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Professional foresters maximize timber investments

By Jim Griffith
Registered Forester #1616

I continually have to remind landowners that timber is an investment. It is an asset in which your money is tied up. You bought it and are paying interest on it or either it is earning you interest. It is an investment just like a share of stock.

Stock prices go up and down daily, even throughout the day. You can watch the ticker tape and instantly see when your stock investment goes up or down. Your timber investment is going up and down on a daily basis also; you just don’t have the advanced ticker tape technology to watch the changes as you do for the stock market.

Just as surely as you need help from a professional stockbroker to watch the changing prices in the stock market, you need a professional forester to watch out for your best interest in the timber industry. It continues to come to my attention that many forest owners do not understand the timber industry, the growing and management of trees, nor the marketing of those trees at the most opportune time.

If you don’t have a plan for your trees, you should make one now. As surely as there was value in “them there hills” during the California gold rush, there is value in Georgia’s forests. I have known a few forest landowners to make the effort to become informed timber growers. They constantly study the timber industry, learn the newest management methods, walk their timber checking for growth inhibitors and make intensive management decisions to develop their forest to its fullest potential. These landowners are on top of their investment, however, they are few and far between. If you are not one of these, it will pay to hire someone who will stay on top of your investment for you.

A professional forester will help you decide what to do from the time you decide to plant until the time of your timber sale. He can recommend types of site prep and planting to get your timber investment going most economically. He knows vendors that can accomplish this task. He understands management and what it takes to create, implement, and update a plan that leads to desirable goals for you, the timber owner. This professional forester also keeps up with the market and the price trees are bringing. He can recommend modifications in the management plan to take advantage of the planned harvest or management activity that will maximize your savings or income. Your forester is a long-term manager of what is most likely your most considerable investment. His advice will cover his cost time and again. You don’t hesitate to use a stockbroker to navigate the stock market. Don’t be afraid to contact a forester for assistance with one of your most valuable assets, your timberland.

Jim Griffith is Gen. Manager of Georgia Farm Bureau Timber and Real Estate Cos.
Georgia Farm Bureau News – December 2007

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