As We See It: Inspiration

February 10th, 2015

March 2015

Mike AlbrechtBy Mike Albrecht, 2014 American Loggers Council Activist of the Year

It is a distinct privilege to address all of you great loggers through the American Loggers Council Newsletter. I’d like to start my comments with an abbreviated version of a speech I’ve written for President Obama, or Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, or anyone in a high ranking office that can muster an audience. It goes something like this:

“America is truly a country of great achievement. Nothing underscores this more than a quick review of some facts. America leads the world in food production. Today, U.S. farmers export 45% of their wheat, 34% of their soybeans and 71% of their almonds. In 2011, U.S. farmers produced $388 billion of goods, with approximately one third of that being exported. America truly helps feed the world.

             In the 1970’s, America decided it was time to shed its reliance on foreign oil. The American people said, “Enough is enough,” and Washington was listening. Today America is undergoing a revolution in energy production, a revolution so dynamic that the International Energy Agency predicts that the U.S. will surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer by the end of this year.

             America’s pride of achievement is showcased in so many other fields, including space exploration, medicine, and athletic prowess.

             Today I’d like to issue a challenge to an industry that helped build this country, an industry that produced the railroad ties that linked our country together, and provides the raw material that builds our homes, our schools, and our offices. Today, this great industry, the timber industry, is languishing. America leads in exporting so many goods and services to the world, and yet is now the second leading importer of lumber in the world (we were number one up until 2012, when China became the leading importer). California, the Golden State, blessed with over 33 million acres of forestland imports over 75% of its wood products.

             How can this be? One third of our nation is covered in forestland. We have arguably the best growing climate for timber production in the world. Our timber industry is second to none when it comes to technological know-how and work ethic.

             When the American people put their heart and soul into something, they achieve it. It’s time to bring homegrown timber products back to our hardware stores and lumberyards. If we all work together, America can become a leading exporter of timber-related goods and services. We should not accept anything less.” 2011 ALC logo b&w

If that speech was given, could we rise to the challenge of retooling and expanding our industry? Does the United States have access to enough homegrown timber to feed our annual lumber appetite of 40 – 65 billion board feet a year? The answer is, “Yes we do – in spades.”

According to data from the Western Wood Products Association and the Forest Service Inventory and Analysis Group, the standing net volume in America’s forests is approaching 2.25 trillion board feet. Annual growth on this inventory is approximately 150 billion board feet. This easily meets our nation’s lumber demand. The truth is, the United States has 750 million acres of forestland growing enough timber to meet our own lumber needs, export billions of board feet to other countries, while continually adding inventory to our forests.

In addition to prodigious timber growth, two-thirds of our nation’s drinking water comes from our forests. On average, once acre of trees annually consumes the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to that produced by driving an average car for 26,000 miles. That same acre of trees also produces enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe for a year.

Economically, there is no better investment than forestry. Every $1 million invested in forestry creates approximately 40 jobs. That is almost double the next highest investment sector of mass transit and freight rail construction where $1 million invested creates approximately 22 jobs.

Unfortunately, these facts are not what I hear talked about at the landing, at coffee shops, or at conventions and meetings. Instead, it’s usually acres burned, mills closed, government regulations, environmental lawsuits, and jobs lost. The Associated California Loggers just finished our annual meeting. At an evening banquet, my wife, Vicki, looked around the room of 250 plus folks and said, “Wow, there are a lot of young people here.” There were indeed young loggers and their wives, many sitting with their moms and dads.

These young people are hungry for inspiration, and our association, the American Loggers Council, must remain the prime source of that inspiration. We need to talk more about acres harvested, mills reopened, new laws to support our industry, and environmental groups that support our goal of healthy forests.

For the older generation, our charge is to inspire this new generation of loggers to continue not only to work hard and smart, but to understand and promote the proud and positive facts about our forests and our industry. Let’s face it, if we are going to rejuvenate America’s timber industry, it will be on their watch. With their help, America can trade the stigma of being a leading lumber importer with her overgrown forests burning to the ground, for the pride of supplying lumber to the world.

Mike Albrecht is co-owner of Sierra Resource Management, Inc., located in Jamestown, California. Mike was selected as the American Loggers Council National Logger Activist of the Year in 2014. For more information, please contact the ALC office at 409-625-0206 or e-mail at americanlogger@aol.com.

As We See It: Better Business Practices

February 10th, 2015

February 2015

Myles AndersonBy Myles Anderson, ALC President

Being in the logging business has always meant long hours away from home, hard work and a special fulfillment associated with accomplishing things most couldn’t dream of. As a business owner regardless of the industry, there are specific items that demand attention; cost of operations, a safe work environment, well maintained equipment, productive employees, just to mention a few. At times regardless of the amount of attention paid, problems can occur and a business owner must be prepared to deal with them.   Unfortunately there are also cases where less than honest business practices can prevent an honest business owner from being able to compete on a level playing field.

Operating in one of the most dangerous industries in the country forces any good business managers to closely watch all business practice that adds to their overall liability. Any business in the Timber Harvesting industry should be a Corporation, LLC or some other structure that would limit an owner’s personal liability. If your business is not classified in this manner, it would be well worth your while to look into making a change. If you use subcontractors for falling timber, hauling logs or other activities then a well thought out and legally binding Subcontractor Agreement must be in place. If your Insurance companies have not already talked to you about this then I would contact them or your State Association for more information on the subject.

Understanding the legalities of a subcontractor’s role in your business is very important information, and at the end of the day, knowledge and the associated response are the things that separate a successful business from the others. A subcontractor is not privileged to the benefits that your company may give to employees such as health care, retirement, your workman’s compensation coverage or coverage under your liability insurance policy. A subcontractor is told where to do the work but not how to do it, and must possess the necessary tools required for the job. Ignoring the legality of this responsibility may in the short term provide an advantage in securing work, in the long run when the lawyers, insurance companies and injured third parties have their day in court, I for one would not want to hide behind ignorance of the law as my defense.

A fair bid process is one that would put cost control and production as the primary factors that dictate the outcome; however that is not always the case. Understanding the law and the liability associated with having subcontractors working for you is critical. As a business owner you cannot provide tools to a subcontractor to perform a service and at the same time enjoy the benefits of a subcontractor relationship, the same is true for the entity you may work for.ALC Logo color

As the need for fiber increases, and we all hope it does, the path to get our products to consumers will be an interesting one. Laws have been put in place and continue to govern us as a country however some businesses tend to operate with comfort in the grey area. As an industry it seems the timber harvesting community has always put their heads down and worked harder and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, assuming they are compensated appropriately. Fiber supply and consuming businesses are operated for a profit, just as we the producers do, some do it legally and some operate in the grey area.

Business practices are merely decisions that are made by individuals and if your business is run in the most ethical way you know, then you can look yourself in the mirror every day and be proud of what you’ve accomplished. I like to believe that in most cases, the CEOs of the companies that operate in the grey area are not completely aware of what is going on under them. One can only hope that these people that cannot look in the mirror with pride will be replaced with managers that can. Unethical business practices are not a sustainable business model. If we are to succeed as an industry it will be due to our character, the trust we have established and positive working relationships.

 Myles Anderson is the current President of the American Loggers Council and he and his father Mike own and operate Anderson Logging, Inc. based out of Fort Bragg, CA.

As We See It: Experience Matters

December 6th, 2014

January 2015

Myles AndersonBy Myles Anderson, ALC President

Logging equipment can come in all different sizes, shapes, colors and ages. Equipment can be old, new, dirty or clean. Machines can cut down trees, skid them, process them and put them on a truck, but one thing they all have in common is that they need a skilled operator to make them productive.

Daily costs may vary across the country depending on what kind of logging is taking place but production is what drives cost, and everyone must be concerned with cost of production. Cost can be measured per ton or thousand board feet, but in either case production is the most important factor and it can be tracked right back to the quality and experience of employees operating the equipment.

Logging has shifted towards mechanization across the country and employing and retaining experienced equipment operators is a necessity, however they are also a necessity to the construction, oil and gas, and any other industry whose business requires the use of heavy equipment.

Anyone who has operated equipment knows what level of coordination and concentration is required to run an excavator or a bulldozer, but what about a processor that falls, limbs and bucks a tree to very tight tolerances. Tolerances that if not met may result in penalties, and loss of revenue. Are the people that are operating these highly sophisticated and expensive machines compensated more than someone that operates an excavator on a highway project?

A little research on the Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a pretty clear picture of where we have been. The data is a little sketchy prior to 1999 so let’s use that as a starting point for comparison. In 1999 the mean annual income for a logging equipment operator was $25,390. Fast forward to 2013 and the mean annual income for the same operator was $34,700. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also had an inflation calculator and when the 1999 wage of $25,390 was plugged in out came a 2013 wage of $35,502, showing that we have not even kept up with inflation. We are paying operators less today then we were in 1999 and the equipment is much more complex to operate.

For comparison a construction equipment operator in the same tables was making $34,760 in 1999 and $48,605 in 2013. Good, hardworking productive employees are going to go where they are best compensated for their work; this is why we constantly hear about logging companies trying to train new equipment operators in house. Conversations are abundant about the rising cost of fuel, insurance, and equipment but what we should be talking about is how we can pay our employees more so that they will stay in the forest products industry. Hard working men and women have a distinct trait that cannot be taught, and if not appreciated and compensated for those traits, they often go somewhere else2011 ALC logo b&w.

In a fantasy world we could simply print money as is the case with our Federal government. The change in SIC code 901 for federal employee’s shows the median annual income in 1999 was $43,600 and in 2013 it rose to $71,700. Inflation during the period would put their 1999 wage at $60,950 in 2013. Next time a federal employee tells you how hard they are working you can remind them that they are getting well compensated for that work.

Loggers are being asked to increase production as our economy slowly improves. As the number of inexperienced people entering the work force grows; so will our exposure to accidents and possibly poor public perception of the industry. Productivity losses resulting in higher production costs may also be experienced unless we train and retain good employees. Our industry will be much better served by keeping the experienced employees we currently have and augmenting them with new, trained, professional and reliable employees. How this industry deals with their employees will, for good or bad, reflect on each of us. If we do not work together to attract and retain employees with pay rates that are comparable to similar trades, we will continue to lose good people to higher paying industries.

 

 Myles Anderson is the current President of the American Loggers Council and he and his father Mike own and operate Anderson Logging, Inc. based out of Fort Bragg, CA.

 The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c) (6) corporation representing professional timber harvesters in 30 states across the US. For more information, visit their web site at www.americanloggers.org or contact their office at 409-625-0206.

As We See It: Perception

November 26th, 2014

December 2014

Myles AndersonBy Myles Anderson, ALC President

Perception is complex constructions of simple elements joined through association and is subject to the influence of learning. Perception can result from a catastrophic event or a description provided by someone you trust.

When it comes to professional timber harvesters, perception is all over the board. Absent education, a bad or false perception will linger forever. There are many people in this country that would be content if trees were never harvested again; they are comfortable in their perception that boards come from the lumber yards, not from the forest.

The United States has more forested acres today than 100 years ago; this can be credited to many factors including our industries interest in sustainability. Few people understand this and education is needed to change this perception. Our industry has done a poor job of educating the public whether by word or deed. During this same period the environmental industry has done a great job distorting the facts and fueling their coffers on people’s emotions.

If in fact environmental standards were the leading factor governing fiber purchase, the public would demand a halt to fiber importation into this country. The general public seems to like the idea of the regulatory environment we are burdened with as they approve of all these layers of Government oversight. The market place proves that they are equally concerned with the cost of the products we produce. This leaves our industry trying to figure out how to cover the cost associated with these regulations and continue to compete in a worldwide market. Many simple things can be done to help the public better understand how our industry supplies fiber to the market place in an environmentally sound manner. The public needs to recognize we operate under the most stringent rules anywhere in the world.2011 ALC logo b&w

Loggers are stubborn people, overly optimistic, and for some odd reason relish doing things others say can’t be done.   Forty years ago working harder could bring about positive results, but that is not necessarily true anymore. Loggers today spend too much time concerned with where the next job will come from, instead of what all businesses should be concerned with, whether or not it makes good business sense to take it. Our concern over “surviving” until the next job or logging season distract us from the real need to educate the public in order to retain our “social” license to operate.

Perception can be influenced through education and it is up to us because we understand what it takes to harvest timber in this country. First, we need to insure that our fellow loggers all have the best business tools to deal with the environment we are working in. Second the timber harvesting community needs to educate everyone we come in contact with on exactly what it is that we do, the quality of our work, and the reasons we do it. No one else is going to do this for us, so we must be proactive when it comes to educating others and don’t let these opportunities slip by. We, after all, are the ones that cut down the trees, making it is easy to point a finger at us and call us the bad guys. The public needs to understand that we do it while meeting burdensome environmental regulations and all of the other associated rules and regulations that go into operating a business in this country. We are a lucky industry because we work with renewable resources that if managed correctly will be around forever, not all industries can say the same.

With the holidays upon us I hope it gives the timber harvesting community time to think about where our industry is, and where we are going. I hope that consideration will be given to educating others this coming year on exactly what it is we do out in the woods each and every day. We can be a community that cuts down trees or we can be a dedicated industry of environmental stewards working hard to sustain a renewable resource and provide jobs that ensure livelihoods to families and communities. Perception means a lot to children and adults seeking more information on this subject and we need to do a better job of educating everyone, including those we work for, on what it is we do.

Happy Holidays.

Myles Anderson is the current President of the American Loggers Council and he and his father Mike own and operate Anderson Logging, Inc. based out of Fort Bragg, CA.

 

As We See It: 20 Years and Counting

October 28th, 2014

November 2014

Myles AndersonBy Myles Anderson, ALC President

Twenty Years ago cell phones were sold as bags and could only make calls, the U.S. Forest Service harvested almost 5 Billion Board Feet and the American Loggers Council was formed by 40 upset Loggers in St. Louis, Missouri. While much has changed over the years, the willingness of many Loggers to represent the thousands across the Country has not waivered and continues to build the American Loggers Council into a great organization.

The twentieth annual meeting of the American Loggers Council held in Escanaba Michigan has come and gone. A special presentation was made to all of the former Presidents and it allowed for each to say their piece about the formation and the path of the ALC. Mike Crouse from Loggers World spoke very descriptively of the first meeting, and the trials and tribulations that went into forming the ALC. There was much to reflect on with the 20 year history and clearly some of the issues that brought Loggers together then are still bringing them together today. The ALC has grown in its 20 years and I hope that we can continue that growth moving forward, building strength and increasing our umbrella as “the National Voice for Professional Loggers.”

We must all continue working to make the Timber Harvesting portion of our industry a profession.   There are many in our industry that are happy to sit by and let others do this work for them, but I believe through the growth and understanding of ALC that this will change. I hope that as more Timber Harvesting Professionals come to understand what the ALC is about their participation will increase. Our strength is in a common message supported by large numbers, and we must continue to build alliances with other National Organizations. The ability to be active at the National level is in each of our own hands as Professional Loggers in this Country. The American Loggers Council has, through great leadership, become a strong organization with many doors opening to it; however, it needs the support of all the fiber producing States to be as strong as possible.ALC Logo color

There was a panel at this year’s meeting that put 3 loggers at the table, one from Florida, one from Michigan and one from California. The questions revolved around what the loggers thought were opportunities and what were threats to their ability to successfully operate a logging business. The threats occupied much of the discussion and were focused on regulation, workforce and markets. While the geographic location of the loggers was much different, the threats were very similar. While we all have regional issues there are many issues facing Loggers on a National level. This National stage is where the ALC can help so long as we are united.

Moving forward the ALC has many issues that are being worked on and many more that we hope to be working on soon. The ALC continues to be requested for testimony by various committees in Washington DC as issues arise that will impact fiber production in this country.

The ALC is knee deep in legislation, meetings, conference calls and everything else as we fight off the constant barrage of issues coming out of Washington DC. This work is vitally important to our industry, but cannot be done without the financial assistance of the ALC’s great Sponsors. Please go to our Web Site, www.americanloggers.org, to see a list of the Sponsors that contribute to the ALC which in turn allows us to represent Loggers in Washington, DC. If you do business with any of these Sponsors please thank them, as it is their support that allows for our activism.

If you are a Logger in a State with a Logging Association, I ask that you join it. If you are already a member of your State or Regional Logging Association, thank you. If your state does not have an association then join the American Loggers Council as an Individual Logger Member and stand with us. I look forward to working with all the great leaders in this industry that are currently involved with the ALC and hopefully some new ones in the coming year as we continue to build our strength as Professional Timber Harvesters. Please stand with us and be heard, if our industry is to prosper we must increase our activism.

Myles Anderson is the current President of the American Loggers Council and he and his father Mike own and operate Anderson Logging, Inc. based out of Fort Bragg, CA.

The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c) (6) corporation representing professional timber harvesters in 30 states across the US. For more information, visit their web site at www.americanloggers.org or contact their office at 409-625-0206.

As We See It: Leadership

September 9th, 2014

October 2014

2013-2014 ALC President Brian NelsonBy Brian Nelson, ALC President

The success of any organization or business is directly related to the quality of its leadership. No matter how good of a product you produce, service you provide, or vision you have, you still need the leadership of quality individuals to pull it all together.

Looking back at the leadership that the American Loggers Council (ALC) has enjoyed over the years and the strides that have been made-I can’t help but feel proud to have been a part of the vision that our founders had for the ALC. That vision being a “National Voice for Professional Loggers” in this country. The ALC has accomplished many things over the past twenty years through the hard work and dedication of some of the finest loggers (and individuals) this country has to offer.

I’ve always believed it was far more productive to build upon successes as opposed to trying to “reinvent the wheel” and that has been a constant through the years with the ALC leadership-building upon what those before them had started. Few things, especially in the legislative arena, can be resolved in the short span of one’s term as ALC President making it all the more important to build upon those successes.

It’s hard to believe that my term as ALC President is nearly over but as that time nears I look back at what we all accomplished and question if we could have done more for our nation’s loggers. We all strive to do more, unfortunately that is not always possible for one reason or another.ALC Logo color

We have had a very productive year nonetheless, primarily on the legislative front. After seventeen years we were finally successful in getting our truck weight language of “state legal tolerances on interstate highways” introduced into legislation, while it may not go anywhere this Legislative session, we do have a bill now and will continue to work on this issue. Also we were able to get a bill drafted and introduced in both the U.S. House and the Senate to allow children of logging company owners to begin careers in the industry at the age of 16. Neither of these issues are “done deals” and both are going to take a concerted effort by all in the industry to get signed into law but I’m confident we can get it done. These are just a couple of the many issues that the ALC has been working on this past year.

The ALC has been fortunate to have had the leadership they have had over the years and I count myself lucky to have been able to work with many of them. I am proud to have been a small part in what ALC has been able to accomplish over the years and am completely confident in its future because of the leadership we have coming up in the next few years.

As I am writing this month’s article plans are well underway for this year’s ALC Annual meeting to be held at the Island Resort and Casino in Harris, Michigan. This will be a special homecoming- since the very first ALC Annual meeting in 1994, we will be returning to Michigan for our twentieth anniversary. My wife, Maureen and I are excited to showcase the beauty of the Great Lakes and the fall colors of the U.P. and look forward to seeing you all in our neck of the woods.

It has been an honor and a privilege to represent Michigan and all the professional loggers of this country as the ALC president.

Thanks to all for the support and encouragement this past year, it was and is truly appreciated.

Until next time,

LOG SAFE

Brian Nelson

Brian Nelson is the current President of the American Loggers Council and he and his brother David own and operate Marvin Nelson Forest Products, Inc. based out of Cornell, Michigan.

The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c) (6) corporation representing professional timber harvesters in 30 states across the US. For more information, visit their web site at www.americanloggers.org or contact their office at 409-625-0206.

 

PLC Member, Trees Ltd., Showcased at MESAF Workshop

August 27th, 2014

Two years ago, the Greater Augusta Utility District (GAUD) hired JM Forestry and PLC Member, Trees LTD, to manage and harvest the watershed property around Carleton Pond in Readfield, Maine. The harvesting occurred during two winters, including mud season, along Routes 17 and 135, and concentrated on the “beauty strip” along the roads. Care was taken during the height of mud season to also keep the public road clean where the trucks exited the landings.

The lead presenter will be Jake Maier, Consulting Forester in Orland; joined by Brian Tarbuck, GM of GAUD, and Will Cole, VP of Trees LTD and PLC Board Member, who was responsible for the on-the-ground operations.

Discussion points will include:

  • Single tree and Group Selection, necessities in a “vacation land?”
  • Does good forestry have to look good?
  • Whole tree harvest in a selection cut–a paradox?
  • Financial aspect of an intensive selection cut.

September 11th, 2014

Greater Augusta Utility District Carleton Pond Watershed

Intersection of Route 17 and 135, Readfield, Maine

For more information:

Visit: mesaf.org
or
contact:
Laura Audibert
11 Leopold St.
Fort Kent, ME  04743
207-834-6773
la4568@roadrunner.com

As We See It: It Just Makes Sense

August 6th, 2014

September 2014

ALC Exec VP Danny DructorBy Danny Dructor, ALC Executive Vice-President

For seventeen years, members of the American Loggers Council have been making trips to Washington, DC, promoting the idea that trucks hauling state legal weight limits for agricultural commodities, including unrefined forest products, should be allowed to access the Federal Interstate Highway System, and for seventeen years, this common-sense approach to standardizing weight limits within state boundaries has gone unnoticed, until now!

On July 24, 2014, Congressman Steve Southerland from Florida introduced the Right To Haul Act of 2014, H.R. 5201, that if passed would do just that, allow these loads access to the Interstate Highway System as long as they do not exceed individual State weight limitations.

The language is simple, “…individual State weight limitations for an agricultural commodity that are applicable to State highways shall be applicable to the Interstate System within the State’s borders for vehicles carrying an agricultural commodity.”

An agricultural commodity in the Bill is defined as, “…any agricultural commodity (including horticulture, aquaculture, and floriculture), food feed fiber, forestry products, livestock (including elk, reindeer, bison, horses, or deer), or insects and any product thereof.”ALC Logo color

What does this mean for the logging industry? Several things. First, you will now be able to transport your state legal roads on a safer and more efficient route to the mill or processing facility, avoiding the intersections in town and communities where vehicle and pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur. Second, your loads will be hauled on infrastructure that is oftentimes much better than the secondary roads found in the state and county, and third, when you travel through a weight station along the Interstate, as long as you meet the state legal requirements of the state you are hauling in, you will not be fined for an overweight load.

There are many states that already have in place weight tolerances for agricultural commodities, and allowing those loads on the Federal Interstate Highway System helps to standardize state and federal policies and improves the overall safety to the general motoring public. One key element of the Bill is that it does not require the States to change their existing regulations. This has been a deterrent of other attempts to change weight limits on the Interstate as oftentimes the States and Counties simply do not have the available funds to bring secondary roads up to the level where they can support heavier loads. You might get a bill that allows 97,000 pounds on the Interstate, but the question remains, how do you get it there?

We thank Congressman Southerland for introducing the Right to Haul Act of 2014 and request that you seek the support of your members of Congress in seeing that H .R. 5201 is passed in both the House and the Senate. It just make sense!

Danny Dructor is the Executive Vice-President of the American Loggers Council. The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c) (6) corporation representing professional timber harvesters in 30 states across the US. For more information, visit their web site at www.americanloggers.org or contact their office at 409-625-0206.

As We See It: Social Hypocrisy

August 6th, 2014

August 2014

2013-2014 ALC President Brian NelsonBy Brian Nelson, ALC President

Do you know where the products you use and the food that you eat come from? Chances are good that if you live in rural America then you probably do. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans who live outside of rural America have no clue where the products they use come from, nor do they want to know, either out of ignorance or out of a sense of ideology that somehow they are protecting our planet.

Recently I saw a flyer in our local paper for a national pharmacy chain where they were advertising “tree free” products that they were now carrying. After seeing this flyer I couldn’t help but wonder how many other companies were catering to this “green movement” because it is the “in” thing to do. For many, the belief is that timber harvests lead to the destruction of the environment and our planet even though science has proven that sustainably managed timber harvests do the exact opposite because a well-managed forest is a healthy forest. Many times the science is irrelevant to these people as it is more of a cause to believe in than what is proven right or wrong.

We’ve all seen or heard of numerous examples – from animal rights activists who eat meat or wear leather to the tree huggers who use countless products that are derived from wood. The example that I find the most ironic are the movie stars or recording artists who use fame as an opportunity to get on their soap box to spout rhetoric on how they’re so concerned about global warming or the environment as they get aboard their private jets – or how they object to commercial timber harvesting and yet they build these multi-million dollar mansions.

Hypocrisy is the first word that comes to mind! ALC Logo color

There will always be those that say one thing publicly and do just the opposite privately. Many of our elected officials have made a career out of doing just that over the years by catering to the votes. The problem is that these are the people that are making decisions or influencing the decision making process that affects the lives of all of us who work in natural resource related fields or live in rural America. For every one of us who lives, works, or recreates in rural America, there are countless more that do not, yet they are making decisions that affect how we live or work because they have the numbers.

The farming community has overcome many of the same issues in the past by educating the public on what they do and why they do it. The public’s perception of a given industry may not always be positive or correct but it is powerful. If the timber industry is
ever to be perceived for anything but what it is now, we must all do our part to educate the public and our elected officials on what we do and why we do it. Every person in this country uses products derived from wood in one fashion or another every day whether they care to admit it or not.

If we all made a concerted effort to educate those that either don’t like our industry or just don’t understand it then just maybe the next decision they make regarding it will be positive rather than negative.

Until Next Time,

LOG SAFE

Brian Nelson

Brian Nelson is the current President of the American Loggers Council and he and his brother David and father Marvin own and operate Marvin Nelson Forest Products, Inc. based out of Cornell, Michigan.

The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c) (6) corporation representing professional timber harvesters in 30 states across the US. For more information, visit their web site at www.americanloggers.org or contact their office at 409-625-0206.

As We See It: Youth Careers in Logging

August 6th, 2014

July 2014

2013-2014 ALC President Brian NelsonBy Brian Nelson, ALC President

Are you concerned about the future of the timber industry? If not, you are most likely in the minority. Mill closures, mergers, high cost of raw materials, shortage of qualified operators, the constant barrage of government regulations, and the overall high cost of running a business today are just a few of the many hurdles that we all must navigate in order to stay afloat. While the American Loggers Council (ALC) can’t solve all these issues, they are currently working on many of them and will continue to do so into the future.

When my term as ALC President started last fall, I listed a set of goals that I wanted to accomplish. The issue at the top of that list was to address the entrance of the next generation of timber harvesters into our industry. In order for this industry to survive, we must have a qualified and competent work force to not only operate equipment but to also take over the reins of running the business when the current owner decides to step away. This issue is one that the ALC has been working on for a number of years now and just started to gain some momentum with the introduction of H.R.4590 and S.2335.

The Future Logging Careers Act – H.R.4590 was introduced by Rep. Labrador (R-ID ) while the Youth Careers In Logging Act -S.2335 was introduced by Sen. Risch (R-ID) and Sen.Crapo (R-ID ). Both of these bills would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 so that 16 and 17 year olds would be allowed to work in mechanized logging operations under parental supervision.2011 ALC logo b&w

Timber harvesting operations are similar to family farms – but with sophisticated and expensive harvesting equipment that requires young men and women to learn how to run the business, including equipment operation, maintenance and safety prior to the age of 18. However, young men and women in families who own and operate timber harvesting companies are denied the opportunity to work and learn the family trade until they reach adulthood. The potential next generation of professional timber harvesters are being denied the opportunity to make logging their career of choice until after they turn 18 because of outdated Child Labor Law Regulations while the agriculture industry is exempt from said regulations.

While much progress has been made in just the last couple of months, there is still a lot of work to be done if we want to see these bills passed into law. A vast majority of bills introduced in Congress end up dying in committee, so it is critical that we all do our part to ensure that these bills are passed out of committee and eventually signed into law.

Regardless of whether you work as a logger, work in a mill, or work for a timber company this issue has the potential to affect the entire wood supply chain because as current loggers leave the business there needs to be a new generation coming in or eventually our industry will cease to exist.

H.R.4590 has been referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce while S.2335 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

It is imperative that we contact directly as many House and Senate offices as possible and ask them to support the bill, so please pass this alert along to anyone who you feel is willing to respond, including other organizations and vendors who you do business with. We will need a majority in both the House and Senate to pass the bill once it comes to the floor for a vote!

If you are unsure of who your congressional delegates are then please contact the ALC office or go to the ALC website to find their contact information. I urge everyone in the timber industry to either make a call or send an email to their respective Senate and House members to get them to support this very important issue to our industry. The more Senate and House members hear from us the more likely they will be to support this and the more of them that support this the better chance we have of moving it forward.

Until next time,
Log Safe

Brian Nelson

Brian Nelson is the current President of the American Loggers Council and he and his brother David and father Marvin own and operate Marvin Nelson Forest Products, Inc. based out of Cornell, Michigan.

The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c) (6) corporation representing professional timber harvesters in 30 states across the US. For more information, visit their web site at www.americanloggers.org or contact their office at 409-625-0206.


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