Location of property: Monroe County, GA
1. How did you obtain your property and for how long have you owned it?
My husband and I researched acreage prices, taxes, and timber sale prices for counties throughout Georgia and came up with a list of about eight priority counties. We started watching land websites, driving around the counties, and he registered for several paper and electronic newsletters. We were hoping for a good deal, but nothing was coming up that met our criteria. After almost a year, the Monroe property appeared in one of the electronic newsletters. It was a foreclosure that had just been harvested, so it was a great deal. We put an offer in about a week later, and we’ve owned it for four years.
2. What has been the most surprising thing you have learned or experienced since owning or being engaged with your property?
Our property was clearcut, so we had to replant the first winter. I did not realize how important tree genetics were for a site until we had to purchase our seedlings for planting. You must consider the timber market in the area (pulp, poles), site conditions, and rate of return. Full disclosure, my husband is a forester who specializes in silviculture (he establishes and grows trees for a living) and he is very interested in seedling tree genetics. I think we talked about genetics and prices for a month at the dinner table while he went over all the pros and cons of the different types.
3. What do you feel is important for other women landowners to know about?
It’s important for women landowners to know that even the professionals don’t know everything. My husband does not professionally manage land in the Georgia Piedmont, and is not familiar with most of the local contractors. We have hired a well-respected registered forester to help with bids, negotiate contracts, and supervise crews that do work for us on the property. Find a good consulting forester, someone you can trust, to help you put together your management plan and find the best planting, site prep, and harvesting crews for your property.
4. What is your biggest attribute that has allowed you to be successful in your land management goals?
I have done very little, except listen to my husband and be supportive! We could not have reached one of our management goals, which was to increase the recreational value, without the support and help of family. My father-in-law, brother-in-law, and nephew-in-law have spent multiple weekends putting in gates, food plots, culverts, and hardwoods throughout the property. I’m amazed at how different, and beautiful, it looks after just four years with all their sweat equity.
5. What is your favorite memory, from your property, to date?
I’ve really enjoyed exploring the property, specifically walking through the sunken railroad bed that traverses it. I also enjoyed standing at the very top of the hill. The trees have grown taller than us now, but the first two years you could see the whole property from the hilltop.