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The Great Outdoors:

A new approach to selling timber

Saturday, October 20, 2007 11:57 PM CDT

Bowling Green Daily News

Farm Manager next to high quality veneer white oak

"Because of the competition that I create, the price is phenomenal compared to if you just go out and sell it yourself," Bobby Warwick explained to me as we surveyed the hillside overlooking the slow-moving Green River.

With each slight gust of wind, the towering white oak Bobby and I stood under would shower down a few chocolate-colored acorns from high within the old tree’s canopy.

"This tree is worth two thousand dollars," Bobby announced while using the squirt can he kept holstered like an old Colt to paint a giant, blue "V" indicating the ancient oak as veneer grade. "But most (landowners) have not a clue what it is worth."

After earning a degree in forestry from the University of Kentucky and then spending a five-year stint with the Kentucky Division of Forestry, Bobby came to the realization that there had to exist a superior system for the marketing of timber. Despite being one of our state’s top industries, he noticed that very few private landowners knew what their trees were worth when the time came to sell.

Thus was born Warwick Consulting Forestry Services. On the day

I visited, Bobby was taking inventory and marking the most desirable timber on a very small, pre-arranged portion of a very large tract of woodland, with the intentions of meeting a net dollar amount set by the landowners without cutting more acreage than necessary.

"It’s a service that I’d say the majority of forested landowners don’t know about because most timber in Kentucky is still sold on shares," Bobby says.

Using his own keen eye, along with a Biltmore stick, measuring tape and handful of other tools, Bobby measures and writes down data in a journal from every single tree he marks so that he has a fairly accurate idea of how many board feet is being offered when the collection of selected trees is placed for sale.

"Timber is like a farm; it is a crop. When you go to sell your soybeans or corn you know how many bushels you’ve got." Bobby relates. "Before you sell your timber, wouldn’t you think the smartest thing would be to know your footage?"

Essentially, Bobby’s service takes the risk and uncertainty out of the seller’s hands, while at the same time creates a top-dollar bidding arena for the prospective buyers who will eventually harvest and haul away the logs.

Following an inventory of a property’s preferred species, Bobby sends out dozens of flyers to timber buyers, who then decide how much they are willing to pay for the lot of standing trees.

His method generates more money for the owner of the timber, simply because of the large number of willing buyers he contacts.

"The best part about this is that you are paid for your timber before a single tree is cut," Bobby says, whereas on the ever-popular share system, the trees are cut, hauled, and sold before any money ever reaches the landowner’s hands.

In addition to the up-front payment, Bobby adds, "It puts the power with the landowner, and if the timber doesn’t get a (satisfactory price) we can reject all bids and try to sell the timber at some other time. This way his trees aren’t cut and laying there, they are still standing."

One thing that Bobby is quick to point out is that harvesting timber is not necessarily a bad thing.

"Not only am I out here selling timber, I am trying to do it properly," he says. "I like to manage it so that there is going to be an ongoing diversity in the woods while also managing for our high-dollar species."

By putting a new twist on an old business, Bobby is aiding landowners and keeping the woods productive for continued use by both the wildlife that inhabit them and the folks that enjoy spending time in them.

For more information about Bobby’s services, log on to www.warwickforestryservices.com or call 792-2402.

— Geordon T. Howell is the outdoors columnist for the Daily News. He can be reached by e-mailing highbrasshowell@yahoo.com.

To read this story online click on the link below



Selling timber a tricky business

By Pam Cassady-Staff Reporter pamcndl@bellsouth.net

Logan County News Democrat


When landowners decide to sell timber from their land, they usually do it because they want to make money. However, if they aren't well informed, they could end up not making as much as they could.

"Landowners are losing lots of money," said Bobby Warwick, a consulting forester based out of Bowling Green.

Warwick said he has many examples of instances where landowners are offered a price that is much lower than what their timber is actually worth.

Warwick said he once worked with a man who was planning to sell his timber for about $40,000.

"I told him, ‘If somebody will give you $40,000, there's somebody who will give you more,'" Warwick recalled.

The man ended up selling his timber for over $100,000.

As a consulting forester, Warwick works with landowners to help them get the best price possible for their timber. Although he said many in the timber industry are honest, reputable businesses, it is easy to take advantage of people. Most landowners have no idea what the timber on their land is worth and don't know how to find out. But finding out what you have before you sell it is important.

"You've got to know how many board feet you have," Warwick said. If you don't, "It's like trying to sell your house and not knowing how many bedrooms, bathrooms and such that you have."

Warwick, who has a degree in forestry from the University of Kentucky, said his job is to promote proper timber management and help landowners get the most out of their timber.

When Warwick is hired by a landowner, he will first do a walk-through on the land and point out the kinds of timber they have and begins to estimate how much of each kind they have. Knowing how much timber is actually on a piece of property is extremely important, as is knowing what kinds of timber you have.

Warwick said he usually encourages landowners to do a selective harvest instead of clear cutting. He will often point out that allowing trees to grow for longer is advantageous in the long run.

"My mission is to help landowners manage their timberlands for today and the future while at the same time obtaining the highest price possible for their timber," Warwick said. "In the end, the landowner always wins."

"I have a passion about it," he added.

Warwick said he hates to see people taken advantage of and remembers a poor woman who took $8,000 for what was worth around $50,000.

When selling timber, it is important to be aware of the market as well. A landowner may not want to harvest a certain species if prices of that timber are down. They might be better off waiting. Warwick helps landowners consider these issues as well.

When Warwick is hired as a consultant and to help sell timber, he stays involved through the whole process, even monitoring the logging process.

Timber is the number two industry in the state of Kentucky and it is a growing business in Logan County.

"Logan County is a great county for timber harvesting," Warwick said. "This is a county that grows a lot of good timber."

To read this story online click the link below


Marked Timber

Bobby Warwick * 5561 Woodburn Allen Springs Rd *
Bowling Green * KY * 42104
Phone: (270) 792-2402