A well-drafted contract can be viewed as a checklist of considerations that must be addressed and decided upon by the owner, his neighbors, and his consulting forester.

  • The owner should always be paid for his logs before they leave the property. Payment in advance of cutting is the well-accepted practice in the industry. Contracts often require that the logger post a performance bond to protect the owner.
  • Avoid using broadly stated or over generalized provisions whenever possible. The more specifically you can answer questions at the outset, the more likely you'll be satisfied with the business arrangements.
  • As a rule, pay particular attention to those provisions which allows the logger to "exercise discretion." On the other hand, loggers must assure that provisions that allow owner discretion do not eliminate their profit from the sale.
  • Reject any contracts that allow the logger to take all of the timber he considers appropriate, whether marked or not. Also reject any contracts that require the logger to do "only the best he can" regarding damage prevention, stream crossings or esthetics, and that provide payment to the owner as the trees are cut or according to scaling by the logger or based on mill scale slips.
  • Contracts should state that only marked trees are to be cut, and should include the dates within which the harvest is to take place, as well as the location and cleanup of landing sites and roads.
  • The logger must have adequate insurance. The contract should also insure that the logger can not be considered an employee of the landowner.
  • During logger selection, check the loggers' reputations and past performance with other people in the area. Ask for references and check them out. You may also ask the logger himself if he is a DEC Cooperating Harvester, and whether he has completed training under New York Timber Harvesting Training Inc. New York State also has a Trained Logger Certification (TLC) program which requires instruction in safe equipment operations, controlled felling techniques, CPR training for medical emergencies and ecology and silviculture practices (*** link to Jan./Feb. 1998 Forest Owner pg. 14).
  • Before you award a logger a contract, be sure that you understand all of the aspects of the work to be done, and that the logger knows that the work will be monitored. Walk the boundary of the sale area and/or the property line with the logger, and, if possible, have the adjoining owner along as well.
  • Inquire about any possible permit requirements or applicable local ordinances. Consider management plans and tax considerations of lands under Section 480 or 480a of the Real Property Tax Law.

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