Selling Timber? Consider Newly Updated Guides for Inventories and Contracts

HTML5 Icon

Billy Beck
Assistant Professor, Extension Forestry Specialist
Iowa State University Extension & Outreach


Landowners who are considering a timber sale can record their inventory and develop a contract by using two newly updated resources from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Both publications, “Notice of Timber for Sale” and “Timber Sale Contract,” are available on the ISU Extension Store website and outline the essential details when advertising trees for sale and entering a contract.

“These publications highlight the main points that landowners need to consider before advertising trees for sale and before entering a contract,” said Billy Beck, assistant professor and extension forestry specialist at Iowa State. “I strongly suggest completing both documents with the help of a professional forester.”

The “Notice of Timber for Sale” document records critical details such as tree species, number of trees and the size and volume of trees offered for sale. It also sets rules that govern how and when timber buyers can access the property, and deadlines for when bids must be received.

The “Timber Sale Contract” document establishes the agreements between the timber seller and the buyer. The contract includes obvious details such as the dollar amount, and when payment is to be made, but it also includes details about when the property is to be accessed and what happens if there is damage to the property or other trees.

“Selling timber is a fairly complex process, so making sure the details are in writing and understood by all involved is essential,” said Beck. “These documents help timber sellers know what they are getting, and they help buyers of timber to know what’s available and how they can access the timber being sold.”

Woodland assessment

Beck released two other forestry publications in February that help woodland owners improve and assess their forests.

“Planning for Wooded Acreages and Woodlands” is a resource-filled article available on the ISU Extension and Outreach Natural Resource Stewardship website, and the “Woodland Assessment Worksheet” is a three-page publication available on the Extension Store.

Both resources help woodland owners with the first steps of forest assessment, including taking an inventory of the types of trees and other plants on the property, growth stages, goals for future use, and mapping of property lines and special features.

For more information, Beck can be reached at 515-294-8837 or

Date of Publication: 
May, 2024