The Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine will conduct its first comprehensive economic impact study of Maine’s logging industry over the next year with support from the Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement program and the University of Maine.
Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement has awarded an $8,000 grant to the PLC to support the study. The remaining balance of $12,000 will be provided through in-kind contributions from the PLC and University of Maine.
“The PLC of Maine is very fortunate to have the support of Farm Credit Northeast for such an ambitious review of the impact of our industry,” said Dana Doran, PLC Executive Director. “This economic impact study will be very important to not only quantifying the economics of logging, but telling a larger story of its importance to the Maine economy.”
While many studies have been conducted to determine the broad impact of the larger forest products industry in Maine, few have provided specific data on the contribution of logging to the state’s economy. This is largely because logging tends to be small compared to the overall forest products sector, and there is a large predominance of sole proprietors, making data collection and estimation time consuming.
The principal need for the planned study is to raise public awareness of the economic value that logging provides to Maine. The study will include figures on wood harvesting production, employment, capital spending, and auxiliary jobs to estimate this value. Better awareness and knowledge will ultimately lead to greater public support for the logging industry and will also help shape state and federal policy related to logging for the future.
Logging provides a significant value to the forest products industry that is often masked by its larger segments. Providing data that proves the total economic impact for the logging industry will help logging move forward as an industry and gain recognition in Maine as very important for the long term health and sustainability of the forest products industry.
The PLC plans to conduct survey mailings and complete data collection for the study by November of this year, with analysis and preliminary results completed by December 31. The goal is final publication, distribution and marketing to be completed by June 30, 2016.
Maine’s loggers are a vital part of the state’s forest products sector, which is worth an estimated $8 billion annually. By marketing the results of the logging-specific survey the PLC and supporting partners will be increasing awareness and understanding of the logging industry and promoting it in Maine and throughout the region.
Each year, Northeast agricultural credit associations and CoBank award grants to help organizations promote awareness of agriculture in the six New England states, New York and New Jersey. Funds are provided as part of the Northeast Farm Credit AgEnhancement program, an ongoing educational campaign that supports programs, projects, events, and other activities that promote and strengthen agriculture, forest products or commercial fishing industries in the region.
Since its inception in 1996, the Farm Credit AgEnhancement Program has awarded over $1 million in grants to organizations across the Northeast. This program is a combined effort of Farm Credit East, Yankee Farm Credit and CoBank.
Learn more about the Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement program here: https://www.farmcrediteast.com/Industry-Support/AgEnhancement-Grants.aspx.
Founded in 1995 with a handful of members who were concerned about the future of the industry, the PLC has grown steadily to become a statewide trade association which provides independent logging contractors a voice in the rapidly changing forest products industry. Board membership consists of only loggers, making it an organization that is run by loggers on behalf of loggers. PLC members are responsible for 75 percent of the timber that is harvested from Maine’s forests annually.
Learn more about the PLC at www.maineloggers.com.