Timber sales can create a new revenue stream

Timber sales are another financial resource available to farmers and ranchers.

Guerric Good, an agency forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation since 2016, said landowners can choose a couple of different options when they want to find out more about harvesting timber.

“When considering a timber sale, property owners can contact either an agency forester, like myself who is employed by a public service organization like the Missouri Department of Conservation or a private consulting forester. Both can then provide a list of those who do the actual logging. Amongst the loggers, there are those who have one of two different types of certifications, sponsored by the MDC and the Missouri Forest Producers Association.

“The first is a professional timber harvester, which is a logger trained in best management practices and broader forest management. The second certification is a Master Logger, the highest certification level and includes a separate auditing of that logger and an external review of the practices used.”    

Good said there are also uncertified loggers who have worked for many years whose work is not necessarily of a poorer quality but they have simply not found certification necessary for the areas or fields in which they work. He stated he has also worked with uncertified loggers who did a fine job.

“A private consulting forester does timber evaluation, including help with prescribed burnings and timber stand improvement recommendations such as thinning,” he said. 

Landowners who need more information can contact a Missouri Department of Conservation forester through their local county MDC office or the MDC website. Likewise, a private consulting forester may be located through missouriforester.com.

No matter who is contacted for logging, get the plan in writing.

“When considering a timber sale, the landowner should really consider using a contract,” Good said. “MDC can provide sample contracts which can help to clarify the goals and define the objectives of all parties involved. For instance, if you decided to have a little plumbing work done on your house, you might not feel like a contract is necessary but if you want to have the roof replaced, that is a much bigger job, and a contract makes for a smoother process for all. The same is true for a timber harvest.”

Good added all MDC foresters have lists of area loggers who work in a specific geographic area. Those who have performed poorly quickly put themselves out of the market, making those listed the most reputable in a particular area. While MDC does not make specific recommendations, they do encourage landowners to get multiple estimates from at least three different loggers.

“Invite them out to your property, discuss your goals, get a bid and a feel for that individual logger so you can have a better idea of who you will be working with. Of course, how much money the landowner will receive is dependent on multiple factors, including the tree species involved, the quality of the timber, and the accessibility, in other words, how easy it will be for the loggers to reach the trees involved.”

When all is configured, a timber sale can be a profitable endeavor for the landowner, providing thousands of dollars in additional revenue with relatively minimal cost or effort.


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