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public forests vs private landowners using a forestry cooperative to sell timber?

 
Wesley johnsen
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what do you think is best public forests vs private landowners using a forestry cooperative to sell timber? i like the idea of small woodland owners using a forestry cooperative to sell their wood products and have all the land protected with conservation easements. what is a good amount of land to make a good living from selling timber from a forestry cooperative? hear is a good organization link.

http://www.familyforests.org/

http://nextgenwoods.com/blue_ridge_forest_landowner_coop.htm
 
Travis Johnson
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As a large landowner, most of which is in woodland, I am not a big fan of the so called land protections and easements that abound out there, and for a lot of reasons. On the surface they do sound great, but there is a lot of fine print that gets taken out of the conversation when they are urging you to sign on the dotted line.

First off, there is no true Forever Farms or easements. Near me there was a school and on one side was a field ready to go for a subdivision and on the other a farm that was put under easement. The ink was not even dry when the school decided they wanted to expand and so rather than take the subdivision which had a much higher cost, yep they took the farm that had an easement (we call them Forever Farms here). Within a week hundreds of applications for Forever Farms were withdrawn here; we could see what happened; they could not back up what they said.

Even then it is not surprising because under the fine print, a farm protected by easement can still have a few acres taken out and sold off to "help in the finances of the forever farm". In other words they still have the rights to sell house lots off that farm...granted not hundreds of them, but that is certainly not what the landowner had in mind when they went with an easement (Forever Farm).

Finally there is actually a "fee" that the landowner must pay. To me this is ridiculous because at the rate landowners are currently losing our rights to land we pay property taxes on every year, to pay a fee so that we lose more of them just seems crooked...and for a promise they cannot back up since they can subdivide house lots and have land taken cheaply by eminent domain! You have to look at landownership like having a big bundle of sticks in your hand. Every stick represents a landowners right. It may be water rights. It may be timber rights. It may be mineral rights. It may be the right to build, etc, etc, etc. What an easement does (or Forever Farm) they take some of those rights away, but you (and this is where it gets crazy) has to pay to have them taken away for an annual fee. Something is fishy in that, but that is what happens when a team of attorneys and former politicians runs these program!

Myself; my land is well managed. I have an excellent forester who manages my woodlots for me, and with the USDA I have a Rotational Grazing Plan, Crop Rotation Plan, Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (manure plan) and Forest Management Plan all in place. With the exception of my house, no acre is unaccounted for in terms of soil, water and air conservation. When it all boils down, many organizations out there simply want to exist to help farmers, when the reality is, we just need more farmers and less people trying to help us...or claim they are. In the meantime they are stealing money from the till in the form of committees, studies and non-profit organizations.
 
Tyler Ludens
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That's really discouraging, Travis. I want to somehow protect our land in the future, but if land trusts really don't do that, there's not much point in joining one.
 
Travis Johnson
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Of course, we all do. I am a 10th generational farmer, and 14th if you go back to the Mayflower, so no one wants to protect what I have worked so hard for more than me. I mean what CEO wants to be the guy in charge when a 270 year old company goes bankrupt? It is the same for me; a lot of pressure really.

But when you smelt the gold and skim off the dross, what we are all left with is the ultimate fear; what happens when we die?

The smartest man to ever live struggled with this issue and fortunately wrote his thoughts down so that we can read it and draw from his conclusions. He was of course Solomon and he wrote a few books of the bible, but the Book of Ecclesiastics is where he tried his great 7 experiments and deduced they were all futile. It really is an intriguing book because it balances out life out and really puts it in perspective.

But that does not mean all hope is lost though.

Where I live, so many farms have gone under because the old farmers say, "My boy does not want to farm", but here is a truth I have always found to be true. Farming is like no other occupation, and someone in the family wants to take over the family farm and continue to farm. Now it might skip a generation, and it might be a cousin, nephew, grandson or son-in-law who wants to farm, rather than a son; but there is always someone willing to come along beside and take the reins. Why? Because when it is all said and done, and the coffin goes in the ground, it is the farmer that is the richest man of all. Some people get that last statement, and some do not.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Travis Johnson wrote:here is a truth I have always found to be true. Farming is like no other occupation, and someone in the family wants to take over the family farm and continue to farm.


Sadly that is not the case in my region. Farms and ranches are being broken up and sold for housing tracts. I like to believe this trend will be reversed, and maybe it will be if permaculturists can make farming more attractive to more people.
 
Travis Johnson
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Oh that happens here, but just because a farm is broken up does not mean some one in the family does not want to farm it.

I know of a man that had not children and sold his farm to the Amish. The ink was not even dry on the deed and he had a dozen people saying if he had only said something they would have bought his farm instead. I was one of them. It's sad...

My wifes Grandparent's are no better. They own a few acres in NH and being older in age with 3 daughters they just shrug their shoulders and say, "we'll die and let the kids fight over it." That is just not responsible land ownership. They are taking the easy way out. Next generational transfer is difficult, however it can be done. The problem is people often equate fair to being equal. That is not the case at all.

The greatest short story ever written deals with this very issue, but of course a lot of other moral issues as well, and that is the parable of the Prodigal Son found in the bible in Luke 15: 11-24. Many people stop where the youngest son returns to his father, but really the story continues with the oldest brother who is bitter against his younger brother for leaving, while he toiled away. Yet his father is unmoved. He is grateful that his youngest son returned. Period. End of story.

In my case I am not the eldest and broke from tradition in my family in that sense, however I have always farmed here even though the deed was in my father's name. My brothers and sisters did not get the family farm per se, but they get to use it. My brother, he needs firewood so he cuts it. Its fair; yes I got the farm (I did buy it though and not via inheritance) and yet he gets to cut firewood off it. Its a fair arrangement even though I got all of the farm instead of having each of us get 100 acre sections of it.
 
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