Return on timber is up

From contributed reports
After two straight years of significant declines (a drop of 40 percent since 2006) in the value of timber harvested on their properties, forest landowners in the Commonwealth saw the value increase six-tenths of one percent last year, according to officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry.

“While it’s not anywhere near where we want it to be, we did see a turnaround in 2009,” said Carl Garrison, state forester of Virginia. “Landowners received more than $208 million last year — about $1.4 million more than in the year 2008. While it’s a far cry from the $347 million they received in 2006, we’re hopeful that the increases will continue.”

Rappahannock County landowners’ share of that $208 million was $234,222 in 2009, placing it 80th out of 107 Virginia counties and cities reporting timber harvests. (Buckingham County topped the list with $13.3 million; Fauquier County had the highest sales among jurisdictions adjacent to Rappahannock, with $676,509 reported for 2009.)

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore said, “Governor McDonnell has tasked me with the job of sustaining and growing Virginia’s forest industry as part of his focus on economic development. While it is good news that Virginia’s private forest landowners are starting to see an increase in the market value of their products, we must continue to do all we can to support our highly valued, existing industry, which employs 144,000 Virginians. We must also work to attract new forest industry jobs to the Commonwealth, so that forestry continues to be a $27.5 billion economic engine for rural Virginia.”

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