Yes, The Minnesota DNR Will Pay You For Your Pine Cones Right Now
You might have a bunch of them in your yard right now, but instead of bagging them up or taking them to the compost site, did you know the Minnesota DNR could PAY you for your pine cones?
It's true. I mean, it's not too often the trees in your yard here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes can make you money, but that's the case now if you have an excess of black spruce pine cones in your yard. But, yes, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forest Nursery says they'll pay you for your black spruce pine cones right now.
It's all part of their plan to keep Minnesota's state forests healthy and strong and assist in reforestation efforts across the state. I first heard about the program a few winters ago, and it's pretty cool: The DNR buys cones from citizens across the state and they then use those cones to help reseed over 5,000 acres of forests here in Minnesota.
And right now, pine cones from black spruce trees are in 'especially high demand.' That's the word from the DNR's Forestry Silviculture Program Coordinator, Mike Reinikainen.
“We rely very heavily on the public to supply seeds and cones to the State Forest Nursery,” Reinikainen said in a DNR release. “Gathering seeds and cones is a great outdoor fall activity that helps produce future forests, plus it’s a good way to make some extra money.”
They're currently paying between $20 - $150/bushel, depending on the type of cone, the DNR said. They also said that it's best to pick those pine cones directly off the tree, as fallen cones and seeds are likely not viable. The following video has more information on how to identify and collect seeds and pine cones from black spruce trees:
And, while the DNR is specifically looking for those black spruce cones right now, did you know the DNR regularly buys seeds and cones from a variety of other trees? They do. But before you head out to your yard and start picking up various cones and seeds, the DNR says there are a few restrictions.
You'll want to first check in with the DNR forestry office nearest you before you collect any cones or seeds. They can give you a list of tree species they're accepting, as well as quantities and the dates and times seeds will be purchased. You can get more information about the program HERE.
And while you're out there foraging for pine cones, beware of snakes. Wait, what? While Minnesota may not be known as a state with a lot of snakes (like some out west are), did you know there are 17 species of snakes that call Minnesota home? Keep scrolling to check 'em out!