Forestlands can offer much more than just hunting opportunities and timber income

Developing and expanding various Natural Resource Enterprises on properties can increase income while at the same time continuing to provide recreational enjoyment of the ownership.

Forest grown ginseng under cultivation in W. Upper Peninsula, Michigan. Photo credit: Mike Schira l MSU Extension
Forest grown ginseng under cultivation in W. Upper Peninsula, Michigan. Photo credit: Mike Schira l MSU Extension

Far too often, forest landowners consider logging or timber sales as their only income option on their ownerships. There is nothing wrong with having a good sustainable forest management plan in place. Woodland owners may, however, want to start considering other possible endeavors to generate income from their properties.

Unless someone owns a considerable sized ownership (acreage), income from harvest timber is periodic. In Michigan sustainably managed selective harvests in hardwood stands usually generate income every 10 to 20 years. Significant income from even age-managed stands, like pine or aspen, in most situations will stretch that income period out even further. Identifying enterprise ventures from natural resource assets will potentially generate annual income from properties making for a more even cash flow.

With property taxes, repairs, snow removal and other expenses accumulating on an annual basis, it is to the landowner’s advantage to cultivate annual income in addition to the periodic income they may be currently settling for.

Enterprises can be various business activities that range from utilizing products already established on the property to cultivation and propagation of new products. Promotion of pay to hunt or eco-tourism opportunities on ownerships could also be interesting as well as profitable natural resource based ventures.

Some annual enterprise opportunities are more common place; firewood or tapping maples for syrup production for example. Others may be less common, for instance harvesting wild mushroom or growing ginseng. Soil types, marketing availability, available investment assets, size of ownerships may all be barriers to some projects however some projects however some new options are probably available for most landowners to consider.

Michigan State University Extension based on a template developed by Mississippi State Forestry University is offering a training workshop designed for resource professionals to help identify and develop Natural Resource Enterprise opportunities for the landowner clients they are working with. The program if being offered on October 7, 2014 in Gaylord, Michigan, and interested parties can get additional information or register online through the MSU Extension Events Management System.

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