Logging land.

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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,800
Northern NH
The Amish and Menonites are buying in Maine as they find cheap farmland out on the fringes of modern civilization that no one else wants.

A standard comment is folks from Northern NH and Maine are not very friendly to folks moving into the area "from away" The normal response is give the folks "from away" a winter or two and see if they are still there in the spring. Not worth investing time in them until you know they are going to hang around. I thought it was a joke but I have seen it in person several times over the years. Folks move up in the late spring, fall in love with the area until fall, manage to occupy themselves during the holidays and then live January thru March and decide to go elsewhere. The sign goes up in early April and the cycle repeats.

Maine does grow trees but they grow slower than down south as Maine has 5 months of winter. This is fine if you want tight grain for newsprint but not so good if you want fast growth for 2 by 4s that warp once you cut the straps on the bundles although the local sawmill near me is expanding almost every year making dimensional lumber with local spruce/fir. It all depends on if there if is or isnt a tariff on Canadian lumber. I think sawmils out east compete with each other on either side of the border but reportedly western canada mills can undersell US mills big time.

Maine spruce/fir is supposedly better for making the new wooden beams for midrise commercial construction for carbon sequestration. Lots of companies have announced plants but they are all waiting to see if the government subsidizes wooden construction materials for carbon sequestration.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,441
Downeast Maine
I think a lot of the local folks here didn't think we would hang around. Each winter gets a little bit easier, but mud season is still my least favorite season.
 

Nealm66

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2020
1,132
Western Washington
I wonder how well Alaskan yellow cedar would grow there? Used to be very high dollar stuff to the Chinese. Stinky when you cut it. Ran about $15-$20,000 a truck load back in the late 80’s early 90’s
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,800
Northern NH
A big chunk of Northern Maine is owned by Irving Papers who owns a big chunk of New Brunswick province. They have extensive R&D on what grows best on their timberlands. I think they are sticking with spruce but a monoculture genetically selected version grown in a tree farm.
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,318
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Maine does grow trees but they grow slower than down south as Maine has 5 months of winter. This is fine if you want tight grain for newsprint but not so good if you want fast growth for 2 by 4s that warp once you cut the straps on the bundles although the local sawmill near me is expanding almost every year making dimensional lumber with local spruce/fir. It all depends on if there if is or isnt a tariff on Canadian lumber. I think sawmils out east compete with each other on either side of the border but reportedly western canada mills can undersell US mills big time.

I didn't realize we had such a big advantage out here, but after reading all the posts on here it makes sense. I can see where mills would have a tough time sourcing timber from small tracts, especially if privately owned.

Our mills have been doing very well, and are continually undergoing upgrades and expansion, including the pulp mill that uses chips from the sawmills. The profitability has to do with the access to timber, our 2 local sawmills (Weyerhauser and Canfor) combined have 4.35 million acres of timber land (equivalent to 19% of Maine). Land that is owned by the provincial government which these companies are given exclusive rights to harvest. There are royalties to be paid, but very little compared to paying a private land owner. The scale of these mills is impressive, and the size of the log decks cut every winter is staggering, yet with all that land the mills are still able to operate sustainably on ~80 year cycles.

I hear you on undercutting US mills. To illustrate the point, we have local trucking companies that are hauling lumber from the local mills down to Texas, a 7 day round trip, because this is more cost effective for the buyer than sourcing domestic US lumber.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,800
Northern NH
Crown land is usually one the items that comes up when imported lumber tariffs are discussed.
 

Nealm66

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2020
1,132
Western Washington
I was working in the west coast old growth when the spotted owl and all these other critters basically shut it down. I was told Weyerhaeuser was a huge lobbyist for a lot of it and other things before they sold most of they’re holdings here and moved to Canada. Well played. In the long run, I’m glad now to see the set back’s from the creeks and streams and such. It never slowed the logging down, just created some well needed regulations. I’ve heard Canada is a lot less regulated. All this was logger gossip so with a grain of salt
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,800
Northern NH
Weyerhaeuser bought Plum Creek which owns a big block of land in Maine. Plum Creek spent a lot of time getting permits to sell off some lakefront developments on Moosehead lake in Maine but when Weyerhauser bought the land they handed back the permits.
 

mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
727
ontario
What are approximate land prices per acre in your area? Good farmland currently sells for 15-20 thousand an acre near me (clay) An hour north where it's good loam sells 25-30 thousand an acre.
Here we don't have many pure Woodlot parcels. 4 hours north there is more than you could want (Canadian shield) but I'm not exactly sure of there worth.
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,318
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
What are approximate land prices per acre in your area? Good farmland currently sells for 15-20 thousand an acre near me (clay) An hour north where it's good loam sells 25-30 thousand an acre.
Here we don't have many pure Woodlot parcels. 4 hours north there is more than you could want (Canadian shield) but I'm not exactly sure of there worth.

Brutal.

An untouched forest quarter section is about $2,500/acre here. A good quarter section of farmland for cereal crops here is $3,125/acre.

Anything subdivided into smaller parcels costs much more, being intended for houses. An acreage lot with water, power, gas and telephone to the property line is $100k/acre.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,441
Downeast Maine
I'm glad our alpacas make good quality compost at those land prices for loamy soil!
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,845
Northern Maine
Weyerhaeuser bought Plum Creek which owns a big block of land in Maine. Plum Creek spent a lot of time getting permits to sell off some lakefront developments on Moosehead lake in Maine but when Weyerhauser bought the land they handed back the permits.
The PC zoning was a joke when it started and it didn’t take off for good reason. Weyerhaeuser handing them back was not a dumb move but the land use policies they have are not very friendly. My understanding is that their lands elsewhere are a lot more closed unlike Maine public use.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,800
Northern NH
Here is listing of various properties in NH and VT

Land for Sale - Fountains Land Fountains usually gets the intermediate lots,. Usually hobby lots too small to interest investors.

Big NH lots dont come up as often as the current use property tax laws in the state make it easy and cheap to hold large lots of forest and ag land. (there is timber tax due to the local municipality when wood is cut commercially. VT has far more difficult rules to get tax breaks on timber and AG. Miss a deadline and the tax bill could go up by a factor of 10 or more.

Landwatch Land for Sale, Farms and Ranches for Sale | LandWatch makes it pretty easy to search by state and has a lot of search options. IMO its the best option for Maine properties as the market in Maine acts like multiple markets. In my backyard of northern NH it catches most of the listings. My lot never made it on it.

The big lots usually get listed with Landvest Timberland Marketing | LandVest . They usually market million dollar plus lots

As I mentioned earlier, raw timberland in rural Northern New England is worth in the $600 range/acre from a long term investment perspective. Anything paid over that is for other attributes. If the woods are well stocked, the price will be higher as the buyer can do a cut to "buy" the price down until its at or below the $600 value. The problem is they are now sitting on unproductive wood land with negative cash flow for 30 to 70 years. Add in things like possible homesite and water frontage and that raises the value to the smaller buyer but the larger buyer is less interested as timber management near water bodies is difficult. A new wrinkle in the last 30 years is large timberland owners sell the perpetual development potential of these large properties and take on permanent forestry restrictions to government and non profits. This allows the buyers to buy on borrowed money and then pay back the loans by selling easements. Large owners can afford to hire the staff and fill out the paperwork to deal with the restrictions, but small landowners rarely can. Once an easement is sold that permanently reduces the long term value. The Yale retirement funds holdings, AKA Bayroot tend to sell the stuff with high ecological value and low timber value to land protection entities and then buy unencumbered raw forest land. They recently did that near me where they sold a bunch of riverfront and raw land they bought years ago for minimal dollars and turned around and bought several large blocks of cut over timberland for far less per acre.

The other new wrinkle is industrial level maple syrup production. Hedge funds play this game as they can use a closed syrup monopoly in Quebec province to make some very hefty profits by producing syrup well below the artificially high prices set by the monopoly. There is big block of sugar maples in Northwestern Maine along the Canadian border that are almost inaccessible from Maine that are managed by Canadian firms who play the same game. They do not have to sell to the monopoly ,yet they take advantage of things like free healthcare and ag subsidies to reduce their costs.

The newest wrinkle is selling carbon sequestration rights. California firms are buying these rights in Maine and VT. There is lot of PR about how it benefits everyone but documenting carbon sequestration is right up there with calculating the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. The easiest way way is buy cut over timberland and let it grow then agree to not cut it. Unfortunately Maine, Northern NH and part of VT are subject to periodic spruce budworm epidemics that wipe out the spruce and firs that dominate a lot of the timberland. Very similar to the bugs eating the trees out west, they wipe out stands quickly leaving hundreds of thousands of acres of dead trees. The only difference is the region is wetter than the west coast region. The last time if happened the state dosed the woods with all sorts of pesticides and did long term damage to the wildlife and the rural population, this time the state has told the landowner they will not allow this type of control. When there is big burn, all that carbon goes up in the atmosphere.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,800
Northern NH
The PC zoning was a joke when it started and it didn’t take off for good reason. Weyerhaeuser handing them back was not a dumb move but the land use policies they have are not very friendly. My understanding is that their lands elsewhere are a lot more closed unlike Maine public use.
That i probably another thing folks from outside the region may not understand. Much of New England's forest land and "great ponds" give the general public rights to access private land. and in particular public waters for certain purposes. Land can be posted but the rules are pretty difficult to follow and with respect to access to public waters its almost impossible (but many owners of land on great ponds and rivers try hard to bluff their way through it).
 

MTASH

Burning Hunk
Dec 24, 2018
186
Montana
This data is from 30 years ago when I lived in central Georgia. Plenty of farmers had gotten tired of plowing for corn, or their kids inherited and didn't want to farm at all.

The deal was, you got a 40 acre farm you plant it in Southern Yellow Pine. This is a prized tree and all the building supply places from Georgia to South Dakota stock pressure treated Southern Yellow Pine. It is uniquely strong wood, and it will take the pressure treating better than other woods.

I don't know how much it costs to plant 40 acres. Then, you wait 20 years, in which, you do nothing to your little forest. At 20 years you cut it, the pros come in and cut half or more of the trees, especially cutting the warped or weird looking trees, this is going for pulp wood.
Here again you do nothing the pros cut your trees. You get $1,000 an acre.

In 20 more years, you clear cut it and this is for timber. Once again, you get One Grand per acre, you do nothing except put the check in the bank.

How this would translate to Maine Yankee land I don't know. I guess SYP_wouldn't grow up there.
Plus, now that I think about it, demand for pulp wood must be down due to the collapse of printed newspapers.

The big box stores up here sell SYP. The problem is coming from the SE, it dries into corkscrews when it hits our arid climate. I've encountered this problem on two different remodel projects and now will only purchase regionally sourced lumber. But it does otherwise seem to be good lumber and it works well if you can get it installed immediately before it has a chance to dry out.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,800
Northern NH
SYP pressure treated had a bad rep for years in my area due to this twisting. It would start twisting the day the straps were cut on the bundle and most contractors had special pry bars and jigs to keep the boards straight when used for decking. It would rip out nails in a couple of years. Once folks went to coated deck screws, the problem went away. if they were put in straight.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,508
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I think a lot of the local folks here didn't think we would hang around. Each winter gets a little bit easier, but mud season is still my least favorite season.

Mud Season and Black Fly Season . . . and in many years the two seasons overlap. I detest those times of the year. The weather is starting to get nice, but you cannot go outside without being bit to death or getting mired in the mud.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,800
Northern NH
I actually can tolerate black fly season. I just net up and put up with them. Once i get above treeline they are far less of an issue. I find it correlates with mud season so it gives me an excuse to stay off the trails.
 
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Grizzerbear

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
1,238
SW Missoura
Correct me if I'm wrong but are these black flies called buffalo gnats also? We have those here in the ozarks and they are terrible in the summer.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,441
Downeast Maine
Black flies are a Northern thing. They breed and lay eggs in cold fast moving water and come out all at once right as it starts to get warm. These flies are very small but leave painful red bites. Instead of piercing an animal's skin for blood with a needle type appendage these flies just tear the skin open. Nasty little beasts. I don't do anything outside without a noseeum mesh hood or shirt during black fly season. I'm hoping our chickens help keep the numbers down this year.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,800
Northern NH
Black flies are trout food. They colder and cleaner the water the more black flies. In the backcountry in Maine they can swarm anything emitting CO2. DEET works to keep them from biting but they still swarm. Some people are allergic to the bites and they swell up big time. They are usually worst from mothers day to fathers day. The move out and the mosquitoes move in.
 
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Grizzerbear

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
1,238
SW Missoura

I looked at the mu extension website and our gnats are just called biting midges. They don't sound as bad as y'all's black flies......but they do drive you friggin nuts. Their bite isn't terribly painful but it will cause you to immediately swat at the area. The worst part about them is they litterally swarm every opening in your head lol. Bow season is terrible. It's interesting too because where i live is in a very hilly area, heavily forested, with springs in virtually every holler and they are thick here. Head 20 miles south west to buffalo where you get in the prairies and I never notice them.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,441
Downeast Maine

I looked at the mu extension website and our gnats are just called biting midges. They don't sound as bad as y'all's black flies......but they do drive you friggin nuts. Their bite isn't terribly painful but it will cause you to immediately swat at the area. The worst part about them is they litterally swarm every opening in your head lol. Bow season is terrible. It's interesting too because where i live is in a very hilly area, heavily forested, with springs in virtually every holler and they are thick here. Head 20 miles south west to buffalo where you get in the prairies and I never notice them.
There are also biting gnats here. Locals call them noseeums, we just called them gnats wen I lived in the south. Seems they always go for my eyes, where the sweat comes out of the bottom of my hat on my forehead and my mouth. I can't honestly say the bugs are any worse here than they were in the rural areas of the south I've lived in, just different.
 
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