Minnesota Timber Plans

Minnesota Timber Plans

You want more deer?  An aggressive timber harvest is the number 1 tool for many landowners.  Nothing brings the deer like a timber cut.  Setting the clock back on your timbers age means food and bedding for years to come.  You provide food and bedding for the deer and hunt with a plan and your success will jump 5 to 10 fold.

Annual payments of $20 per acre are available through the state.


Minnesota Timber Plans

Make sure when you prepare for the cut, you find a balance for hunting and income.  Make sure your logging roads are installed for stand access.  Make sure you spend some extra time cutting in areas you want the deer to bed.  Consider leaving some areas uncut for access.  We need that deer desert to approach our stands.


Minnesota Timber Plans

Below is some information provided by the state of Minnesota.  If you want more information, drop us an email.  We work with Foresters in Minnesota and have a system that lets us balance the timber harvest with your deer goals.  It’s a win win.

Cost-share for MN woodland owners

Private forest showing selective harvest
Minnesota Timber Plans

Do you own woodlands in rural Minnesota? Are you looking to practice good forest stewardship on your land? If so, there is money available to share the costs of your woodland projects.

Taking care of your woodlands benefits all Minnesotan’s by:

  • Enhancing recreational opportunities such as bird watching, hunting, and fishing.
  • Improving and protecting water quality.
  • Enhancing wildlife habitat.
  • Supporting a healthy forest products economy.
  • Providing clean air.

What is cost-share?

Financial assistance to woodland owners for completing projects to practice good forest stewardship on their land. A typical project is between 3 and 20 acres but could be smaller or larger depending on land goals. Whether you want to maintain wildlife habitat, promote biodiversity, prevent wildfires, produce firewood, or just create an enjoyable place to escape, we can help.

What is eligible?

A number of activities are eligible for cost-share support. Below are just a few examples.

a couple headed out to go snow shoeing
Minnesota Timber Plans

Reforestation and tree planting:

  • Replanting woods after harvesting trees.
  • Removing competing vegetation to improve a site or growth of newly planted trees.

Forest improvement:

  • Thinning out undesirable trees to provide more room for desirable trees.
  • Pruning lower branches of trees to improve timber quality

a couple headed out to go snow shoeing

Forest health and protection:

  • Removing invasive species such as buckthorn or garlic mustard to improve forest health.
  • Protecting trees from deer browse with tree tubes or fence enclosures.

Wildlife habitat enhancement:

  • Planting trees to increase food supply for wildlife.
  • Planting a native prairie to improve habitat for wildlife.
a couple headed out to go snow shoeing
Minnesota Stewardship plans for Deer Plans

Soil and water protection and improvement:

  • Using temporary grass cover to reduce soil erosion.
  • Rehabbing forest roads or skid trails to reduce soil erosion.

Riparian or fisheries habitat and improvement:

  • Planting stubs of cottonwood or willow to improve riparian woody cover.
  • Installing tree revetments to stabilize stream banks.

a couple headed out to go snow shoeing

Forest recreation:

  • Constructing or improving recreational paths or trails.
  • Felling, removing, or pruning trees to improve aesthetic quality of woods.
Minnesota Timber Plans
Minnesota Timber Plans

Woodland stewardship plans:

Funds can also be used for creating or updating woodland stewardship plans, which will help you better understand your woods and what you need to do to accomplish goals for your land.

A $300 payment will be made to the landowner if the following is met:

  • The plan is prepared by a DNR approved plan writer. (link is external)
  • The plan is approved by the DNR and registered.
  • The landowner applies for financial assistance before the plan is started or while the plan is in progress. Plans already completed before applying for financial assistance are not eligible.

For more information on Woodland Stewardship Plans, go to the Forest Stewardship web page.

Who is eligible and for how much?

Woodland owners in Minnesota who own land that is rural in nature. No minimum acreage. Stewardship Plans are not required. Eligible activities will be approved by a DNR Cooperative Forest Management (CFM) forester. A CFM forester cooperates or works with private land owners and partners.

Yard landscaping projects are not eligible for cost-share support. Pastured or grazed lands are not eligible.

How does it work?

Contact a DNR CFM forester where your property is located to start an application. They will work with you to develop a project plan that meets your goals. You can do the work or hire a contractor. After completing your project, a DNR forester inspects your project to verify it was completed. Once approved, you receive payment from the DNR based on the type of work done.

Contact a DNR CFM forester to get started!

Minnesota Stewardship plans for Deer Plans

MN Forest stewardship

Minnesota Stewardship plans for Deer Plans
Minnesota Stewardship plans for Deer Plans

The DNR Forest Stewardship Program helps woodland owners manage your woods through advice and education, cost-share programs, and Woodland Stewardship Plans. We work through a statewide network of DNR, public, and private foresters specially trained in forest stewardship. We are ready to help you achieve your woodland goals, whether it is to create wildlife habitat, increase natural beauty, improve trails, enhance environmental benefits, or harvest timber.

Deciduous forest in fall

Managing your woods

Forest management is all the things you do to keep your woods healthy and beautiful. This work tends to happen in small steps over multiple years. For example, if you want to improve wildlife habitat you may need to remove invasive plants to allow native plants to grow, and then plant the right trees to increase food for wildlife. After time, you may need to remove some trees to decrease competition between trees and increase the health of remaining trees. These actions make your woods attractive to wildlife and also provide environmental benefits. We use Woodland Stewardship Plans to help you organize and complete all of these steps.

Woodland stewardship plans

A Woodland Stewardship Plan helps you understand what is in your woods, how to improve them, and when to do work. A unique plan is developed for your woods based on your land management goals. The plan can help you stay on track over the long-term and keep your woods healthy and beautiful. Plans are written for woodland owners with 20 to 5,000 acres where at least 10 acres have or will have trees. Plans are updated every 10 years to stay current with your needs and your woods.

Plans are developed and written by foresters trained in woodland stewardship from the DNR, environmental organizations, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and consulting foresters. The cost for a Woodland Stewardship Plan depends on who writes it and the size of your woods.

While a DNR forester can write your plan, you can also hire another stewardship forester to do the work. Check out the interactive map of approved Minnesota Woodland Stewardship Plan writers (link is external) on the U of M Extension’s MyMinnesotaWoods webpage or ask a DNR forester for a list of plan writers in your area.

Financial benefits of a woodland stewardship plan

A Woodland Stewardship Plan registered with the DNR qualify you for woodland tax and financial incentive programs.

Cost-share Program: The DNR has cost-share funds available to help woodland owners complete projects to improve your woods (these are the steps outlined in your Woodland Stewardship Plan). A DNR forester works with you to develop a project plan. Project work can be done by you or a contractor. Sample projects include: wildlife and pollinator habitat improvement, tree planting, bud capping, invasive species removal, tree thinning, and forest road work. More information can be found on the DNR’s Cost-share for Woodland Ownerswebpage.

Incentive Programs: The Minnesota Sustainable Forest Incentive Act (SFIA) jointly managed by Minnesota Department of Revenue and DNR is an incentive program to keep forests as forests on our landscape. Landowners with at least 20 acres of forest land under a registered Woodland Stewardship Plan may be eligible.

Minnesota offers a reduced property tax rate called 2c Managed Forest Land  PDF (link is external). Woodland owners who actively follow their registered Woodland Stewardship Plan may be eligible for a reduced property tax rate of .65 percent.

The Forest Stewardship Program (link is external) is funded by the USDA Forest Service and run by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.