One of the things that Lt. Governor and Indianan Secretary of Agriculture Becky Skillman has noticed on the four trade missions she has led abroad so far, emphasizing ag products, is that Hoosier hardwoods are in demand worldwide. Sometimes a forgotten part of Indiana agriculture, some of the more interesting and lucrative deals struck so far coming out of these trips involve companies in the timber and lumber business.
Many farmers own and maintain timber land, but many part-time farmers who work of the farm but have 80 to 300 acres also have a sizable amount of timber. One central Indiana family that meets this definition has land where there was a timber sale roughly 20 years ago, just before they bought the property. They've done enough timber stand management to make sure that a good crop of trees with straight trunks have returned. They've also planted trees in areas where there wasn't a natural stand.
Now they're thinking about how to time another timber sale. At the same time, they want to make sure that the remaining woods aren't destroyed. Instead, they want to treat it like a crop, leaving it in good condition to regrow and perhaps produce another sale in another couple decades.
Foresters from the Indiana Department of Forestry can help set up management plans for timber stand improvement. When it comes to timber sales, families like this one often choose to work with private consultants. One advantage, they note, is that the consultants know most of the players, and know who will clean up the woods and pay on time, and who may not always get good marks in those categories.
If you have woods like the one described and live in northeast Indiana, you may want to take in a free seminar in Huntington next Thursday, on October 28. Sponsored by the Wood-Land-Lakes RC&D in northeast Indiana, it will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., with a free light meal starting at 6, at Heritage Hall in Hier's Park in Huntington.
The program will focus on how to get ready to sell timber, and how to avoid common mistakes many people have made in the past. After all, even someone with considerable acres in timber doesn't have a timber sale every day- maybe only every 10 to 20 years. Sometimes they can forget details of how to make the sale and harvest run smoothly.
"Being informed is the best way to make wise decisions," says Liz Jackson, Executive Director of the Indiana Woodland Owner's Association, a co-sponsor of the seminar. It's also co-sponsored by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources- Division of Forestry.
If you can attend, call 260-665-3211 by Oct 25 to make sure you have a spot reserved for dinner. You can also email an RSVP to: Office@wood-land-lakes.org.