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Author Topic: - The small logger is facing extinction -  (Read 4724 times)

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Offline BargeMonkey

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- The small logger is facing extinction -
« on: September 14, 2014, 03:49:31 am »
 Talked with a state forester the other day, and got comfirmation on the new policy with woodlots up our way on the state land. I bet there is 40,000 acres + - of state forest land by me within 20 mins drive either way of the house. They now are really only marking 150-200-250 acre sales, the small 20-30mbft and 100 cord sales are gone. The kicker in the whole deal is that alot of these sales are set up for "winter or frozen ground" with no weight restriction, other than that its 40k pounds max, which limits you even further on equipment selection. I see a few guys around cutting, but every year you see a few less, even the "con-artist" fly by night loggers are becoming less and less. I figured I would post this, I dont know how things are in other parts of the country but I see this as another way to get rid of the little guy, your forced to go big, CTL, or go home.
 Met with the forester on the woodlot im working right now, actually seemed like a decent guy, unfortunately until you sit down face to face with someone you dont really knkw what your getting. He confirmed the same thing, he said he is seeing more guys say the hell with it, and the guys who do stay in it go 848 or in that size to stomp the wood out. He was leery with me having a Timbco on this job because hes had some issues with guys making a mess, you should see the nice 28"+ cherry and hard maple im cutting around, but he seemed very satisfied so I can breathe easy. $6000 penalty per mbft that gets cut, or damaged due to negligence, that eats any profit in about 2-3 trees.

Offline timberlinetree

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2014, 04:41:58 am »
Seems to be the American way. Big box stores putting little guy out of biz. Many small dairy farms gobbled up by big factory farms. Not shure how long jd440,tj 200 series,tfc5 etc will be around but it's not forever. Seems like middle America is disappearing? It's either big or mirco. It will be tuff on the youth ( the ones that want to work) to own a small biz! Big biz had to start out small so they shouldn't be penalized for working hard to get to were they are. Maybe we need leadership that takes care of the people and not just big corporations. I'm not an economics guy and just my to cents but I don't like what I'm seeing out there.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2014, 05:05:45 am »
The smaller operators do OK locally from the "farm forestry" guys. That's conventional livestock farmers that plant smaller plantations on marginal parts of their land, gullies, riverbanks and hillsides that aren't suitable for grazing. With a bit of simple management they can produce good pine logs in ~25 years,  that then needs harvesting. Maybe only 5 or 10 acres, or a couple of thousand trees. The big companies aren't interested, but it's a dozens of truckloads and well worth harvesting for a smaller crew with a skidder and usually an excavator or bulldozer.

It's about having the infrastructure that supports this. The land owners, the loggers, the truckers, the mills. Miss out any of those and it doesn't work.

The larger companies have the huge plantations, dedicated crews with mechanised harvesting. Kaingaroa forest alone is over 700,000 acres that's harvested and replanted every 25-30 years. No time for small operators there.

Smaller operators, smaller blocks of forests.

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Offline HiTech

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2014, 05:53:38 am »
I agree with that BargeMonkey. I can remember when the State would sell you small firewood lots....25 cord. I think what happened is some Lawyers got involved and were afraid someone would sue the State if they got hurt cutting wood on State lands. They even set up a money grab...chainsaw school. I see where these big logging companies have been. Looks like an atom bomb went off. They have skid roads 40 plus feet wide. My skidder would turn circles on these roads and never touch the sides. lol I would love to be able to get the wood these big companies leave. I was at one sight this summer looking around...mostly for blackberries and just out of sight of the road I found about 9 thousand feet of logs or more just laying there. Looked like some sawlogs and would have made really good firewood. I have seen this a lot on these big jobs sights. They just leave hitches all over. One spot on state land they just clearcut about 25 acres and left it right there. Never hauled a single tree out. Yet they won't sell me firewood or let me clean these messes up. I am beginning to believe our whole state is corrupt in one way or another. It's all about who can grease whose pockets with the most grease. lol

Offline jwilly3879

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2014, 06:47:31 am »
Look at the Adirondacks, a 6+ million acre "PARK", about 1/2 privately owned and the rest owned by the state with a large portion where the trees are protected by the constitution and will never be harvested or even see a motorized vehicle. The private land is under the protection of the Adirondack Park Agency which requires permits for any activity outside the Towns. It took me over 3 years to get a permit to subdivide  17 acre lot into two parcels and they dictate what can be cleared for the houses. I should have cut the timber before applying.

Offline ga jones

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2014, 08:27:45 am »
There will always be small cut and skid operations in the appalatchen hard wood country.From southern ny to Kentucky.In my neck of the woods the the wood lots are getting smaller.As for the rest of the country I'm afraid your right.
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Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2014, 09:00:44 am »
In Texas the small logger is killing  himself, a good small logger is getting harder to find.  There is no restriction on equipment, yet, but the mills control who you sell to with contract arrangements.  Small loggers that can affiliate with a larger logger can haul under their contract, at a reduce price for the timber.  A small logger with integrity still has a place with private owners, the majority in Texas, but they end up shooting themselves in the foot with non payment, poor work ethics, and a hurry up job that causes more damage than benefit. 

My small logger retired, one truck, or more depending, one loader, and light tractor/dozers.  Perfect for small land owner tracts, and he was making money. 

I don't have the answer, and neither does the industry, hard work is not what today's youth is looking for in a job.

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Offline BargeMonkey

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2014, 09:52:52 am »
 I didnt mean to make it sound like its the end for everyone, but the guys in my area and north know exactly what im talking about. The private lots are there, ive got wood for 3yrs and havent even began to look, but I know some guys who dont know where the next check is coming from. I see the age gap when I go attend the "mandatory" yearly training, a few guys my age "30 + -" but most of the guys are 50-65 and they are at that point where they arent going to change, or throw down huge money for another 5-10yrs.
 I walked a state lot the other day, which someone unfortunately lost half way thru do to some problems. Quite a few piles of processed hardwood, laying there to rot, I bet I saw 5-6 forwarder loads and I didnt walk the whole thing. The state now is requiring at least 1 man on the job to be TLC certified, so there is no getting out of it down here. But, I will say the 1 day a year, and few added benefits we see make up for it. Anyway I figured it was good conversation, gotta stir the pot every once in a while.

Offline lopet

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2014, 10:06:35 am »
It's so sad, when you see all those little guys get pushed out of the way by the big outfits.  And when one of those big guys faces bankruptcy they get sucked up by a even bigger outfit.   I think , when all this s#$% hits the fan we might start all from scratch. And than cash might be trump.  I guess time will tell but I ve been wrong before. ;D 
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Offline Woodboogah

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2014, 03:39:07 pm »
I think about this often.  Down here, Southern NH, it is getting harder and harder to buy wood.  There are a few big outfits that buy lots for dirt cheap because they need to move wood.  I know from the business side of things moving wood means making money.  I see a lot of wood go through a chipper that could otherwise be sawlogs, yeah they may be on the smaller end but still that is money in the landowners pocket.  Production plays a big part, its easier and quicker to send a small sawlog through a chipper to meet a bio-mass quote then to cut it out.  They are very few young(er) guys in this area making a living in the woods.  I am getting by but by no means getting rich.  I came from the residential tree work side and would not go back.  The money was there along with more competition and headaches.  I have no intention on getting any bigger then me and a machine, it's simple, the overhead is low.  If the day comes when I cant fit into that market on lots where the big guys cant make a buck, then I am out and stick to losing money at farming, HA!  Good post Bargemonkey I look forward to hear what others have to say about their area
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2014, 05:19:53 pm »
There are some chainsaw-skidder guys around here. But I see more big guys than small guys. Just saw a bid in the paper,ctl and forwarder only.
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Offline smwwoody

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2014, 05:26:22 pm »
Not sure how this fits in here

I contract cut for one of the mills owned by one of the largest pallet manufactures in the world.  their forester is now starting to buy smaller and smaller timber sales.  the last 2 I cut for them were 10 acres.  this past week he just bought on that was 5.3 acres.  I told them my rate will have to go up to keep cutting these small tracts.  or they will have to come up with a flat rate to cover the moving cost.  these jobs have great timber on them but it costs too much to move all the time.
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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2014, 05:46:58 pm »
Around here (waldo county) there more small guys than big still but there's not very many guys in there 20,s and 30,s doing it anymore. I hope I can continue on for a good long time! I don't want to go fully mechanical because of the headaches that go along with it sometimes.  I wouldn't mind picking up a few more pieces as I can tho too make things go smoother but still be able to do it all myself provided I can't find any good help
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Offline Woodboogah

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2014, 06:16:20 pm »
Same here Mainelogger.  Help is plentiful, good help is another story!  I gave up looking it was costing me more money in time then what is was worth.  I know as I get older I am going to look for ways to keep my body in one piece.  Even now I try not to make to many moves that are unneeded.  I still learn something everyday, that is part of what I love about doing this. 
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Offline Maine logger88

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2014, 07:02:26 pm »
Yup I agree woodboogah, I have had some other real good help at times in the past but its hard to keep good guys cause I can't pay enough money its just not there. I have had a few bad ones too that make it harder than doing it myself. The kid that helps me now does a real good job but he's still in school so not full time. I also try too save as many steps as possible and keep getting a little better the more I do it. I wouldn't mind picking up a loader with a pull through and slasher eventually all in due time tho
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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2014, 08:08:29 pm »
And the BIG guys don't sell logs to small mills like me.
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Offline treeslayer2003

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2014, 08:30:28 pm »
meh, i see the small outfit doing better here........i am any way. many of the big 50 load a week guys have gone under. seems like we are leaning more toward selections like we used to.....although i am on a clearcut at the moment.....the feller buncher crowd don't or can't deal with over size wood or selections.

that said, at 42 i am starting to slow down a little bit, and there is no young guys picking up a saw. what few would don't give a crap about whats left, only how much they can make today.

Offline redprospector

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2014, 10:41:11 pm »
Around here the Forest Service catered to the "big mill" for years. They tailored timber sales for them, and it was hard to get any timber from the National Forest if you were a small outfit.
The Forest Service, and the "big mill" put most of the smaller mills out of business eventually. Then one day the "big mill" who was owned by a "bigger mill" somewhere else decided that it just wasn't worth the effort to stay in business in a small forest in the middle of a desert area. They closed the doors and left, never to be a milling operation again. The two small mills that they couldn't put out of business finally closed down (the owners are now in their 80's, and finally retired). Now the only place to sell logs are to a pallet mill over 100 miles away, at a price less than we used to get locally. Or you can sell to the Mexicans for an even more reduced rate. They will prepare the logs for export, and if you haven't got your money before they're gone, you very well could be out of luck.
There are a few portable band saws around operating, but they are mostly owned by the "die hard" loggers who are left trying to hang on to their lifestyle, and the lives they have built over the last many years.
Considering all of this, the USFS is still putting out timber sales designed for a "large mill" and most of us just can't handle them. We could cut them, but then what do we do with the timber? So these sales become unprofitable for the USFS, and become fewer and farther between. As a result, in the Desert Southwest the forest fires become more and more catastrophic due to the lack of removing any fuel.
It just goes on, and on.
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Offline nhlogga

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2014, 02:41:37 am »
I think about this often.  Down here, Southern NH, it is getting harder and harder to buy wood.  There are a few big outfits that buy lots for dirt cheap because they need to move wood.  I know from the business side of things moving wood means making money.  I see a lot of wood go through a chipper that could otherwise be sawlogs, yeah they may be on the smaller end but still that is money in the landowners pocket.  Production plays a big part, its easier and quicker to send a small sawlog through a chipper to meet a bio-mass quote then to cut it out.  They are very few young(er) guys in this area making a living in the woods.  I am getting by but by no means getting rich.  I came from the residential tree work side and would not go back.  The money was there along with more competition and headaches.  I have no intention on getting any bigger then me and a machine, it's simple, the overhead is low.  If the day comes when I cant fit into that market on lots where the big guys cant make a buck, then I am out and stick to losing money at farming, HA!  Good post Bargemonkey I look forward to hear what others have to say about their area

I see the same things you do. I got out. I subbed for other guys. Had enough. By the time ai took out my taxes I may as well work @ wal mart. I took a job at a ware house running a fork lift. It's less than 5mi from home. I clear more money than I ever did working in the woods for anybody.
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Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: - The small logger is facing extinction -
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2014, 04:52:02 am »
I agree with everything said so far. But a lot of you saying "young guys" can't or won't do the work is not the problem here. Being a "young guy" that wants to log I see no problem getting equipment, the hard work I already do for the boss and  even getting wood is not so much of an issue. Paying for the wood is the issue. Not that stumpage is sky high wich it's growing but anymore if you don't have the cash to pay up front u don't get the job. It takes anywhere from $20-200,000 to buy a good job. On the other hand I see my boss buy $5-10,000 private wood lots for $3,000 because for one no one wants to cut them being so small and the fact the land owner will take a third less just to get cash in hand. You need years of cash built up or a line of credit to buy wood. And the banks don't like giving it out without something in return. We just moved to a state sale that has 8 units! Why! 7 acres a peice that's why! Really! Now something like that I could have possibly bought but it's regrowth aspen. Hard to make production with a skidder and chainsaw with three stick 12" dbh wood. It's frustrating to see opritunity but can't reach it. There will always be a need for the little guy just depends on how bad he wants it. Well time for me to head to the woods for the big guy. Oh and by the way that big guy has sons that want nothing to do with the business. Go figure. Now that really chaps my hind end