Peterson Timber Inc.

Cottonwood, California

Peterson Timber Inc.

Cottonwood, California

Humble Beginnings 

With a goal to make the world a better place one tree at a time, Zane Peterson leads the way each day. 

A Redding native, Zane owns Peterson Timber Inc., a fuel reduction business for preventing forest fires, located in Tehama County. In his line of work, he aims to thin the forest to help with forest management and has diversified to include contract logging and harvesting, orchard and brush removal, as well as land clearing services. 

Established in 2016, when Zane was a sophomore in college, Peterson Timber capitalized on a big opportunity. While working as a log buyer for a small-scale sawmill, he learned a local power plant needed wood chips. Thanks to connections he had made, he decided to seize the opportunity and start Peterson Timber.   

Stewarding The Land, One Tree at a Time 

Zane teams up with Sierra Pacific Industries and CalFire to space out the bigger trees to help forest conditions thrive and reduce the damage done by a possible fire. Simultaneously, he helps provide power to homes and businesses every day by turning the removed trees into biomass woodchips and selling them to a local cogen plant.  

“We already have these great machines, that are called trees, that take in CO2 and create oxygen,” Zane said. “When those trees are stagnated and growing slow, they’re not taking in as much carbon. When we’re out here thinning the forest, we’re allowing the natural system to work better to clean more carbon out of the air.” 

On top of that, the environmental benefits abound. By removing the larger trees, brush can grow for wildlife to eat. More water can run through the aquifers and the habitat can go back into its more natural state from over 100 years ago. 

“People don’t realize, often times the forest that they’re looking at, the reason they’re there and still green is because there was logging and there was forest management,” he said.  

Growing a Workforce  

When Zane began operations, he did not realize the positive impact the logging industry also has on providing jobs in Northern California.  

“For every load that goes down the hill, there’s five or six people that touch that,” Zane said. “At the end of the day, our company supports between 75 and 100 jobs in northern California and provides an economic impact of $10-15 million per year.”  

Farm Credit: A Trusted Lender 

One of the most challenging aspects of starting a business in his 20s was finding the capital needed to start the business. At first, Peterson Timber was a brokering business because Zane did not have the funds to purchase a log loader and drum chipper. Then Golden State Farm Credit stepped in.  

“When we started, we just needed two pieces of equipment to go, and Farm Credit was able to do that for us, and that really gave us the foothold at the right time to propel our business to what it is now,” Zane said. 

Zane was eligible for Farm Credit’s young, beginning, small farmer program, which provides support to the next generation of agriculturists, like Zane, entering the agricultural industry, expanding or transferring a current operation. 

For many financing institutions, believing in Zane’s vision is not something that is easily understood. For Golden State Farm Credit, it just made sense.  

“A lot of banks, I couldn’t tell that story to,” Zane said. “With Farm Credit, I was able to tell the story of our business.”