For most Midwestern farms, grain production takes center stage in maximizing farm income. However, for some farms another source of income lies in the shadow of annual crop production.
Although woodlands can contribute marginal income through leasing hunting rights to others, they can provide significant income from timber harvests. Since these harvests usually are spread out over a 10 to 25 year period, this income source can sometimes be forgotten or overlooked. Over the past several years, I have been consciously working with a professional forester to assist in managing woodlands and currently have several timber harvests occurring on managed farms with more scheduled in the immediate future. These harvests will be followed by timber stand improvement practices to prepare for the next subsequent harvest in the future.
Just like an annual crop, woodlands must be managed with a well thought out plan and executed in a timely manner to maximize its contribution to the farm. At a time when farm income is declining, woodlands can contribute an additional source of income to help offset the cyclical nature of grain commodities. Although the saying goes, "what's in your wallet?", you might consider "what's in your woods?".