If the answer is yes then don't over look the possible yearly income that is laying on the ground under the trees which can be harvested any time from August to February. You certainly will not get rich but you might find it worth your while to harvest the pine needles or pine straw as it is called. It has been found that October and November are usually the best time to harvest it as it is when you will harvest the most. Pine straw is very much in demand but hard to come by so it is an open market.
Landscapers as well as building contractors are just discovering that pine straw work much better than bark nuggets or wood chips. Landscapers like it because not only does it look good but will not wash away as readily as bark and wood chips plus as it breaks down it provides extra nutrients to the soil. Contractors, on the other hand, are faced with trying not to disturb the soil, as much as possible, around the building site by their heavy equipment. They find that putting down a layer of the pine straw works the best for their needs. In addition, some in the livestock industry are taking a look at pine straw and have been experimenting by using it as an ingredient in their feed ration. So far they are encouraged by the results as the cattle are performing well. However, before you get to excited about making money harvesting your pine straw there are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration: .
It doesn't matter what you do, if you intend to make this a business you need to do a business plan even if this is going to be only one of the ways you diversify your current operation. You still need to go through all the steps and do this as a separate business before incorporating this business into your main business plan. This will help insure your success and possibly identify other options you could incorporate into your operation. You will definitely need one to give to your lender if you're planning to finance any part of your operation. If you need help doing a business plan Click on Business Plan to go directly to the 'How to Put Together a Business Plan' located on AgriHelp. It takes you step by step through the entire process
Look in the county section of your phone book for the number, of your local farm advisor, of the University of (your state) Cooperative Extension. If you can't find this listing, in the same section, look for the number of the Agricultural Commissioner as they will be able to give you the number.
The service of the farm advisor is free and he/she should be able to help you with the information you need or refer you to someone at the university who can. Since you have or are planning to build an agriculture type operation these contacts will be very valuable to you. It is also possible they could suggest other niche markets, in your area, that you could successfully add to your operation.
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MacKenzie & Associates
P.O. Box 1941
Santa Rosa, California 95402 USA
Telephone: +1 707-528-6427
Fax: +1 707-527-1309