By Jim Griffith
Registered Forester #1616
I recently talked with a landowner who was in the beginning stage of selling her timber. This landowner had been misinformed that Georgia Farm Bureau might be a good source to buy their trees. The timber owner was looking for a new buyer because she was not satisfied with the previous buyer to whom she last sold her timber. The seller was not pleased with the way her timber had been cut and was not sure she got paid anywhere near what she should have received in the sale of her trees.
When I told the seller that Farm Bureau does not buy timber, but offers a service of helping timber owners market their timber, she was ready to dismiss me. I explained how Farm Bureau works for the landowner to determine the timber value by performing a timber cruise (a tree count that determines timber products and volumes by species so we can estimate the value); how we contact timber buyers on the landowner’s behalf to lodge bids on timber; how we provide a timber deed that protects the landowner; and how we stay with the landowner until the timber is successfully cut and the site finalized.
But the landowner was not interested. She informed me that she had sold timber before and did not need my help. That she was again going to sell her timber herself.
But wait, I thought. Wasn’t this call initiated because she was not satisfied the last time she sold timber on her own? Wasn’t there a concern about the value she got for her timber when she sold it herself?
So I asked her, “How are you going to know when you get a good price for your timber?” There was no answer to my question. Of course there was no answer; not without a timber cruise/appraisal are you going to know what you are selling. Selling without knowing what you have is a shot in the dark; it is simply hoping you are getting what your timber is worth, it is like selling your house without having a clue what it is worth. No one would do such a thing. Well, almost no one.
Knowing the value of your timber is only the beginning step of selling your timber. You must have a complete timber buyers list, and not just for your local county since buyers may travel as far as 50 to 100 miles from their home to buy timber. You must market the timber you have in a manner that will attract the buyers you want. You must have a written timber sale agreement that protects the landowner. And the list goes on.
You do not want to make a mistake in the one time opportunity you have to sell your timber. You cannot redo the sale if you make a mistake. If you are selling land or timber, you will want to contact your Georgia Farm Bureau forester. Contact Jim Griffith at (478) 471-0440 to make sure you get all you can get in the sale of your timber.
Jim Griffith is general manager of the Georgia Farm Bureau Timber and Real Estate Companies.
Farm Bureau News – October 2006