March 2, 2005

Forests make up nearly half of Kentucky’s land area. In late winter and early spring a large amount of timber is cut from the state’s woodlands.

“Local sawmill supplies are dwindling as a result of a wet winter season,” said Doug McLaren, agriculture and natural resources Extension specialist for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. “If you are one of the 300,000 forest land owners in Kentucky, you might soon receive a phone call or a personal visit from a logger offering to buy and ultimately cut your timber stand.”

McLaren said very few forest land owners sell timber more than once in their lifetime. Investigating all the options is a way for owners to get the best price and management available for their resources. Generally two methods are recognized for selling timber – lump sum and pay-as-you-cut.

“If you are like many forest land owners, selling timber can be a very intimidating process,” he said. “You need to understand the issues involved with liability insurance, capital gains, BMP adherence, market values and potential market risks. All of these terms and concepts will greatly affect the final price you will receive for any timber you sell.”

Using the services of a professional forester can provide landowners the advantage of better understanding how to sell their timber. Consulting foresters have knowledge of logging practices and legal issues, contracts and sales procedures and they can make sure the land owner’s interests are protected, McLaren said.

“A forest consultant assumes the same duties that a realtor does when you sell your house,” he added. “They represent you and your timber resources.”

Consulting foresters can also help with future management decisions of forested land.

Kentucky has rich resources of soils, a variety of tree species and ideal growing conditions for a valuable timber crop. Like any agricultural crop, continued management is necessary during harvest and into the next rotation, McLaren said.

“Consult a forester before you sell any timber,” he recommended. “They have the tools and knowledge to increase the return on your forest investment. Remember that timber is a slow-growing resource and many of the economically mature stands in Kentucky are nearly 100-years-old.”

Relying on a professional forester will only add value to your timber, he added.

To locate a consulting forester, contact your local county Extension office.


Editor: Aimee Heald-Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: Doug McLaren 859-257-2703