8: Marketing Timber

FAQ: Marketing Timber

1. I know the buyer I plan to have harvest my timber. Why do I need a written timber sale contract?
Answer: Substantial amounts of money and property values may be involved in timber sales. A written contract should detail what the seller and the buyer have agreed about how a timber sale will occur. This will substantially reduce the possibility of misunderstandings and disagreements and provide both parties with legal protection as agreed to by the terms and conditions of the contract. Contracts will also spell out remedies in the event of a dispute.
2. My buyer has a timber sale contract. Should I use it?
Answer: Your forester should have a sample contract. When a timber buyer offers you a contract, consider it a starting point. Examine the contract carefully to be sure it reflects your understanding of the agreement and includes all of your concerns. In some instances, the buyer’s contract may need only a few additions or modifications to meet your needs. In other instances, the buyer’s contract may be totally unacceptable or may need major revision.
3. What should I do if the buyer does not have a timber sale contract or it is unacceptable to me?
Answer: Develop a mutually acceptable written contract. Search “timber sale contract” on the internet to learn more about provisions to include in a contract and to locate a sample contract. You can also consult with an attorney who is familiar with timber-sale transactions.
4. How do I select a buyer?
Answer: There are many things to consider before selecting a buyer. Your forester can offer advice about the desirability of potential buyers.
5. How much does it cost to involve a forester in my timber sale?
Answer: A forester will generally charge either a flat fee per hour or a percentage of timber sale receipts. Their fee is in the range of 13 – 15 percent of receipts.
6. If I already know the logger I would like to work with, why involve a forester?
Answer: Most landowners harvest timber only a few times in their lives while most loggers buy and sell timber daily. This almost always puts the less experienced landowner at a disadvantage when selling timber. A forester, who regularly plans and administers timber sales, will bring experience and knowledge on behalf of the landowner. A forester is also able to help the landowner achieve multiple ownership goals like receiving a fair price for the timber and also promoting good regeneration and reducing soil erosion.
7. Can I ask my buyer to do additional things once a contract has been signed?
Answer: Yes. Once an agreement on the terms has been reached with the buyer, create and sign a written addendum to the contract.  A change in the conditions of the contract could change the price you will receive for your timber.
8. What can I do on my property once I have signed a contract with my buyer?
Answer: Once you sign the contract you are restricted from some activities on your land until the wood has been harvested and removed. For example, additional road building or widening that might impact the quantity or quality of the timber cannot be done within the designated timber sale area until after the job is complete because it could impact the timber that has already been sold.


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Woodland Stewardship: A Practical Guide for Midwestern Landowners, 3rd Edition Copyright © 2019 by University of Minnesota Extension is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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