Not Outta The Woods: Timber Investing in North Carolina
I was on a plane connecting through Philadelphia a few years ago when I couldn’t help but overhear the loud complaint of a fellow passenger about leaving Raleigh, North Carolina. She actually said, “Finally! I am so glad to leave this place…I couldn’t find anything while driving because of all the trees!” My thought: I am sure glad you’re leaving – and, please, don’t come back until you learn how to use a GPS. Can I get an amen???
I looked at her in disgust and opened my mouth. The angel on my right shoulder slapped my mouth shut. Apparently, no one else in the civilized world agrees with her because THEY ARE ALL MOVING TO RALEIGH.
It is true that the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area has earned the jingle “Trees, Trees & PhD’s” for a reason. Not only do we have more PhD’s per square mile than any other metro area in the country, we have preserved as many trees and forests as we can in our more urban areas – through some considerable effort. We do love our trees, and we pay the price every time a big storm blows through. We see it as an investment.
And indeed it is a true financial investment, both in the more immediate sense of farmers’ income and in the long-term sense of investing in natural resources to reap the dividends of higher quality of life. Tree farmers and forestry managers today undeniably embrace the business practices of their cube farm compadres. They have to – just to survive. Timber investing, however, is quite a different animal from traditional agricultural farms. We’re not just talking about Christmas tree farms – people see them as florists, just with really big flowers to ship about once a year – but about entire industries positively affected by timber farm operations.
First, most tree farmers are land owners. Land owners pay property taxes and contribute to the community good by doing their share to manage and maintain their properties. Land ownership in North Carolina can still be quite affordable, making timber land investing an attractive addition to any portfolio. But there’s more to timber investing than just ownership.
Second, tree farmers hire people. A forestry management team usually helps the land owner create and mobilize a plan that will maximize timber production, including everything from which seedlings to plant and how to plant them, to where to put fire lanes across their properties and how to construct those roads, to when and how to thin and then harvest, to how to do this on a rotating basis. That’s a good chunk of knowledge right there. Then there are the actual crews of people who help implement the plan and do this work. There are accountants and bankers involved with helping you with your taxes and investments each year as they relate to your overall strategy. Again, this process means there are timber jobs, not just timber farms.
Third, tree farmers provide symbiotic habitat for wildlife. A whole ecosystem finds stability when there’s a place to call home, seek shelter, and find food. For the outdoor enthusiast – whether you’re a bird watcher, pharmaceutical researcher or a deer hunter – the forest is where you find your flora and fauna. The forest-dependent industries provide even more jobs, attract more visitors and residents, and invite more ground-breaking research. Which leads me back to all those PhD’s. Timber investing, especially in North Carolina, truly pays off … no matter which way you cut it. (Okay, pun intended, I admit.)
Clearly whether you are investing in timber land in North Carolina because you are already a tree farmer, or whether you are moving here from Pennsylvania, or New York, or California, Canada, China, Russia…well, buying timberland in one of the most beautiful states in the Union can be one of your smartest moves ever.
Legacy Farms and Ranches has one of the largest inventories of timber investment properties on the market in North Carolina and can package a property portfolio for you that matches your investment goals. Call us today for details: 919-749-3177.