Southern Forestry Consultants serves as the landowner’s agent in the sales process. That is an important distinction, because our fiduciary responsibility is to you and you alone. While we do business with mills, timber buyers, and loggers, we do not consider them our clients or our fiduciaries. Our role as agent is exclusive, and in that role we perform many of the following services on every timber sale we perform:
1. Know the assets we are selling. It is important that we are intimately familiar with your trees, your property, and your goals. In order to conduct the process we must know the products that are to be sold and in what quantity, so we do the fieldwork necessary to understand those details.
2. Monitor the markets. We understand the products that are used by all the mills in the wood drain area of your property. We also need to be able to predict both upturns and downturns in prices so you will be able to best schedule the sale.
3. Prepare an invitation to bid package that is delivered to the timber buyers in the area. This package gives the potential buyers all the information they will need to visit the site and determine what trees are for sale, where the access points are, where the sale boundaries are, etc.
4. Conduct the bid opening as specified in the invitation to bid package. At a specified date, time, and location all bids are opened.
5. Analyze the results. We use our knowledge of the products and amounts of each that will be cut, along with the prices received from each buyer, to determine which buyer will ultimately cut the most money for the landowner.
6. Prepare a timber sale agreement. The agreement will specify all the details of the sale and will protect the landowner from unscrupulous activities by the buyer.
7. Conduct a pre-cutting conference. All terms and conditions of the sale are carefully reviewed with the buyer and the logger prior to commencement of logging to reduce the chances of problems in the actual harvest of the timber.
8. Monitor the cutting. We visit the site routinely to ensure compliance with all provisions of the agreement including proper utilization of the trees, compliance with Best Management Practices, and protection of trees that are not harvested.
9. Review of settlements and payments. We ensure through our Timber Security System that all settlements received from the buyer are complete, accurate, thorough, and timely. Mistakes are made from time to time, but our system catches mistakes and ensures that they are corrected.
10. Conduct a post-cutting conference. Deficiencies are identified before the logger leaves the sale area and remedial actions are agreed to so the landowner’s property will be left in as good a condition after logging as it was in before logging began. A performance bond, issued by the buyer, can be used in whole or part to hire outside contractors if the situation cannot be corrected by the buyer or logger.
We continually monitor the markets, staying abreast of information on prices, demand for timber products, and on changes in mill specifications that may affect the total value of your timber. Once the landowner’s needs or goals are determined, we use our knowledge of the market place to schedule the sale of your timber to maximize income through the best utilization of the trees. It is often not just the highest per ton price that determines the best overall outcome, rather it is the price per ton, mill specifications, and mill destinations that ultimately combine to determine the best financial outcome of the sale.
Timber sales are the culmination of a process that includes many years of tree growth, investment in cultural practices, and monitoring of biological and economic conditions. As your agent, Southern Forestry Consultants makes sure that your sale and harvest experience are worth all those efforts. The sales are either selective cuttings in which the poorly performing trees are removed to allow the best trees more room to grow, or they are the final harvest of trees that have reached biological or financial maturity. Either way, the major focus of SFC is to marry the biological needs of the stand of timber with financial success in the market place.