribed burning. He listened to the concerns of Certified Prescribed Burn Managers and with his leadership, and the support of his staff, we were successful in getting a rule change to support the future use of prescribed burning conducted by Certified and insured Prescribed Burn Managers.

“Rep. Ashby is an effective voice in Austin on rural issues that affect TFA Members,” Hufford said. “He has served in the past on several TFA Committees and his office is open to listen to the needs of our members. As a TFA member, he knows and understands the issues that affect private forest landowners and private business owners.”

State Representative Trent Ashby receives the Outstanding Legislator Of The Year Award from TFA Executive Director Ron Hufford during the association’s annual convention held at The Fredonia Hotel Oct 25-27, 2017.

Texas Forestry Association Presents Senator John Cornyn With 2017 Congressional Legislator Of The Year Award

LUFKIN, TEXAS – Texas Forestry Association presented Senator John Cornyn with the 2017 Congressional Legislator of The Year award during the association’s annual conventional held Oct 25-27, 2017, at The Fredonia Hotel in Nacogdoches, Texas.

“TFA appreciates the support and the attention that Senator Cornyn continues to provide to the rural communities in Texas on federal issues that affect the future of the forestry community,” said Ron Hufford, Executive Director of TFA. “We present this award in recognition of his action taken to allow commercial vehicles to have access to the future I-69 Interstate System with the appropriate state commercial vehicle permits allowed on state highways.”

For TFA, the action taken by the U.S. Congress is vital to the entire forestry community in maintaining a strong forest based industry. Moving the forest resource from the initial point of harvest to the processing mill is vital to the future economy of East Texas and to TFA member landowners, logging contractors, consulting foresters and the processing mills.

“Senator Cornyn and his staff listen to the needs of rural Texas,” said Hufford. “They stand ready and willing to roll up their sleeves and work for the good of the people of this great state.”



LUFKIN, TEXAS – Texas Forestry Association presented the Outreach and Education Award to CJT and Associates during the Association’s annual convention held at The Fredonia Hotel in Nacogdoches, Texas.

“CJT and Associates have quietly and consistently supported forestry education through their participation in the TFA programs and beyond,” said Misty Bowie, TFA’s Environmental Education Director. “Hap and Robert Hachtel, the father and son behind CJT, have been longtime sponsors of the Teacher Conservation Institute, providing scholarships for attendees and arranging tours of harvesting operations.”

In July, the Hachtels, along with their technician Mark James, hosted a half-day of the weeklong Teacher Conservation Institute which included a hayride tour of a local tree farm, speaking about the importance of managing family forests to optimize health, productivity, aesthetics, wildlife, and recreational value.

CJT and Associates were instrumental in staging the 60th Southern Forestry Conclave hosted by Stephen F. Austin State University’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture in March of 2017 where they located and secured access to competition sites for timber cruising, pole classification, and compass and pacing. Both were on site during the events to assist as needed. Additionally, the company has provided hardwood logs for ATCOFA field station students to use for sawmilling during past Field Stations.

Currently, Hap and Robert manage TFA’s Tree Farm and the Griff Ross Woodland Trail located in Rusk County.

Hap Hachtel and Robert Hachtel, father and son behind CJT and Associates, received the Outreach and Education Award, presented by TFA Environment Education Director Misty Bowie, during Texas Forestry Association’s annual convention held October 25-27, 2017 held at The Fredonia Hotel in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Texas Forestry Association, the voice for forestry for 100 years, promotes an economic, social and political climate that will advance forestry in Texas through education, political action and public relations, as well as serving the broad needs of the forest resource of landowners, producers and consumers, and to enhance and perpetuate the Texas forest resource.


Texas Forestry Association Names New Executive Director

Texas Forestry Association, a trade organization serving the timber interests of Texas for over 100 years, has announced the selection of Robert Hughes as its new Executive Director. Hughes will fill the vacancy created by Ron Hufford’s retirement in December, 2017. The selection was made by a nine member committee and approved by the Board of Directors.

“We are very pleased to announce this appointment,” said Charley Colvin, chair of the search committee. “Rob will bring leadership experience and a deep understanding of the timber industry. He has served in executive and leadership levels while working with landowners and industry leaders to create and implement best management principles for conservation and this perspective and experience will serve him well in his new role as executive director.”

Hughes, a Texas native, has over 20 years of experience in leadership in the forestry industry, most recently as Harvesting/Silviculture Manager for Campbell Global since 2014, and has operated with the company in various management capacities including contract logging manager for the Campbell Timberland Management North Texas Tree Farm that has over 260,000 acres. Other experience includes Lead Forester at Temple-Inland’s Mixed Forest Department, Contract Supervisor and Shift Supervisor in manufacturing plants in Camden, Texas and Waycross, GA. He has worked with contractors and loggers to maintain budgets and exceed profits, maintained a professional relationship with the public as well as creating and maintaining harmonious working relationships between landowners, contractors, various levels of governments, and industries.

“I am very honored to be chosen to lead an amazing group that has been the voice of forestry for over 100 years,” Hughes said. “I look forward to continuing to serve and partner with Texas timber owners and industries in this new capacity as we face the next 100 years. I am dedicated to this sector because I believe in sustained forestry initiatives and see the great impact timber has as a family legacy and as a business in the state of Texas.”

Texas Forestry Association works to promote economic, social and political climates that advance forestry in Texas through education, political action and public relations as well as serving the broad needs of the forest resources of landowners, producers and consumers, and enhances and perpetuates the Texas forest resource.

“We are very excited to welcome Rob to the TFA family,” said Dr. Jerry Marcontell, TFA President. “Rob has a commitment to TFA’s core values and mission as well as a capacity to strategically guide the Association forward. The Board of Directors has great confidence he will develop rich and meaningful relationships with organization members and our industry and community partners.”

Hughes received a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University with an emphasis in Wood Science. While attaining his formal education, Hughes worked for the United States Forest Service as a firefighter in New Waverly, Texas and Colville, Wash.

He and his wife, Tammy, have two children, Robert and Jenna. Together, they enjoy serving their community and church through various volunteer opportunities including Huntington High School Bass Club Boosters and Dixie League Baseball. Rob is also a board member of the Huntington ISD.

Texas Forestry Association, the voice for forestry for 100 years, promotes an economic, social and political climate that will advance forestry in Texas through education, political action and public relations, as well as serving the broad needs of the forest resource of landowners, producers and consumers, and to enhance and perpetuate the Texas forest resource.

Texas Forestry Association Announces 2017 Dates For Teacher Conservation Institute

TCI participant David O’Connor (left), fourth grade teacher from Inspired Vision Elementary in McKinney, Texas, learns how to age a tree from a core sample extracted by forester Ragan Bounds (right) with Hancock Forest Management.

Texas Forestry Association (TFA) announced two sessions of its Teacher Conservation Institute (TCI) will be held this year at Bugscuffle Inn near Henderson, Texas.

TCI is a week-long professional development workshop held in East Texas which uses the forest to teach environmental education. Activities are led by foresters, educators, natural resource conservationists and industry professionals.

“This is our 29th year to present TCI,” said Misty Bowie, TCI Coordinator. “It’s a great opportunity for educators from across Texas to come together and learn about our forest resources and share ideas for implementing environmental education in the classroom.”

Phase I, A Complete Natural Resource Cycle, takes place July 10-14, 2017 and consists of interdisciplinary workshops focusing on the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the state that comes through the scientific stewardship of its forest resources. Sessions take place indoors, in the forest, and on a variety of field trips.

Sessions include training in the Project Learning Tree supplemental environmental education curriculum, Tree Trails, GreenSchools Investigations, and evening natural history programs. Field trips for Phase I include a seedling nursery, family-owned Certified Tree Farm, timber harvest operation, sawmill, oriented strand board (OSB) Mill, and Texas Forestry Museum.

Phase I participants receive certification in Project Learning Tree, 40 hours of Continuing Professional Education approved by the Texas Education Agency and 40 hours of Texas Environmental Education Advisory Committee (TEEAC) credit. Gifted and Talented credit may be grated at the discretion of participants’ GT Coordinators.

Registration for Phase I, including all teaching materials and instruction, food, lodging, and transportation during the workshop is only $250.

Those who have completed Phase I in prior years may elect to attend TCI Phase II on June 26-30, 2017. The theme of Phase II is Inquiry and Field Investigations in the Forest, and it provides a comprehensive look at East Texas forest ecology led by foresters, anthropologists, soil scientists, wildlife biologists and education experts.

Participants conduct field investigations in water quality, best management practices, wildlife management areas and take an in-depth look at cultural impacts on the forest.

Phase II field trips include the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, a red-cockaded woodpecker management area, cultural history sites, and the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University. Participants will become certified Project Learning Tree facilitators and will receive training in the Leopold Education Project and Project WET 2.0.

Registration for Phase II, including curriculum materials, food, lodging, and transportation is only $300.

“The newly-signed Every Student Succeeds Act recognizes the multi-disciplinary benefits of environmental education, which is why TCI is beneficial for teachers in any grade level or subject,” said Bowie. “We attract classroom teachers and nonformal educators from across the state, making for a great networking opportunity.”

To register or for more information, please call 1-866-TX TREES or email us at

Texas Forestry Association Recognizes Brian Babin as 2017 Legislator of the Year

 LUFKIN, TEXAS – Texas Forestry Association presented Senator Brian Babin with the Legislator of The Year award on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, at the Tyler County Courthouse in Woodville, Texas.

“We are very proud to present this award to Dr. Babin,” said Ron Hufford, Executive Director of TFA. “His support was invaluable as we worked together to keep the industries that support forestry in perspective as the I-69 transportation system progresses.”

Dr. Babin serves the 36th District which covers nine counties. He has been appointed to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as well as the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and serves as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Space and represents the interests of Johnson Space Center that is located in the district. He is a member of the Subcommittee on Environment.

“I am very grateful to have been presented with the Texas Forestry Association’s Legislator of the Year Award,” Rep. Babin said. “The forestry industry plays a critical role in our local and national economy, particularly in East Texas. As one of our area’s top employers, I am committed to advancing policies that support out timber industry.”

Dr. Babin provided legislative support that helped grandfather in existing weight limits to the I-69 infrastructure, maintaining a current weight limit for motor carriers to haul up to 84,000 pounds with the appropriate permit. This promotes an economic benefit to all of East Texas as motor carriers do not have to find alternate routes to reach their destinations.

“We strive to be an integral link for landowners, providing them with information on laws and issues that affect them,” Hufford said. “We are grateful for the work Rep. Babin has done to protect the interests of our members.”

TFA Welcomes Robyn Gillespie to 2017 Board of Directors

LUFKIN, TX (Feb. 20, 2017) – Texas Forestry Association is pleased to welcome Robyn Gillespie to the 2017-2019 Board of Directors. Gillespie was chosen by the TFA Nominating Committee to fill a term recently vacated.
Gillespie is the third generation to manage Gillespie Lumber Ltd on Highway 59 North in Nacogdoches, Texas, which supplies hardwood products throughout the Texas/Louisiana region. The lumber company, which began by producing hardwood cross ties for the railroad industry, is today manufacturing Crane/Dragline Mats, Laminated Mats, and pallet lumber.
“We are grateful to have Robyn join TFA in this capacity,” said Dr. Jerry Marcontell, President on TFA’s Board of Directors. “She brings a sense of the tradition to the Board that is found throughout the timber industry, whether it’s the landowner or the mill. That sense of tradition will be necessary as TFA continues to advance into the future.”
Gillespie is married to David Guillory. Together, they have two children, Austin and Evan. She also serves on the Stephen F. Austin Gardens Board of Advisers and is a member of The Longleaf Alliance.

Texas Forestry Association Executive Director to Retire At End of Year

LUFKIN, TEXAS Jan 31, 2017 — Texas Forestry Association today announced that Ron Hufford, Executive Director, will retire by the end of the year.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have spent 33 years doing what I love with people I admire and respect,” Hufford said. “We have faced many challenges in our industry and have survived all of them. We have created an effective means for the public and the industry to work together and to communicate with legislators for and against issues in forestry. We have continued and deepened our partnership with Texas Forest Service and many other state agencies to keep forestry a viable and valuable resource. With our long-term vision and the five year plan in place, I am confident the growth and partnerships will continue in the future.”

Hufford has been the association’s executive director since January, 1984.  During his tenure at TFA, Hufford established Project Learning Tree and the Teacher Conservation Institute, and developed several councils under TFA’s umbrella to bring together the diversity of the forest industry.

“It is humbling to see the support and encouragement from staff and friends alike as I retire,” Hufford said. “While I am stepping away from the desk and closing the door on this chapter, I am not leaving the forest. The woods and its many benefits have been a long-time passion for me. I’ll be out there among the trees, spending time with my wife and my children and sharing that passion with my grandchildren.”

Before joining TFA, Hufford worked with Southern Forest Products Association based in New Orleans, Louisiana as Mid-Western Field Representative before being elevated to director of Field Services, and later named the Vice President of SFPA’s Forest Resources and Environmental Division.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from Southern Illinois University. Following his college education, Hufford served as an officer and pilot in the U. S. Air Force.

Hufford is the Past Chair of the Texas Agricultural Council, Advisory Board Member to the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership Program, Past Chairman of the Texas Society of American Foresters, Member of the Society of American Foresters, Past Chair of the Texas A&M Forest Science Advisory Council, Past President and member of the Lufkin Rotary Club, Past Board Chair and member of First Christian Church- Lufkin.

“Ron has served the landowners and industries directly and indirectly involved in forestry with the same conviction,” Board of Directors President Dr. Jerry Marcontel said. “He has spent a large portion of his career in Austin protecting Texas forests as well as the individual landowner, the corporations and the service professionals. For that, and all that he has done for Texas Forestry Association, we are forever grateful.”

Hufford is a Fellow in the Society of American Foresters and a Life Member in the Texas Forestry Association. He has received the Distinguished Service to Forestry Award from the Texas Society of American Foresters and is a recipient of the Build East Texas Bill Clements Memorial Award for Outstanding Leadership in Agriculture. He is an Eagle Scout and has received the District Award of Merit, Scoutmaster Award of Merit, and Silver Beaver from the Boy Scouts of America.

“All of us at TFA are very proud of Ron and his accomplishments with Texas Forestry Association,” said Susan Stutts, Assistant Director of TFA. “While we are deeply saddened to see him go, we know that he will enjoy this next step. Ron’s dedication to open communication and strong partnerships have benefited everyone involved in TFA and forestry in Texas.”

TFA will begin accepting applications beginning Feb. 1, 2017. Resumes should be emailed to