Farmers and woodland owners have opportunities to generate income from their woodlands.
by Rich Taber
CCE Chenango has received a grant from the New York Farm Viability Institute “Increased Farm Viability and Diversification through Value Added Forest Products”. The impetus for this project was due to the fact that 66% of New York Farms (23,576) have large amounts of forest land, which add significantly to the purchase prices and tax burdens, and yet less than 2,000 farms use their forest land to generate significant income. 60% of New York’s 30 million acres (about 18 million acres) are covered with forests, and most of this land is owned by private forest landowners, with a good share of that owned by farmers. Much of this land has the potential to generate income, but is currently underutilized. The purpose of this project is to help farmers and landowners become more profitable and diversified by developing value-added forest (woodland) enterprises that complement existing farm operations and which can generate more than $10,000 per year. It is acknowledged that many forest owners own their woodlands for a diversity of values, such as hunting, hiking, bird watching, aesthetics, cross country skiing, and innumerable other activities. Sometimes these same properties can be encouraged to produce goods and services that will return income to the owners. With the right mindset and efforts, a viable woodland business can generate income, which will contribute to local economies and lower the chances of having to sell off land due to onerous ownership costs.
The value added products that are encouraged are maple sap and syrup products, firewood, saw timber and sawmilling production, and woodland cultivated mushrooms. Possibilities for other potential forest value added products will be considered as well.
To achieve the goals of this project the following activities will take place:
- Presentations will be given to farmers across the state to introduce them to farm-compatible forest enterprises that can gross more than $10,000 a year. $10,000 is the minimum gross income level that is required to be generated per year in order for farms to be eligible for property tax reductions.
- Videos will be produced on forest income-producing enterprises and posted to the internet and social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Cornell Cooperative Extension Websites.
- The project is developing a Forest Value Added Business Plan Template, and will provide one-on-one help for farmers/landowners who are developing plans for a value-added forest product enterprise. Separate plans for specific enterprises to include maple sugaring, saw timber/sawmilling, firewood production, and agroforestry enterprises are being developed.
NEW YORK STATE WOODSMEN’S FIELD DAYS
Boonville Oneida County Fairgrounds
ROUTE 294 BOONVILLE, NEW YORK
Annually held the third full weekend in August, Rain or Shine
Dates for 2017 are August 18, 19 and 20
More information will be developed soon regarding this exciting project. New York State’s forest resources are always at the risk of being sold and subdivided for development. This project aims to keep the landscape in forests by providing farmers and landowners with viable income-generating possibilities. Anyone desiring more information on this project should feel free to contact the author. We will also be soliciting landowners who may already have established viable woodland businesses to be interviewed and filmed for our video production component. An excellent place to mingle with other successful woodland business owners is at the New York State Woodmen’s Field Days, held each year in Boonville, NY. See the sidebar for more information on this event. Other excellent places for woodland information can be found at the New York Forest Owners Association website, www.nyfoa.org, and the Cornell Forestry site, http://blogs.cornell.edu/cceforestconnect, or http://cornellforestconnect.ning.com.
Rich Taber, M.S., M.S.F., is Grazing, Forestry, and Ag Economic Development Specialist with CCE Chenango. He lives on a farm in Madison County with his wife Wendy where they enjoy a variety of amenities from their 100 acre woodlot. 607-334-5841 ext. 21 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.