Saved by His Friends and His Trees
Posted On April 11, 2018
Van was at his wit’s end. His monthly income had changed and money was owed on the mortgage. His father had bought the 42 acres he was living on in the 1940’s and now he was staring into the face of foreclosure.
Van figured he had to sell 21 acres to make enough money. His friends and neighbors saw the “For Sale” sign on the side of the road. Luckily, one of them was a participant in the Sustainable Forestry Program (SF) and she knew Van had trees. She invited him to attend one of the Center’s educational seminars but Van couldn’t make it, so the neighbor asked one of the Center foresters to give Van a call to help him with other options.
When the foresters walked the land with Van, he saw right away that there was enough fiber (trees and tree products) on the land to give him some income so he wouldn’t have to sell his land.”
Over the course of four months, the forester returned to the land with three different wood buying professionals, who each gave Van quotes for purchasing the wood on 38 acres. He picked the best price and the logging began.
“That’s when I knew the Center was for real,” Van said, beaming.
After the harvest, Van took down the “For Sale” sign. He’d made enough money to pay his debts, to make a small profit and to save every inch of his land. He is so proud of what he’s done and has so many ideas about what he hopes to do. “I’m number one in the forestry program now,” he says with a wink. His enthusiasm has infected others.
“I was the first in my community to get a USDA Farm and Tract number,” he said proudly. “The others were afraid, but now they see.” He was also the first to submit a conservation program application to the USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service to apply for financial assistance to re-forest the land that was cut.
“I’m also thinking of putting in a fish farm and maybe leasing some of the land for hunting.” Van’s sharp eyes are ablaze with dreams, and now his daughter is planning to come home to help him make them come true.