Minnesota DNR is again paying for tree cones, seeds

The Minnesota DNR is paying people for the tree cones and seeds they collect.  (Minnesota DNR)

You can get paid to be out in nature by collecting tree cones and seeds in Minnesota. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forestry Division will pay anywhere from $20 to $150 for cones and seeds. 

"Over the last few years, the number of collectors has decreased and we are in critical need of black spruce cones," said Sarah Ebert, State Forest Nursery manager. "We pay people $100 per bushel, which is about nine gallons of cones. Collecting black spruce now is a great way to earn some cash before the holidays."

How does the program work? 

The DNR's has a cone and seed collection map on its website, where you can identify drop-off locations near you. Then, call those locations to ask what they're looking for and how much you can make. 

Prices differ according to tree species. The DNR says it is in "critical need of black spruce cones."

The DNR says, "Only high-quality, ripe, closed black spruce cones free of stems and debris are eligible for purchase. Colorado blue, white, or Norway spruce cones are not accepted. The window to collect and sell viable black spruce cones is open now through February 2024."

Why does the DNR need cones and seeds? 

The DNR's website says the seeds and cones collected play a "crucial role" in the reforestation of state forests, parks, and private lands across Minnesota. 

The DNR needs help collecting local seeds "to grow trees adapted to our climate and produce more resilient forests," the DNR's website says, noting the DNR's forestry nursery depends on the public to maintain the seed supply.