Is a natural resources business an opportunity for you?

Landowners can learn about natural resources businesses and opportunities during an August 24 workshop in Gaylord, Michigan.

Michigan is blessed with abundant natural resources, some of which can be the basis for small-scale business opportunities for Michigan landowners.

More specifically, a natural resources business is a purposeful activity that involves one of Michigan’s natural resources on privately-owned land.  Those enterprises can be very simple, providing personal benefit, or significant enough to generate financial gain. Natural resources businesses include activities such as small-scale maple syrup, mushroom production, trail riding, fee hunting and fishing, rural bed and breakfasts, wildlife viewing and more.

Landowners will learn about opportunities to start a natural resources business during a workshop in Gaylord on Saturday, August 24. During the event, hosted by Michigan State University Extension, landowners will hear from Dr. Daryl Jones, coordinator of the Natural Resources Enterprises Program at Mississippi State University and a nationally-known expert on this topic. The workshop will also include presentations from landowners who have successfully started a small-scale natural resources business, and Michigan natural resources experts on how to get started.  An afternoon bus tour around the Gaylord area will feature a variety of natural resources businesses.

Starting a natural resources business or enterprise begins with inventorying resources on your land to learn what is available, for example: wildlife habitat, tree species and condition, ponds or lakes, soils and topography, existing hazards, nearby land uses, machinery, buildings and equipment. This information will help determine both what is needed and what is underused.

Basic business questions are also important, such as the number and types of employees that may be needed for the new enterprise to operate efficiently, markets, available capital, tax implications and competing businesses.

Workshop speakers will address these and other issues.  The afternoon tour will give participants the opportunity to talk to owners and learn from their experiences.

Registration is now open for the natural resources business workshop. The registration site also includes contact information and printable registration materials. A related article, What are Natural Resource Enterprises in Michigan?, and the Michigan State University Extension Natural Resources Enterprises web site offer additional information about natural resources businesses.

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