New Timber Contract Ensures Long-term Sustainability for Hofmann Forest, Brings Consistent Annual Income to Support Education

Aerial of trees

The Board of Trustees for the Endowment Fund of NC State University and the Natural Resources Foundation reached a new agreement for the timberlands on Hofmann Forest, ensuring long-term sustainability for the land and consistent annual income for the College of Natural Resources.

The Endowment Board and the Foundation signed a $78 million, 50-year timber deed with Hofmann Forest Timberlands LLC, an entity managed by Resource Management Service LLC (RMS), which is a privately-held timber investment management organization known for its leadership in sustainable forest management practices. The timber deed gives RMS rights to sustainably grow, harvest and replant the timber on 54,334 acres of working forest with the NC State Endowment maintaining ownership of the land.

The agreement also maintains access for students and faculty in the College of Natural Resources to teach and conduct research across the property and it requires RMS to manage the forest to meet sustainable forest management certification requirements and return an improved age class distribution of trees at the end of the 50-year contract. As a working forest, the majority of the 79,000-acre forest will remain dark and undeveloped, providing clear benefits for the military and economic prosperity in eastern North Carolina.

The proceeds from the contract will be invested in the Endowment Fund of NC State University and will provide a consistent yearly income of about $3 million that will go exclusively to support the teaching, research and outreach programs of the College of Natural Resources. The consistent annual funds replace variable yearly income previously generated by the Foundation’s management of the forest, enabling the college to better plan for and utilize resources to benefit its educational mission. The agreement also reduces the Endowment Fund’s investment risks and gets the Natural Resources Foundation out of the business of managing a commercial forest and more focused on advancing the teaching and research mission of the college.

“This new agreement ensures the sustainability of the timberland for the long term,” said NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson. “It respects the needs of the military and is consistent with long-term economic development goals for eastern North Carolina. It’s a win for the university, the timber deed buyer, and the community.”

“RMS is pleased to acquire these timberlands as part of its southern U.S. investment portfolio and looks forward to working closely with NC State University and the Foundation to continue forestry research and educational opportunities on the Hofmann Forest,” said Ed Sweeten, Executive Vice President at RMS.

Hofmann Forest was purchased in 1934 by the North Carolina Forestry Foundation Inc. The Foundation, today known as the NC State Natural Resources Foundation, gifted the land to the NC State Endowment Fund in 1977 for the exclusive purpose of benefiting the College of Natural Resources. The NC State Endowment Fund, an entity that is separate from the university but exists to provide financial support to it, holds title to the property.

Founded in 1950, Resource Management Service LLC (RMS) is a global timberland investment manager with significant expertise in all phases of institutional timberland investing. RMS is a registered investment advisor managing $4.4 billion in timberlands for retirement plans, endowments, foundations and other financial institutions.  Owned and managed by forestry professionals, RMS is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices across the U.S. South, in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, and China.