The Consultant - 2016 - (Page 14)

COVER FEATURE The Value of a CONSULTING FORESTER Timber sales that involve a consultant offer value-added benefits INTRODUCTION BY GREG CONNER, ACF O ver the years, I have been asked the same question numerous times: "If I hire you to sell my timber, will I get my money's worth?" Obviously, as ACF Consulting Foresters, we would like to say that yes, we are indeed worth the money. But can we prove that with hard analytical data? I have looked for the proof in research studies that could somehow illustrate this position, but more often than not the subject matter I have found is anecdotal in nature, with little or no data to back it up. When I began investigating the topic, I discovered some academic research has been done on the effects that foresters (primarily public agency foresters) have on forest management. While these resources yielded some useful information, they did not account for the fact that public agency foresters are typically not involved in selling timber for private landowners. In 1995, Dr. Carlyle Franklin of NC State University (now an ACF member) and Dr. Ian Munn of Mississippi State University published an article for The Consultant titled "Valuation of Consulting Foresters' Contribution to Timber Sale Prices." In their research, they found only two studies that specifically examined the effects of using a private consultant when selling timber: Hardie and Wieland (1987) surveyed Maryland landowners, but based on the data concluded that they could not definitively prove the effect consultants had on timber sales; Hubbard and Abt (1989) collected data on 45 timber sales in northern Florida and while their data demonstrated that consulting foresters had a positive effect on timber sales, the data was mixed when they broke it down by product type. Franklin and Munn collected data from 495 timber sales in North Carolina, but used only 298 sales that were complete and pertinent to their study. They found that there were a lot of variables that made it difficult to compare consultant vs. non-consultant timber sales. However, their study also showed that consultant sales averaged 20% more than non-consultant timber sales. This study was on the right track, but it utilized a small data set, was limited only to North Carolina, and is now 20 years old. 14 Earlier this year, I spoke to Joe Clark about comparing consulting vs. non-consulting sales using his company's unique data set. Joe is a stumpage forester for Forest2Market (F2M), which is a data collection, analysis and consulting firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina, that serves the forest products industry. Joe agreed to do the research and present the results at the NC ACF fall chapter meeting. Much of the information presented in this article is based on the results of his analysis and the data that F2M has collected since 2010 in the U.S. Southeast. As a neutral, independent and third-party company that serves the forest products industry, Forest2Market is perfectly positioned to investigate this question via a comprehensive study. The company does not buy or sell timber or timberland, nor does it manage any timberlands. Forest2Market's primary mission is to provide the most accurate information available to help buyers, sellers and consultants within the industry make the best business decisions possible. Now I can honestly say, "YES," we are worth it and have the data to prove it. But to go one step further, an Attorney/Registered Forester I use suggested that the more important point is that the owner will get his money's worth if he hires us to MANAGE his land and his timber and that timber sales are just part of the management services we provide. The Study by Joe Clark STUDY TOOLS Forest2Market has multiple unique databases that track prices of raw materials for the forest products industry, including stumpage prices. F2M's stumpage database covers the entire southeastern United States-from east Texas to Florida, and north to Virginia. F2M's data is unique within the industry, as it is the only comprehensive set of data that is collected at the transaction level; no survey data is used or incorporated into the database. Data are collected on both a tract and sale basis, THE CONSULTANT 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Consultant - 2016

From the Executive Director: The Elephant in the Room
From the President ACF – We Join You
Member Profile: Keville Larson, Renaissance Forester
The Value of a Consulting Forester
Fracking and the Landowner
Two Weeks at the Gates of Hell
If It Walks Like a Duck and Quacks Like a Duck…
Proposed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Regulations from the FAA
Cross-Border Trade Disputes Heat Up
Will Small Firms Have to Specialize to Survive?
The Cradle of Forestry
Products & Services Buyers’ Guide
Index of Advertisers
A Call to Order

The Consultant - 2016