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What to do?

Don Staples dstaples at livingston.net
Fri Aug 21 09:09:53 EST 1998

ddd wrote:
> Aloha:
> Been reading in the background for a few days to get the
> feel of this newsgroup.  It appears to be pretty much on
> target with some spam, but several knowledgable folks
> contributing.

Being an old Mizzou boy, thought I would  take a shot at answering some
of your questions.
> Which brings me to my question.  My wife and I are tossing
> around the idea of buying some land (in southern Missouri)
> and planting some trees for our retirement.  We're in our
> mid 30's now and hoping to retire around 60.  Our questions
> are:
> 1. Is this approach (buy land, manage it loosely for ~20
> years, then harvest) financially sound?  Would we do better
> by sticking our retirement $ in CDs or would the potential
> future timber sales offer a greater return?

Yes, financially sound in that you gain from growth, inflation, an ever
retreating land base, and from the pure pleasure of owning land.  Timber
will remain to have value, some more than other species.  The point is
that the land will dictate what your future income is going to be.  Can
you get good bottom land  that will grow high quality walnut, black
cherry, and other high value furniture hard woods? Or are you looking at
some of the rock bottom hard scrabble ozark land that raises thickets of
cedar, and little more?
> 2. If this approach offers significant returns over other
> savings/investment methods, what trees should we consider
> planting, realizing that it'd be 15-20 years before we even
> consider starting to harvest?

You can look at as gaining from growth plus infaltions, which on decent
land will be any where from 8 to 20 percent, depending on species and
site, and inflation rate.  One of the things to determine what is
necessary is to check out the land before your purchase.  Get a soil
survey, have a forester or one of the Natural REsource Agencies.
Unfortunatley, Missouri does not have a strong Consulting Forester
business class.  Fortunately, they have one of the better state forestry
operations.  Locate your local conservation office (each county will
probably have an office).  Hopefully, you can find a tract that has some
established forest and not start from scratch.  But, buying land is like
buying a used car, you can buy some one elses troubles, check it in
depth before the finale purchase.
> 3. Can you point me to any good readings on the financial
> aspects of tree farming?

Check with the U of Mo at:  http://www.missouri.edu/~afta/afta_home.html
for a source of published data. 
Either there or: http://www.conservation.state.mo.us/
for the state agency.
> I realize you may have seen these questions innumerable
> times, if so point me to the NG FAQ and I'll retrieve some
> data from there.  Thanx for your patience and I look forward
> to your responses.\

Archieves for bionet.agroforestry is located at: 
One of the Missouri Foresters on line is Susan112 at: Susan112
<Susan112 at aol.com>.  Her office is in the Missouri River portion of the
state, but she can refer you to the office nearest the area you are
interested in.  She is currently on family leave, so it may take a while
for her to respond.  

If you get into some real specific forestry questions, feel free to
e-mail me, or talk to the foresters here.  We may not agree on
everything, but we can usually point you in the right direction for your
local answer.

Don Staples
UIN 4653335

Web Offerings:  http://www.livingston.net/dstaples/

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