Natural Resources Committee Report – week 12, 2017

HF 511 – Administration of state forest nursery



HF 511 would allow the director of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to establish minimum ordering quantities and pricing for plant material sold by the state forest nursery. The director must conduct an annual review of market conditions and revenues and expenditures prior to changing prices and ordering quantities. The bill also allows the nursery to sell bare-root stock to private nurseries for resale.

Under current law, the department can only change the prices and sales quantities through the rulemaking process, which takes a minimum of six months. The state forest nursery must be self-sustaining financially, should not be supplemented by state funding and cannot operate at a profit. When the DNR recently adjusted prices and quantities available for sale, the associated rulemaking process took two years. The nursery operates under a number of constraints regarding the products it may sell and type of sales it may make. For example, the nursery can only make retail sales and can only sell bare root seedlings. These are not high-value products and are mostly used as a forest management and planning tool, or for conservation efforts by private landowners. The products are not landscape quality like those that sold by private nurseries.
[3/29: short form (Anderson, Bertrand, Kapucian absent)]