Thursday, February 28, 2013

Full Value Forestry Conferences start in Plain WI this April


Full Value Forestry Conference and Tours       Plain Green TTEC – April 26& 27,  2013
Plain, WI
9am      Registration, coffee, snacks, displays of local wood products, building tour
                       Display of South American Hardwoods from growers in Brazil and Ecuador
9:30     Introductions and Welcome
10am   Full Value Forestry Overview – Jim Birkemeier, owner of Spring Green Timber Growers
11am   Bus Tours -  half of the group will participate in each location
                        Timbergreen Farm – forestry and on farm wood manufacturing facility
                                   Natural Forestry, Restoration Forestry, Plantation Forestry, Urban Forestry
                                          Jim Birkemeier
                                   Arthroscopic Logging and Directional felling
                                           Mike Neta - Sustainable Forestry Systems
                                   Sawmilling logs, solar kiln drying lumber
                                            Alex Green - Red Beard Woodworks
                                   Wood Workshop Operations
                                             Eric Olson - Concept Design and Building
                        Spring Green Timber Growers Store & Laser Shop – Downtown Spring Green
                                   Design and Production for Laser Cut and engraved wood
                                  
                                   Marketing Wood Products on the Internet
                                                Matt and Amie Van Susteren - Timber Green Woods
                                   Retail Store Operations and Social Media Tools for Selling Wood
                                                Amy Mills - Spring Green Timber Growers
                                  
12:30 – 1:30   Lunch will be at the Wisconsin Riverside Resort
1:45 – 2:15     Bus Tours – groups will switch locations
2:30     Plain Green TTEC
                  Promoting the use of locally grown and manufactured forest products
                  FromTheTimberGrower.com  market plan and training program
                  Fine Finishing Demonstration – Shawn Olmstead
4pm     Summary and adjourn
Registration will begin in Mid-March.
Maximum attendance – 100 per day.
for more information, contact Jim Birkemeier    (608) 588-7342
Article on Full Value Forestry

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wisconsin's Biggest Missed Opportunity

Compared to our corn, hay, soybeans, dairy, beef farmers – Wisconsin’s tree farmers only score about 25% of their potential volume and value growth.

Forest owners know almost nothing about what is actually our State’s most abundant agricultural crop and the level of management of 10,000,000 acres of private forest is disgraceful and mostly destructive to the future of the resource.  Most harvests take just the best trees and leave a mess of damage.  Today, many of our best walnut and white oak trees are being cut and exported to the far East for manufacturing, while local timber prices and market demand are at an all time low.   500,000 jobs and half of the production of the timber industry in Wisconsin has recently been lost due to mechanization and globalization.

Low market prices for trees are the cause of the neglect and high-grading – timber has always been a plentiful and very cheap commodity, so forest owners have had little incentive to learn about their timber crop or manage their trees in a future minded way.

Many landowners have worked hard to follow the advice of the professional foresters in industry, government, and universities.  Over and over I hear, “I did everything the foresters have told me, but the income from the harvest is not worth the damage to my land.”  

An occasional short sighted profit is often taken by a forest owner as it is better than nothing, but if the landowner knew the real value of their wood products, they would be shocked and feel shortchanged by the timber industry.

Our family tried everything recommended by the DNR for many years and sold timber several times to commercial sawmills.  Benefits for our efforts were insignificant compared to the amount of work and the value of our investment in the forest.

In the huge timber industry, the forest owner is the only person who does not make a fair income for their time and investment.

No professional forester could ever live off of the money that the forest owner’s gain from the professional’s advice.

In the forestry profession, “sustainable forestry” is when the professional foresters’ job is supported and their wages are paid.  No forest owner ever earns a profitable or sustainable income despite all the experts’ talk about sound forestry and green programs.

Efforts to earn a fair price for landowners in Wisconsin have been undercut by the government subsidies in Canada and the illegal logging in the tropics and Siberia.  When most timber in the global markets is not paid for at any significant level, Wisconsin’s timber industry can not remain competitive when landowners want to be paid for their trees.

Unless people in Wisconsin and our leaders face the truth about our huge forest resource, we will continue to squander this vast and potentially valuable resource.

No one wants to admit this is true, even though they know it is so. 
Everyone is afraid of change and settled in a system.
No one values timber in the first place, so it is no big deal either way.
Professionals don’t want to admit their failure or risk their jobs.
Forest owners don’t want to admit they have been duped for so long. 
Forest owners also are afraid they won’t be able to sell their timber or get DNR tax breaks or management grants.


There is a working and rewarding alternative timber market for anyone who wants to participate.
This working system is what every forest owner and every professional forester would want if they knew about it.
www.FromTheTimberGrower.com   is a new and growing direct market to connect the consumers with the producers.
The goal is to promote the use of locally grown and manufactured wood products – first to meet local needs, then to export extra wood to other markets.

Wisconsin’s forestry professionals refuse to acknowledge that there is an alternative to the industrial forestry that supports their jobs, but the Timber Growers business model is recognized around the world by the United Nations and other groups as the leading marketing innovation in the global timber industry today.  Timber Growers has been invited as a featured speaker at the World Teak Conference in Bangkok in March 2013 and the United Nations International Conference on Wood in S Africa next October.  Past international conference presentations have been made in India, Viet Nam, New Zealand and Timber Growers is currently participating in marketing programs in Ecuador and Brazil. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Say "No" to Robots

Hand Made – No Robots were used in the production of this product

Everyone is talking about the shortage of good jobs.  Buy American and Buy Local are a good start, but to really support good jobs, look closer.
Even in our factories here, robots and huge machines have replaced hundreds of thousands of workers.  One big corporation now shows a TV advertisement featuring a line of robots working to make a car that can even fix itself when one robot breaks – no people are seen or needed anymore.  The company slogan in the ad is “for the human network”.    How Stupid Can We Get?? 

We all buy stuff now built primarily by robots and huge machines that have put masses of people out of work.  Then we complain about jobs and the economy.

We need to Choose to;
Buy as Local as Possible
Buy from As Small A Business as Possible
Buy as Hand Made as Possible
Buy the Best Value for the Future of the Planet



We control the economy and jobs by what we buy everyday.   We are all responsible for our current situation and only we can change our future.
Buying Smart in the new Global Economy should be our top priority.  We need to do just the opposite of what got us into this mess.

Anyone who buys imported stuff in the big corporation’s store is actively exporting your money and our jobs.  You are building businesses and countries and jobs on the other side of the world.  Workers there are buying cars, and their growing factories using more fossil fuels – all driving up the cost of our fuel at our local gas stations.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Timbergreen Farms is the Wisconsin Small Family Business of the Year for 2012

Timbergreen Farm wins the Wisconsin Small Family Business for 2012
A new documentary - Timbergreen Farm Story of Sustainability is online now
http://www.timbergreenfarm.com/   has the details!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Forests Should Support The Local Economy!!

A forest should support the local community with building materials, many other products, a regular income, and good jobs.  This is kind of an old fashioned idea that has been lost the past 200 years due to global industrialization.   The industrial timber market with low commodity log prices continues to consume the remaining good timber on the planet, with few benefits to the local community, despite all the talk about sustainability and certification.

But every person who cares about the planet would agree that the forest should support the local community. 

Spring Green Timber Growers has built a new high value market for the wood we harvest each year from our small family farm, creating new jobs from dead trees.  We control the whole process from growing, harvesting, sawmilling, solar kiln drying, manufacturing, and direct marketing to customers.  By eliminating all the middlemen, using the smallest amount of energy, and minimizing shipping, we earn retail prices for our timber – about 100 times the income earned by other landowners.

Wood is easy to grow and harvest and manufacture on a small scale.  Wood products have a high value in the retail market.  Wood is the perfect fuel for small business in the local community.  Everyone uses wood everywhere – everyday – so these ideas are universal.

SGTG is developing a global wood marketing system to connect local wood growers direct with customers.  First priority is to use what people have to meet the local needs of the community, then export their extra wood to population centers that need wood products. 

Local Needs – Training and coaching can quickly get a small woodshop in operation. 

Global Marketing – a new website will link the grower with customers anywhere in the world.  Simple shipping of small packages to container loads is ongoing every day now.  Credit card payments online make payments easily.  Instant communication and global travel now connect people everywhere. 

The “American Dream” has gone global.  Anyone, Anywhere can run a small business to sell something that they make.  The only limitation is the imagination.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spring Green Timber Growers Sales and Jobs Shoot Up 500%


A combination of factors increased our sales this year in a multi-facetted global wood products marketing campaign.   Sure we have nice wood with a good story, but it is the hard and creative work by Timber Growers staff that has made our small local business a world-wide success.  My choice is to hire really smart people, teach them a little woodworking, and give them the freedom to express themselves.  My store managers in particular have taken Timber Growers to a higher orbit of sales success this year.

First, Amie Fisher and Matt Van Susteren have taken our salvaged dead elm, oak, birch, walnut, & cherry timber and created a unique product line that people love to see and touch.  Each piece is a one-of-a-kind work of art and love.  Amie is a painter and Matt is a potter, but recently they put their minds to woodworking and have thrived.

One year ago they introduced our wood products on a website for hand made products -  ETSY.com - and our internet sales took off in the month before Christmas.  This year sales of Christmas gifts and ornaments became our main business – with an increase of 500% over last year.  We have already hired more workers and I plan to double our production and staff again in 2012. 

In addition to retail internet sales, Fisher and Van Susteren have developed a wholesale catalog of our wood products and are quickly developing that market also.  Cutting boards and corporate gifts are popular wholesale products.  Wholesale shows and working with manufacturing representatives are generating growing interest quickly.

The duo also has taken finished products to Retail shows in Chicago and Vancouver, gaining sales and exposure for their beautiful wood creations. 

Local sales in the Timber Growers store downtown Spring Green and the flooring sales at Timbergreen Farm have not been sustainable in 2011, so the diversity of marketing programs and products has been essential to our business growth.   We will keep working hard on the store and flooring installation business to promote the use of locally grown and manufactured forest products.

Beautiful, Artistic, Hand-Crafted, Natural, Sustainably-Harvested, Solar Kiln-Dried, Solid wood products command high market demand and value, allowing me to put a growing number of people to work, utilizing just a portion of the trees that naturally die each year in our 200 acre forest here at Timbergreen Farm.  I choose to sell products that are as natural as possible, using the smallest tools practical, and maintaining the maximum amount of human touch and love.

Jim Birkemeier – Timber Grower!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Buying Local in a Global Economy

Buying Local In the Global Economy

We have all chosen to buy lots of ‘cheap’ and ‘convenient’ stuff as we have lived the good lifestyle on plentiful natural resources while accumulating thoughtless and irresponsible debt.  Cheap stuff comes at a very high price. 

We are all responsible for our current economic crisis and the shortage of jobs.  Take a close look at what you have bought the last few years….   We can also change things – starting right now – to develop the best economic position possible for our future.

Many people apparently think ‘buy local’ means shopping for imported stuff on sale at the neighborhood big box store.  Lusting over imported manufactured stuff has exported our money and our jobs.   American industry and jobs have crumbled away.   We export our natural resources, ship materials half way around the world, minimize labor and production costs, ship the products back half way around the world – then complain we have recession and unemployment!!

Every purchase you make is a real vote that immediately counts to affect the future of our planet.  Every purchase you make builds up the company and country where the thing is from.   Every purchase you make has a political effect too, as the big companies exert real and immediate influence on our politicians.

We have created this monster we face today with our selfish and short-sighted purchases.  We can choose to change this now – just stop feeding the monster and it will go away.

How to “Create Jobs”
Today, most of the stuff we buy is made in a big factory with big machines and robots and likely in another country.  Government Regulations and Legal Lawsuits make labor very expensive in America.  Americans everyday are more lazy and fat - and in love with welfare, and the lottery.   Then we say, “we must create more jobs….”

All the politicians talk about creating jobs, yet fail to address the real problems.  Government does a thousand times more to discourage American jobs than the feeble efforts of talk and “stimulus”. 

As a business owner – one thing would get me to hire more employees – SALES!!  Government on the State and Federal Level has been a huge hindrance to my business for decades.  They should just get out of the way – today more than ever!

Globalization has CHANGED the planet
The internet – instant global communications – is the most amazing creation ever.  The airplane is second.  Earth – our economics – has truly changed and there is no going back.

Everyone needs to travel and watch the rest of the world to have a realistic picture of where you fit into the big picture and your effect on others.  Most people choose to be ignorant and don’t want to believe their lifestyle is very wasteful and damaging to the planet.

Homo Sapiens are being Homogenized.  Worker wages are being pressured to a more common-ground level.  High paid American workers will get less in the future and workers in the Far East will demand more.  There is no stopping this trend – a wise person will work within it to arrive at the best position possible for themselves.

We are mixing it up today around the world – nothing is hidden and there is no excuse for ignorance.  Seeing how much we are all about the same is our best hope for survival now.  We are all in this together and better learn to get along.

The Most Powerful Force On Earth
The best chance we have is to rebuild our local economies and communities that have been destroyed by the big corporations.  We created them ourselves with our lusts for cheap and convenience, and we can change the world by making smarter spending decisions - from now on.  The American Woman – the Shopper – is the most powerful force on earth today.  The Shopper has the free choice to support whatever company and country with the power of their purchase.  The Shopper is the one who can create jobs with their votes.  Every single vote counts.

Simple Steps to Change the Economy:
  1. Buy As Local As Possible
  2. Buy from a company As Small As Possible
  3. Drive as little as Possible
  4. Do the Opposite (of what got us here)

Big is Bad – most of the time….
Generalizations are not all true, but the long term trends now show the route we are going - being dominated by bigger and bigger corporations that dominate the Government also – are not good or sustainable for most humans. 

Do the opposite of what the big corporations and their puppet politicians want you to do.
Be discerning when listening to their talk. 
If you feed the monster – don’t complain when you get bitten!

People all over are very angry, fearful, and without much hope. 

There is HOPE
The American Dream of one person making a difference is now a Global Possibility for any human being.   The information and tools are becoming more freely available everywhere today.   Grab Globalization and take advantage of the good alternatives.

Most people may not care, but for those who choose – great opportunities are present today. 

http://www.aslocalaspossible.org/  has detailed articles