Status of the Minnesota Logging Sector in 2021


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Status of the Minnesota Logging Sector in 2021
Issue Date
University of Minnesota
Logging businesses in Minnesota have been surveyed intermittently since the late 1970s to assess their status and health. A mail survey was conducted in spring 2022 to assess the status of Minnesota’s logging sector during 2021. The survey was a follow up to previous surveys, the most recent of which were conducted in 2016 and 2011. A total of 162 usable responses were received (50.5% usable response rate). Many of the reported findings from the two prior surveys were repeated in this survey. For example, businesses and equipment continue to age. The average amount of capital invested in a business is under $500,000. County forests, private woodlands, and the State of Minnesota were the most important sources of stumpage. Winter harvesting produces about half (53%) of the total annual volume harvested. Feller-bunchers and grapple skidders were the most common in-woods equipment. While there are many small volume logging businesses in Minnesota, collectively they produce a small percentage of the total annual harvest. Most harvest sites were within 60 miles of the business’ location. Minnesota’s logging businesses faced new challenges in 2021 with the Covid-19 pandemic, mill closures and a shortage of truck drivers. Higher volume logging businesses tended to be more negatively impacted by each of those three challenges. While many businesses were impacted, approximately 81% reported that their business at least broke-even in 2021. The most commonly cited concerns were the lack/loss of markets, difficulty in securing labor, rising costs for everything (e.g., stumpage, equipment, parts, fuel, labor), delivered prices which were relatively flat, regulations which hurt the industry, and displeasure that mills increased their competition for stumpage at auctions as that took away potential timber sales from small businesses.
Series/Report Number
Department of Forest Resources Staff Paper Series; 268
Suggested Citation
Blinn, Charles R.; Nolle, David A.. (2023). Status of the Minnesota Logging Sector in 2021. University of Minnesota. Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,

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