DIBOLL, TX (KTRE) - The property owners who grow trees, the loggers who cut and haul them, and the buyers, from the smallest sawmill to the largest combined they have a tremendous impact on the East Texas economy.
Aside from that, the industry is a beneficial tax write off.
Take a look at the log yard at Norboard in Nacogdoches. All that timber is a fraction of what's grown in East Texas.
"We have about 12-million acres of timberland in East Texas, and that number has held pretty constant for a long time," said Chris Edgar, a Texas A&M Forest Service analyst.
Texas A&M has good reason to conduct annual timber tax seminars to help forestry consultants, accountants and timber growers such as David Noble from Houston County.
"Well it was nice to have met you," said David Noble, a first-time timber grower.
The retired farmer from the Panhandle getting to know East Texans and why so many of them are growing timber.
"We do it more for the tax benefits and just for the actual beauty of the land and the aesthetics of the land," Noble said.
Tax advantages may remain the bigger attraction. Timber tax laws keep accountants talking about capital gains and tax saving deductibles. Here's an example.
"You're in the 40 percent tax bracket and your deductions get to 40 percent savings on tax," said Garvey Jackson, a certified public accountant with Axley and Rode. "When you take the income into account, it could be as low as 15 percent."
That's pretty attractive to new retirees and landowners looking for a return on what's designed to be a long-term investment.
Visit places like Norbord and Cal-Tex and you'll see quickly East Texas loggers have been busy during these warm winter months. There are so many logs on the ground that they could run out of a place to put them.
Forestry consultants are concerned. They managed timber for huge companies prior to the 2008 housing market crash. Now client lists are made up of private landowners and many retirees looking for a return.
"Timber prices are down compared to where they were in 2008, but we're seeing significant improvements," said Sam Crawford, a forestry consultant with Bird & Crawford Forestry. "You've heard the term new normal, it's kinda a new normal, but we're getting used to it."
There's still plenty of confidence that the timber industry will regain its strength in East Texas and continue to provide tax benefits for investors.
Anyone thinking of entering the timber business is advised to establish a team of experts to provide help along the way.
An attorney when buying the land, a consultant when planting, growing and harvesting trees, and an accountant for tax help are beneficial.