Monday, July 30, 2012

A Little About What We Do

We work with landowners every day on timber sales. Thought it might be a good idea to outline some of the procedural steps a landowner should go through with their forestry consultant when considering a timber sale.
The landowner should understand that numerous roles are played in the timber industry and many timber owners have been contacted by timber procurement professionals who work for companies who want to buy timber from the land owner. An ACF consulting forester works exclusively for land owners and has no conflicting interest as we sell timber and do not buy timber. Procurement foresters are trained, honorable professionals whose job description requires them to perform honestly in dealings with the public but they are paid to buy timber at a price that benefits their principal. ACF consultants represent the landowner in dealing with the forest industry professionals based on a fee that is negotiated with each landowner in a timber sale.
The first step should include a pre-sale inventory or assessment of the timber and an evaluation of logging access and property boundary verification. Legal access is a major factor that will make or break a timber sale effort. Ground and weather conditions have a major role in the sale planning phase.
After this preliminary step is completed the consultant will inform the land owner of the market conditions that influences the value of the products that are on the tract as well a developing a sale objective that is sound. The market conditions also includes the topography and terrain which greatly impacts the logging prospect as well as prices. Timing is critical in the decision to sell or delay a sale.
The next step, if all conditions are GO, includes the solicitation of bids from reputable buyers. This can be in the form of informal or formal bid solicitations. Once bids are obtained and an offer is accepted the contract phase or step is reached.
The consultant will prepare a contract with language that holds the landowner harmless from liability, backed by a certificate of insurance. The notarized contract defines the goals and objectives of the sale and other performance standards of the project. Upon closing the buyer will place on deposit a perfomance deposit to insure orderly contract compliance. When all logging, auditing of payments and Alabama Best Management Practices BMP'S have been performed the buyer's deposit will be returned, upon approval of the landowner.
The consultant's main role is to monitor the progress of the sale on a frequent basis to insure that the buyer is performing in compliance with the contract and that all loads and payments are accounted for.
The last phase of the sale is the post sale evaluation where the consultant evaluates the result of the operation in financial and biological terms and identifies future timber stand operations for sound forest management decisions to be made.
I am sure that I have not covered everything. If anyone has any comments, questions and or needs assistance in this area of forestry practice give us a call. We handle and manage sales in all of SW Alabama and in southern Mississippi.