There are important steps to take when considering selling timber, says University of Missouri Extension forester Hank Stelzer.
In addition to providing additional revenue, harvesting timber can improve the health and vigor of woods and wildlife.
Most landowners don’t know the value of their woodlands, Stelzer says. Too often, landowners make uneducated decisions on selling their trees and underestimate their value.
Stelzer recommends consulting with a forester. Professional foresters can help guide the process so that the seller benefits financially and the woodlands remain in good health. Public foresters, such as those with the Missouri Department of Conservation, can provide assistance but there may be a wait.
“While consulting foresters charge for their services, they work for you and are usually more responsive,” he says.
Stelzer offers these tips:
1. Educate yourself and know what you have to sell. Read guides and talk with other woodlands owners in your area. MU Extension publication G5051, “Selling Timber: What the Landowner Needs To Know,” is available for free download at extension.missouri.edu/p/G5051. “While the information in this guide will not make you an expert, it will familiarize you with the overall process and some of the lingo used by both foresters and loggers,” Stelzer says.
2. Work with a professional forester. Call 877-564-7483 or go to www.callb4ucut.com/missouri. This free service will send a consulting forester to your property to give an initial assessment. If they determine you have a potential sale, you can hire them or you may contact a Missouri Department of Conservation forester. Either forester will identify which trees to harvest based on your overall objectives and the financial and biological maturity of trees in the sale area. They will also determine the potential value of the sale based on species, merchantable volume and quality.
3. Find a trained logger. The Missouri Forest Products Association lists professional timber harvesters by county at www.moforest.org/loggers. “Insist at a minimum that the logger you hire has completed the association’s Professional Timber Harvester Program,” says Stelzer. “Better yet is for the logger to have earned their Missouri Master Logger certification. Your professional forester helps you with this as part of their services.”
4. Know how to report your sale to the IRS. “Managing Your Timber Sale Tax,” at extension.missouri.edu/g5056, has guidance on how to report the sale of your trees to minimize your tax liability.
For more resources, visit MU Extension’s Missouri Woodland Steward website at muext.us/WoodlandSteward.