Managed Forest Law Program

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Managed Forest Law Program

Postby billcurry » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:19 pm

I need to know what you all REALLY know about the (MFL) Managed Forest Law Program in WI. I'm guessing a few of you have land in the program and I want the good, bad, and our hindsight experience(s) with the program. I'm pretty up to date with the rules and regs of the program.

We have family (about 100+/- acres) land that is costing us over 4k a year in taxes. Plus it needs a good thinning of trees in certain areas and so on and so forth. We are considering the pros and cons of the MFL program. I am personally leaning towards the program but I have only heard the "pros' of the program for the Forestry division of the WI DNR. I want the "end user" input- thats you!
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Romans 1:16

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Rocky Landsverk
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Re: Managed Forest Law Program

Postby Rocky Landsverk » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:25 pm


my brothers and I went through the program to lower costs and it was worth it by a mile. We were fortunate, however, in that our plan stated simply "don't do anything for 35 years."

Here's the key, in my opinion: You can get a tentative plan written by a certified forestry management person (use somebody from the DNR's list), and if you don't like it, you simply don't enter the program.

So the plan precedes entry to the program. Now you would be out the money for the plan, and they are several hundred dollars, but worst-case scenario, you have paid a forestry expert for their advice regarding your property, and how to protect and nurture it for the next 50 years, not exactly a waste of money.

In my estimation, based on the people I've spoken with literally 80-90% of the time, the MFL program winds up being a win-win (and only the local taxation district loses). but again, worst case is you pay for a plan, the plan says "you need to do X, Y and Z" and you hate Y, and you don't do it.
Rocky Landsverk
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Re: Managed Forest Law Program

Postby bullwinkle » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:32 pm

I have 3 plans. Bought the land with two already written and paid a forester to prep one myself. MFL is great. I couldn't afford my property without it. Here are my pluses and minus/watch outs


1. Tax relief
2. Professional plan and professional help from the DNR to manage the sustainability of your forest

Watch outs/minus

1. You cant change the plan unless you pay the back taxes and get out. Think your way thoroughly through what you want to do before you get your plan approved - food plots, TSI, locations of cabins, development ect. Write them into the plan One of the goals of MFL is to keep the Wis forest in big blocks of land and limit development. They will not let you go outside your plan for 25 or 50 years without paying back taxes and getting out of MFL. This is not a short term commitment

2. It can limit the value of land if it could be developed some day.

3. When the plans says cut - you have to cut. You cant play the timber market like you would if you were not in the plan

4. There is a little more work cutting - you have to get the DNR to approve all marking before a chainsaw hits the woods so there is a little more hassle. The DNR is very good about this from my experience

5. You have to share 5-10% (I cant remember) of the logging proceeds with the state

6. It is illegal to make any money off MFL land - apple orchards, leasing, crops, etc

Great program. Just know what you are signing up for. The DNR is great about answering questions

6. It cost me about $900 to get my plan written

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Re: Managed Forest Law Program

Postby bubbas1 » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:06 pm

The wife and I bought land that was already enrolled in the FCL. Same rules basically apply.

A few things to remember.
1. The tax you owe the state is based off the amount the state sets for each area....not what you recieve. If you recieve a lower stumpage fee than what is on the list for your still pay the tax using the price on the Wi list.
2. The amount you recieve from the cut is taxable income. Claim it and have a good tax accountant. Mine worked his magic and everything turned out good.
3. Depending on the forester in your area...expect to held to the letter on what your plan says. The forester in our area is great (he was old school). We had to have a cut done by 2015 (only areas with poppels...all hardwoods not touched). Talked to the forester and he ok'd to get it done earlier. (Had it done 2 years ago). Plan called for everything to be cut but he let us get away with leaving everything under 2 inches in diameter (no money in it for the logger).
4. When its time to get a cut to the forester and the locals in town. They will let you know who is the best and wont rip you off.
5. Decide when you sign up if you want it open or closed. Because we are in the FCL we cannot close it. We would have to remove it from the program completely and pay back taxes plus interest of around 30k.

Some locals dont take kindly to land being put in MFL because the tax burden of your property gets shoved over to them. We bought ours already enrolled so we dont have any problems...but we also never bring the subject up either. We will have ours removed when the contract is done. That way when the kids inherit it one day they wont have to hang on to it if they dont want...enrolled land is harder to sell.

The main thing is to be prepaired to have everything done according to your plan. Also see if you can NOT enroll an acre or two in case you want to build on it.

Honestly I cant figure out why they even have these programs in N Wi. Timber companies would be the main reason I figure.

On a side note...we were worried what the woods would look like after the cut. Locals told us not to worry because poppels are weed trees. Man were they right. Our shoots are over 6ft tall now and the leftovers from the cut are decaying rapidly on the ground. We will have to thin out the shoots by hand so it dosent get so thick that you cant walk thru it.

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Re: Managed Forest Law Program

Postby billcurry » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:54 pm

thanks guys! I can echo what each of you has said and recommends. many pros to the program IMO concerning our land now and in the future.

I would like more input from others as well.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Romans 1:16

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