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Forestry expert recommends using forestry consultants

By Jim Griffith

In past columns I’ve advocated that timber owners enlist the help of a registered forester to sell their timber. Some readers might say I only advocate this because I am trying to sell my own services. While offering the advice might bring some business to the GFB Forestry Company, the recommendation of using a registered forester to secure the best possible sale is valid. If you doubt my advice then please note the advice that Mississippi State University Extension Forester H. Glenn Hughes offers in an article that ran in the March 2008 Progressive Farmer.

In the article, “Pinch Every Penny Out Of That Tree” author Del Deterling says hiring a forestry consultant is a decision Hughes “wishes more landowners would make.” Deterling writes that Hughes “strongly encourages landowners to employ registered foresters, especially when it comes time to help with a timber sale.”

Deterling quotes Hughes as saying, ” A typical landowner may do two or three timber sales in a lifetime, whereas the people he is selling to – the timber buyers – are doing this day in and day out. There is a huge imbalance of knowledge and experience there. A forestry consultant represents the landowner and his interest. So he levels the playing field.”

Many times in past columns I’ve offered the same rational when encouraging timber owners to enlist the services of a registered forester. A registered forester will provide a timber seller with knowledge equal to that of the timber buyer. Deterling’s article quotes an impartial forester offering the same advice.

I’m not saying that all timber buyers are out there planning to take advantage of the unsuspecting and unknowledgeable timber seller, although it occasionally happens in every industry. However, everyone wants to know they’re getting a good deal, timber buyers and timber sellers alike.

Some of my timber buyer friends and readers sometimes think I write negatively about them. That is not my intent. In reference to the paragraph above, some landowners and timber sellers, in trying to get a “good deal,” can themselves become guilty of taking advantage. So not only does a registered forester help the timber owner get more money in the sell of his timber, we also help set the tone for what is to be expected from a timber buyer and logger. Not only do we level the playing field, we bring realistic expectations to the table in regard to timber harvesting operations.

Timber buyers have told me that they stay in business buying timber from people like me, a registered forestry consultant, but they make their money buying directly from the timber owner. Now what exactly does that mean? It does not mean they are taking advantage of the landowner, but it does mean they are paying more money when a registered forester is representing the seller. Why do people want to buy a car direct from the seller? Because they think they’re getting a better deal. Think about it!

If you are in the market to sell land or timber, take Mr. Hughes’ advice and give me a call. Use a registered forester and land specialist on your next sale to put more money in your pocket. As the dealers say, it will make you money. Call me at (478) 471- 0440.

Jim Griffith is general manager of the GFB Timber & Real Estate Companies
Georgia Farm Bureasu News – May 2008

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