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Author Topic: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester  (Read 4290 times)

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Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2012, 08:37:20 AM »
An ideal thing will be if you can find the right forester, who is acting only as a consultant. You pay him/her to actually assess your situation and draw you up a plan, and possibly manage the harvest, but does not receive an actual percentage of the harvest. That way you know that they are not trying to high-grade your property, leaving you with only the junk trees left. However, it is not always possible to find a forester operating as a consultant only, so that may not be an option. The most important factor, as others have said, is their reputation among their past clients. Find someone with 100% or nearly 100% satisfaction from their previous customers, especially any from multiple years back who are happy with how their land is today.
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

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Offline MJD

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2012, 02:14:11 PM »
This has all been great info but there is always that chance a storm/tornado comes through and destroys the whole stand as many saw in northern Wi. last year, storm damaged wood is not worth much. I logged a few a few woods for a mills / forester that were on a 2nd cutting in 20 years and the land owners were very happy with how there woods were managed and it did not cost the land owner anything.

Offline deb36

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2012, 12:37:45 AM »
Thanks again,

Since someone brought up age, my parents own the land Dads 96 and ma's 76.  Dad's the one calling the shots.  I'm trying to help with it, but we don't really agree on the forester.  Money is the reason for looking into it.  I think what he believes is that the forest will take care of itself after we cut. He's just not into complicated plans.  He keeps it simple.  Gotta respect that. Wish we could get some of that back these days. 

He logged in the 80's and things were a lot simpler back then.  Can't blame him for wanting to do it the same way, although I know things are more complicated these days.  He got the county forester out to mark trees, had a lawyer draw up a contract, then put out sealed bids himself.

Now one forester wants 12% of the sale, another a hefty down payment before they'll come out and look.  Once he saw the 12% on the contract he was set against it.  Says considering his property taxes over the years, he'd break even on the sale if he gave $2000 to a forester.  I guess I can see that.  I kind of like how simple it was then myself. I'll support whatever decision he makes. 

Any advice you'd give a 96 year old that might seem practical?  Sorry I didn't say so sooner.  Thought it was TMI or that it wasn't necessary.

Deb

Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2012, 12:46:36 AM »
That's ok, Deb. BTW, you are very blessed to still have your dad around at that age. I hope mine lives that long and is still able to be involved in decision making!  :)

Your dad is right to a certain extent, the land will heal itself. Now, there are ways that foresters and loggers can improve the process, to be sure, and cause the land to be much more profitable than if it merely heals itself without interference. But considering his age and perspective, there's probably no sense trying to pick through the fine details with him. There will come a time in the future when he is no longer able to make decisions, and someone else will have to decide what's to be done with the land. Even after your prime hardwoods are logged off, a forester can be brought in some time in the future to build a plan, moving forward from that time onward. You lose some efficiency in the process, and some effect on the timber value and so on, but it will still be worth doing even years after the current timber harvest.
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

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Offline Ianab

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2012, 02:19:50 AM »
Another thing to consider is the marketing ability of the forester.

If you end up sending all the harvest to one mill, it's likely that a lot of the logs wont be of species or grades that the mill really wants. This means they wont be paying what the logs are potentially worth to another mill. They may even sort some out, and on sell them to another mill (for a profit)

With some smart marketing and sorting of the logs you might sell them for 20-50% more over the whole harvest? This is the sort of thing a consutant can help with. They know the local mills, what they are paying for the various logs, and where to send them for the best return.

In that case you take off the 12% the forester makes, and you are still ahead on the deal. Maybe by a significant amount.

Ian
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Offline MJD

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2012, 05:50:43 AM »
Deb, if you would like I can give you a name of a guy that works for a mill in central WI., ive known him for years, have cut timber for him and also sold logs to him, he is honest, fair and old school. He does have a degree in forestry and im sure your dad would like him. PM me if your intrested in his name. Mike

Offline snowstorm

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2012, 06:16:08 AM »
Thanks again,

Since someone brought up age, my parents own the land Dads 96 and ma's 76.  Dad's the one calling the shots.  I'm trying to help with it, but we don't really agree on the forester.  Money is the reason for looking into it.  I think what he believes is that the forest will take care of itself after we cut. He's just not into complicated plans.  He keeps it simple.  Gotta respect that. Wish we could get some of that back these days. 

He logged in the 80's and things were a lot simpler back then.  Can't blame him for wanting to do it the same way, although I know things are more complicated these days.  He got the county forester out to mark trees, had a lawyer draw up a contract, then put out sealed bids himself.

Now one forester wants 12% of the sale, another a hefty down payment before they'll come out and look.  Once he saw the 12% on the contract he was set against it.  Says considering his property taxes over the years, he'd break even on the sale if he gave $2000 to a forester.  I guess I can see that.  I kind of like how simple it was then myself. I'll support whatever decision he makes. 

Any advice you'd give a 96 year old that might seem practical?  Sorry I didn't say so sooner.  Thought it was TMI or that it wasn't necessary.

Deb
  find someone that you know and trust and have them cut it. cut to length equipment  would be a big plus. it can do a really nice looking job. everyone says you must hire a forester. he will make you money. dosent always work that way. its your land  your the boss. do what you think is right.

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2012, 10:31:20 AM »
Quote
Dad's the one calling the shots.

Work with Dad, best you can.  Get him to think what you want to happen are his ideas. Once he gets his heels dug in, then changing his mind may be tough. Stalling for time, like the markets are bad, may be the best in the long run.
Good luck.
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Offline ahlkey

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2012, 04:58:00 PM »
Your situation sounds quite interesting and similar to one underway in our family at the moment.  Possibly this could be of some help to you. 

We have a family homestead property of 60 acres that was approved for entry into the MFL plan starting January 2013.  It does require a harvest within 2 years of entry as nothing but firewood has been harvested for over 70 years (high density).  My father-inlaw who lives on the old homestead is 88 years old and still active cutting trees.  He is definitely old-school and even though entry under the MFL plan was confusing to him the tax-savings alone results in over $2,000 per year (he gets that big time).  We assured him that we would do the cutting and the forester doing the marking would be independent.  I have found anyone working directly for a mill or only willing to do the harvest based commission is a conflict of interest.  I do have other properties in the state under MFL plans and active with those properties (good equipment & expereince) so it works for us to do it ourselves.  However, getting the right forester who can help market the logs will more than pay off for you.   

At this point each of the families have an immediate need for income so waiting isn't an option.  Second, the tax savings each year is immediate and significant for everyone involved, and finally the future of sustainable forestry for three familes is achieved under the MFL. 

And besides just leaving large firewood logs to grow larger wasn't increasing the value of the forest potential. To put it mildly getting sustainable forestry on the old homestead wasn't easy but it was good that we did so.

Good luck to you. 

Offline westyswoods

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2012, 05:31:50 PM »
Interesting topic with a variety of answers. Went through a similar situation last spring. I had a reputable buyer and forester come in. We walked the woods and he was helpful in answering questions about selectively cutting. In short he said that with the market being in a very down mode, he would not cut any prime trees, instead thin the junk so the better can get bigger and are of more value when the market turns. Good answer and appreciated.

I had already taken down several thousand feet of a variety of hardwoods and had them cut to length, staged on the landing. He measured all and gave a quote which I did not accept.

Now the interesting part, I also measured all the landing logs using same scale. Low and behold the lesser value logs were all of comparable board foot to my measurements. The white oak and others of more value were substantially under measured. This is not a figment of my imagination I double and
triple checked.

I ended up selling to the Amish for $500 more than buyers quote. I have had very good relations over the years dealing with Amish, but there is one thing I know is they don't lose money.

Just a personal story.

Stay Safe and Be Well
Westy
Stay Safe and Be Healthy
Westy

Offline deb36

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #30 on: August 30, 2012, 11:22:08 PM »
You guys have helped a lot.  Its actually a very complicated situation.  6 siblings, all with different ideas and a 96 year old who wants to do it 'my way'.  He didn't live this long for no reason...he's stubborn as a mule:-) You know, he's as old as the larger trees in our woods.  He has logged at least twice.  But we do have two separate sections of woods.  Back in the 30's I think, his uncle burned down the woods by accident, and all the maples died, but the basswood came back.  So he and a few other guys cut cord wood that they sold locally.   

I'll just present things to him when it seems like a good time, and see what he says.  I'm hoping we can delay a sale so I can get organized.  If we could get a forester just to give us a plan and mark the trees, it may work.  I just have to find someone in the area.  I'll ask the county forester if he knows of anyone that might do that.  And maybe I'll just do some calling around to foresters and see what I can come up with.  Then maybe get the local logger that my Dad likes, and check into mills. Thanks for giving me an idea of how the process goes.  There's a lot to it. 

As far as the MFL program, we're checking that also. Good that we can balance the financial part and the forest management part of it without hopefully too much conflict. 

I'm sure I'll be coming back to this post a lot to figure out a plan. I'll let you know if we go ahead with it and what happens. 

Deb

Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #31 on: August 30, 2012, 11:26:36 PM »
We are collectively glad to help, Deb, and I hope it goes well for you. Don't be a stranger on here! We're a fun bunch to hang around with, and there is a LOT we can all learn from each other.  ;)
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

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Offline WDH

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #32 on: August 31, 2012, 08:11:05 AM »
If you use good, reputable, experienced people, you will be fine.  Just be real clear on what your management objectives are.
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #33 on: August 31, 2012, 08:46:08 AM »
Hope the best for your family, it is always a hard thing when multiple inputs are coming in. One might want to leave everything, another with other ideas.  I just know that we had a good guy do ours in 95'. I remember his words,"it will be ready in 15 years for another thinning"  and it is.   His crew made nice roads,  with mimimal damage.   One thing for sure, depending on who does it the potential for waste is present. Just remember to try and market the whole tree if possible. 
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline terry f

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #34 on: August 31, 2012, 11:45:50 AM »
   Deb, is this land going to be passed to the six siblings, sounds like its been in the family a while. If it is you might want to get some input from them. Sounds like you're doing alot of the leg work for your dad, and I wouldn't want argue with a 96 year old, but sometimes old school, aint the best school. Doing whats best for the land, might not put the most money in his pocket.

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Landowner handling own timber contract vs hiring forester
« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2012, 08:00:22 PM »
You have received good information here. Seek out the services of a professional forester that comes with the best recommedations from others to serve your family's best interests in your woodland management. The forester's professional judgement will be most helpful.
~Ron


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