“It’s not what you know that counts, but who you know.” – Author unknown
Imagine a race to solve an everyday rural problem, in which one person searches the internet and the other talks to a neighbor. Yakking with a neighbor has to be the odds on favorite. It’s probably safe to say the internet will never catalog all the country boys willing to repair a weld, haul some rock, plow a field, or whatever. These folks are not in business to do those things, but definitely do those things.
It’s been theorized that six or fewer “friend of a friend” connections link everyone on the planet (a.k.a., six degrees of separation). Fewer connections might link everyone in rural areas. As a rural woodland owner, connections with the right people can make all the difference to your ownership. Consider your connections within these three categories.
Local Merchants. Farm suppliers and implement dealers solve problems for a living. So there’s a good chance your question has been answered for another landowner. Not only that, but equipment dealers are willing to offer their past customers as a reference before you invest thousands of dollars into new equipment.
Peer Groups. Goals among landowners predictably orbit a few themes, including recreational enjoyment, beauty and privacy, healthy land, wildlife habitat, or timber production. And yet, the landowner and land relationship is as complex as a chess match, with infinite possible moves and endings. Connecting with like-minded landowners allows you to model your game based on their successes and failures. It is important to remember that although no two chess games are exactly alike, no one is inventing any new moves either. Everything you are contemplating regarding your land has been attempted by someone.
County Extension. Every county in Wisconsin has a Cooperative Extension dedicated to the Wisconsin Idea – expanding knowledge beyond our university campuses to the boundaries of Wisconsin. Extension educators are connected to expertise on gardening, food preservation, agriculture, and, of course, forestry. Want to know your county forester? Learn about agricultural leasing or horticulture? Attend workshops and classes? Your county Cooperative Extension is loaded with connections that benefit woodland owners. Find yours.