I made an unexpected trip to the farms yesterday. I wanted to look at a piece of land near the Nottoway River. FM wants to buy the timber and wants me to buy the land. In other words, he gets the wood; I get land to grow new trees. It is a long-term proposition for me. I couldn’t even thin until around 2025. On the other hand, I can get the land cheaper and grow the trees later.
The land would not be only for forestry. There is a lot of road frontage and the property is across from the Nottoway River, which you see in the picture. (It was a very foggy morning, as you can see and chilly. It later got hot and humid.) They would leave the trees near the streams etc, so it would remain wooded and attractive. There is a public boat launching place across from one corner of the property. It was a very foggy morning, as you can see and chilly. It later got hot and humid. Under the right conditions, I could sell off some lots right at the corner with the river, where people could build “farmettes” or cabins. I have no idea how that works, but I bet I can figure it out. That would help pay for the land.
Land is inexpensive these days because of the recession. It won’t stay that way forever and this may be a good time to buy. But the timing is always tricky and I don’t have that kind of money to just risk. The forest land and its produce will essentially fund large chunks of my retirement, or not. In a rational market, this land would become more valuable. Markets are always rational … in the long run. But as John Maynard Keynes said, “Markets can remain irrational a lot longer than you and I can remain solvent.”
Anybody want to come in on a forestry investment? Or maybe buy a beautiful home site near an officially designative senic river? Well, I have to figure out the finances. I really just don’t know.
The first picture shows the boat landing on the Nottoway River. The picture under that is the part of the property I was looking at that was cut in 2001. This is natural regeneration and would remain on the land. I would have to mange it a little, but the trees look healthy. As comparison, you can see my trees on the CP property (same day. The sun came out.) They are only six years old (planted 2004) but they are bigger by a couple feet and fuller because of better genetic stock and some management. The second lastpicture shows the pines on our Freeman property. They were planted in 1996 and will be thinned later this month (first thining). They need thinning. Light will reach the ground and it will be better for wildlife. The last picture is a dog that just wandered by. He has a tracking collar, so he is probably a hunting dog. I offered him a piece of ham from my sandwich. He took it but remained a little spooked.