Posts Tagged ‘Paper / Forest Products’

As We See It: WHYDFML – What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

By Brian Nelson, ALC President

I’m sure most everyone has heard this phrase in some form or another during their lifetime and many have quite possibly even used it themselves. It is one of those phrases that is used all too often today in a multitude of situations but for the sake of this article it will be in reference to State, Regional, and National logging trade associations.

What are they doing for you?

In very simple terms, they are your “voice” and they represent you and other like minded individuals on a variety of topics. Our associations represent us and our interests by attending meetings, monitoring legislation and testifying before committees on our behalf -just to name a few. The saying “there is strength in numbers” is especially true when it comes to trade associations. Take any issue your association is working on and try to get the same impact on an individual basis as your association gets from one person representing its entire membership.

I once read that when times are tough one of the first budget items cut for many businesses is advertising. Actually, this is when they need advertising the most.

That same line of thinking holds true for membership dues to trade associations. When times are good -membership increases allowing associations to do more, but when membership drops due to economic downturn, the associations will not be able to offer the same level of service previously offered- and that is when it will be needed more than ever.

At a recent meeting the discussion turned to how to increase membership of our association and more specifically how to recruit that segment of the industry that doesn’t join because “they are getting the benefits anyways.” A friend summed it up by referring to those individuals as “welfare loggers”-enjoying the fruits of other’s labor. Although a bit harsh, he does make a very valid point. While there will always be those who ride the shirttails of others, I believe with the support of those individuals, the associations could accomplish even more than they would without their support.

The American Loggers Council (ALC) tries to support those who support it. While that works well in regards to our sponsors I realize that is not always the case when talking about potential members. A potential member will benefit from what ALC does just as a current member, but that is where strength in numbers comes into play. Currently ALC represents 30 states. Our goal is to represent every state that has a commercial timber harvesting industry.

The ALC has been the voice of professional loggers in this country for nearly twenty years and has accomplished many things in that time. It was formed in 1994 after the adoption of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative by the AFPA. A group of loggers decided that they needed a voice on the national level to challenge issues that impacted them. Nearly twenty years later we are still trying to enhance the logging profession by creating a more level playing field for all loggers in this country, most recently by submitting comments to the Sustainable Forestry Board on programs for logger training and education, as well as creating a “hard number” for the maximum percentage of wood fiber that can be sourced from untrained loggers by SFI program participating mills – also known as the deminimus volume.

If you are a member of a logging trade association, whether it be national, regional, or state, I thank you for your support. If not, I encourage you to do so as they are your voice for issues that impact your business. By “supporting those that support you” we will make a difference.

Wishing everyone a Blessed Holiday Season – -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 or contact their office at 409-625-0206.

NewPage ‘indefinitely’ idles Rumford paper machine

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

By Whit Richardson, BDN Staff

RUMFORD, Maine — NewPage on Tuesday said it would “indefinitely” stop operation of one of the paper machines at its Rumford paper mill by mid-February because of tough economic conditions.

Employees at the Rumford mill — there are about 830 — received the news Tuesday morning, according to Anthony Lyons, a mill spokesman….

Click to read more from the: Bangor Daily News

As WE See It: ALC Taking Message to Washington

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

On Tuesday, February 26, 2013, ALC Past President Matt Jensen carried the loggers’ message to Washington.  Matt testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulations, primarily about the differences that exist between Federal and State timber sale programs.

Matt not only represented the American Loggers Council, but also the voices of the nation’s professional timber harvesters throughout the country.

His testimony included the need for timber sale programs in which the forest products industry could rally around and make the needed investments to provide jobs and economic opportunities for rural Americans dependent on the forest industry.

Matt cited lack of management, forest health issues and no real concern for generating revenues as reasons why the federal government should consider placing the management of the federal forests into state trusts which have a much better track record of taking care of the forests and generating real value to the general public.

Matt was able to provide real time, on-the-ground information to the subcommittee on the implementation of a federal timber sale contract and the issues that logging businesses across the country have when working with a federal timber sale contract as compared to a State timber sale contract.

Members and leadership of the American Loggers Council intend on making themselves available for hearings in Washington as well as other parts of the country that are pertinent to the timber harvesting community and are already making plans for their Spring Fly-In and Board of Directors meeting to be held April 11-13 in our nation’s capitol.

To learn more about the positions that the American Loggers Council is taking on the nation’s loggers’ behalf, visit and look on the advocacy page.  You will also find contact information for your state representatives.

About 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 or contact their office at 409-625-0206.

As We See It: Getting Active

Monday, January 7th, 2013

By Danny Dructor, Executive Vice-President

By the time that this editorial goes to press in February, a delegation of the American Loggers Council will have already made its way to Washington, DC to measure the mood of the members of the new Congress, or in better words, their willingness to try and accomplish things that will help to return this great nation to sound fiscal policy and to become a nation that leads in job creation and prosperity.

There is a lot of unfinished business, including the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the NPDES permitting requirement for logging roads, and designing a road map that will lead us to energy independence, including the use of woody biomass as a renewable energy resource.

There is still a lot of work needed to improve the offerings from the federal timber sale program that would benefit the logging industry and timber dependent communities.  There is not much reason to offer a biomass component in a timber sale if those markets do not exist, and even less need to tally firewood removals as a part of a viable timber sale program.

Regulatory uncertainty is still a major concern for our industry, and the administration has yet to release any indicators as to how many new regulations might be promulgated during the upcoming year, but you can be assured that we will be working closely with other organizations, federal agencies, legislators and their committees to ensure that the voice of the professional timber harvesters are once again heard and that our unique perspective on our industry is understood by all.

If you have yet to join up with your state and/or regional logging association, there is no better time than now to become active.  There is a lot of concern over the decline in logging capacity as we begin to see an uptick in housing markets, but access to credit and a sustainable workforce need to be addressed, as do the need for long term contracts to help stabilize businesses.

We are beginning to see a swing in the mindset of many of those entities that need the goods and services that we provide, and by being active in your association can help you stay better informed of the changes and opportunities that may be coming your way.

The American Loggers Council will continue to be the voice in 2013 for professional timber harvesters across the country, and your commitment and actions for this industry will help us to attain the level of recognition that you so justly deserve.  Please visit our web site at to find out more about what this organization is doing to serve you and our industry.  You will be glad you did.

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 or contact their office at 409-625-0206.

Verso Paper Corp. Reports Third Quarter 2012 Results

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

MEMPHIS, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Verso Paper Corp. (NYSE: VRS) today reported financial results for the third quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2012. Results for the quarters ended September 30, 2012 and 2011 include:

  • Adjusted EBITDA before pro forma effects of profitability program of $50.2 million in the third quarter of 2012, compared to $23.5 million in the second quarter of 2012 and $64.2 million in the third quarter of 2011. (Note: Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure and is defined and reconciled to net income later in this release).
  • Net loss before items of $12.0 million, or $0.23 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2012 compared to net loss before items of $43.1 million, or $0.81 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2012 and net income before items of $0.8 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2011.
  • The closure of the Sartell mill resulted in an aggregate pre-tax charge to earnings of approximately $97.2 million in the third quarter of 2012. This includes approximately $16.3 million for severance and benefit costs; $75.8 million in non-cash charges for fixed asset and other impairment charges; and $5.1 million related to other costs.

Click Here to read the full report from Verso Paper Corp.

Informational Training Sessions: Timber Harvesting in Shoreland Areas

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Statewide Standards for Timber Harvesting and Related Activities in Shoreland Areas will be taking effect in certain municipalities January 1, 2013.

On January 1, 2013 organized towns that have decided to adopt statewide standards for timber harvesting and related activities in shoreland areas will have statewide standards go into effect.

Towns that have either elected to retain their old shoreland zoning ordinance for timber harvesting or not taken action on statewide standards will continue under their old shoreland zoning rules until they take action.

Areas under the administration of the Land Use Planning Commission (formerly know as LURC) will also continue under current rules for the time being.

A map and list of the status of each town is below. The map and list will be updated as new towns adopt statewide standards.

Town Status List (pdf)

Town Status Map (pdf)

Informational Training Sessions

The Maine Forest Service will be holding a series of informational training sessions on statewide standards for timber harvesting and related activities in shoreland areas.  These standards will be replacing old town ordinances for timber harvesting in the shoreland zone in certain municipalities starting January 1, 2013. These sessions will run from 6:30-8:30 PM at each location and will take place regardless of weather. Each session will give an overview of the standards, provide information on resources for assistance with the standards and be an opportunity to ask questions.  Foresters, loggers and landowners who harvest timber in shoreland areas are encouraged to attend.

Click Here For More Information and Info. Session Schedule

As WE See It: Trucking Businesses: Reverse, Neutral or Forward?

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

By Doug Duncan – Chair, American Loggers Council Transportation Committee

Log Truckers, have you had your fill of added costs from rising fuel prices, elaborate recordkeeping, the Federal data cast net called CSA, or your state weight enforcement?  Are you idling, or moving backward in trucking and not taking the steps needed to figure out how to make it a more profitable activity?   If you haven’t taken the opportunity to reevaluate your business practices internally, it should come as no surprise that many of the recent changes in trucking operations stem from third party actions.

Remember when the first lightweight trailers, in-woods and on-board scales, and GPS systems were introduced?  The first loggers to use them gained cost reduction and increased profit.  It was when the rest of the pack caught up that lower hauling rates became the norm because everyone was now more “efficient”.  You became part of that “average tons per load” calculation.

“Efficiency” in trucking has been the buzz word for a number of years, and we’ve all heard it, “be efficient and lower your costs.”  Unfortunately, if you operate in a geographical area dominated by one or just a few delivery markets you have some added insight at what “efficiency” really means:   declining trucking rates are directly related to increased trucking efficiencies.  You can’t expect your profit margins to increase while others are figuring out a way to directly benefit from your actions.

Most improvement initiatives have elements of safety, favorable regulations, customer satisfaction, and profitability walking hand in hand. Add in some technology that keeps a real time stopwatch on your handy work and you are almost there.  What is still missing is the fact that the hauling experts in our industry, our loggers and log truckers, are not putting some of these elements together for their own benefit, letting third parties dictate these actions and taking their percentage off the top:  Improving your trucking operations means taking the initiative yourself.

Using dispatch trucking as an example, we all know that logging and chipping operations depend on a smooth, consistent and predictable flow across the deck.   Central dispatch trucking systems that will improve the percentage of loaded miles is not a bad concept if you can reap the profit from your efforts.  Losing control of haul schedules and having potential for bottlenecks at the loading deck are real issues to address.  A logger who has honed a fine-tuned trucking business for himself might see his profit margins diminished under a central dispatching system.   Some regions of the country are seeing mill operated dispatch systems where the loggers have been asked to become part of the pool and are left wondering how it helped their bottom line.  If it makes for higher efficiency and lowers cost, why can’t loggers do it themselves?

The transportation committee of the American Loggers Council (ALC) exists to try and address some of these issues.  By interacting with loggers and log haulers from all across the country, we benefit from the hundreds of years of cumulative experience that can speak to the many issues that are impacting our nation’s forest commodity producers.

Examples of solutions that have stemmed from the activities of the ALC include defining what is considered an off-road vehicle for tax purposes, working with the IRS to hold up the partial exemptions of the Highway Use Vehicle Tax, working with members of Congress to allow State legal weight tolerances on the Federal Interstate Highway system (a work in progress), and setting up a website at to provide a comprehensive listing of links to all federal and state agencies dealing with regulations, permitting and guidelines for the forest commodity trucking industry.

We invite you to become active in these discussions and to take the rig out of neutral and begin moving forward in these discussions and ask yourself, is my trucking business in reverse, neutral or forward.

Doug Duncan is the Executive Director for the North Carolina Association of Professional Loggers and the Chair of the American Loggers Council Transportation Committee,  His offices are located in Cary, North Carolina and he can be reached at 919-271-9050 or

The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c)(6) trade association representing professional timber harvesters in 30 States across the U.S.  You can visit their web site at or contact them at 281-622-7244 for more information.

Raye & Thomas Visit E. Millinocket Mill & Millinocket Thermogen Site

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Maine Senator Doug Thomas (R-Ripley); Everett O’Neill, GPN’s Vice President of Operations and Manufacturing, and Maine Senate President Kevin Raye (R-Perry)

EAST MILLINOCKET – Maine Senate President Kevin Raye (R-Perry) and Senator Doug Thomas (R-Ripley) visited the Great Northern Paper mill in East Millinocket on Tuesday, June 5th, where they toured the mill and met with representatives of Cate Street Capital.  Raye and Thomas also visited for a first-hand look at the site on the campus of the closed Millinocket mill where Thermogen Industries plans to create jobs manufacturing torrefied wood pellets.

The Thermogen proposal received a boost in May when Raye and Thomas successfully included an amendment to the state budget that makes the project eligible for participation in Maine’s New Markets Capital Investment Program (NMCIP).  Raye sponsored the law establishing the New Markets tax credit last year, in an effort to encourage private sector investment in job creation in areas of Maine that have been left behind economically.

The amendment pushed by Raye and Thomas this year increased the cap for the program from $10 million to $40 million, which will encourage Cate Street Capital to make an investment in the project through its Thermogen Industries subsidiary.

“Cate Street really did create a dual opportunity,” said Senator Thomas. “Making use of the idled Millinocket paper mill property as a wood-product manufacturing facility is a great idea, a natural fit, and a boost to a town sorely in need of new jobs,” said Senator Thomas. “It’s also a boost to Maine port towns where these wood products will be shipped overseas.”

“The New Markets Tax Credit is designed to boost the economy in areas of greatest need,” said Raye.  “That’s why I introduced it, and it is exciting to see it hold such great promise for the Katahdin Region, which has been hit so hard by the loss of traditional paper-making jobs.  We need to do everything we can to encourage quality jobs and ensure a bright future for rural Maine.”

The Senators were greeted in East Millinocket by Richard Cyr, CEO and President of Great Northern Paper (GNP) and Thermogen, and COO of Cate Street Capital. Everett O’Neill, GNP’s Vice President of Operations and Manufacturing, took Raye and Thomas on a tour of the East Millinocket mill, and then the Senators visited Millinocket with Cyr and other company officials.

“Those of us who live and work in rural Maine have seen so many manufacturing plants idled and wasting away,” said Senator Raye. “The New Markets Tax Credit and other steps we have taken to make Maine more jobs-friendly are making a difference as we look to the future.”

Final Four Floor, from the woods to the Superdome

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Loggers in Washington (DC)

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

By Miles Anderson

There is a feeling of comfort for people working in a natural resource industry that is derived from being outdoors and distant from the urban chaos that rules many of our lives today.  In spite of some of us being out of our comfort zone, the American Loggers Council (ALC) Board of Directors once again made its annual trip to Washington DC.  Although feeling slightly out of place on initial trips to the Hill, it soon became apparent that Congressional members and staff rarely get the unique opportunity to hear our concerns and passions expressed personally on our way of life and our livelihoods.

A trip to Washington, D.C. is as amazing and fulfilling as it is frustrating.  Building relationships with Representatives or their staff (which seems more productive at times) gets you involved with the process that impacts your daily life and ability to provide a livelihood for your family and employees.  Some we met with gave the appearance of being interested; while others are truly concerned with the direction we are headed.  Some even shared information that left you asking why, how, or can they be serious?

Miles Anderson

One staff member we met with spoke about Congress being very inactive, yet we have seen a lot of activity coming out of this administration, basically leaving discussion and openness out of due process.

One thing was very clear at our meetings this year at the Capitol — everything there is at a standstill.  Both sides of the aisle have agreed to disagree on pretty much everything, which is to be expected when control is split in an election year.  The positive is that we should not see a bunch of new legislation coming out that could add more layers or rules and regulations.   The lack of meaningful accomplishment seems to prevail in Washington.

There is still the issue of dealing with the quagmire of rules Congress has already handed down that should warrant both their and our attention.  Many had hoped the large class of freshman elected to Congress last year would create some positive change, but are finding that “change” is loosely defined these days.

I encourage everyone to contact their local representatives, state legislators and congressional representatives and use any other available venue to make your issues heard.  It is our duty as citizens to be a part of the process as pointed out by a fellow logger and passionate ALC Board member

Richard Schwab from Florida when he stated, “After all, we hire the representatives and if they are not doing their job we should fire them and hire someone who will.”   While some would applaud sending Congress home until after the election due to inaction, we would all be better off to re-read the constitution and consider how it has guided us to this point and start adhering to it.  A quick read of the United States Constitution would demonstrate how our founding fathers talked almost as much about impeachment as they did legislative duties.

The American Loggers Council delegation accomplished 30 Senate office visits and 73 House office visits over a two day period.  During the trip, the group also had small groups meet with Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, DOT/FMSCA, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, the House Committee on Natural Resources and other Senate and House Committees important to our issues.   ALC members had State specific issues that they conveyed to their representatives while everyone at all meetings carried the national issues brought forward by the ALC.

One thing that became very clear from our meetings on the Hill was that Congress and the Administration have seemingly run out of options for funding rural parts of America dependent on and surrounded by a paralyzed Forest Service.  Schools and Communities in the West are about to lose their income from the general fund that was a replacement for revenue from timber sales lost to environmental policies, lawsuits and management decisions that shut down the Forest Service.  When the Forest Service’s ability to harvest timber and extract other resources ground to a halt, so was their ability to help fund those communities whose tax base contains large allotments of federal land ownership.

With appropriations for this year tied to a stalled Transportation Bill, I hope that schools and communities come together with the logging industry to move forward to promote a green, sustainable future that involves extracting resources and value from federal lands.  We hear a lot about job creation, bailouts, and green energy, and our industry has the resources to provide revenue by managing federal forest lands.  We are not asking Congress to give away money to our industry, just allow us to do our jobs. After all, isn’t this what the majority of citizens are asking for?  This is where we could see real change as rural resource providers, if we stand up together and are heard.

To clear up any misconceptions, if you are in the logging profession and are a member of one of the 30 state associations that make up the American Loggers Council, then you are a member of the ALC and should be proud of the efforts this group makes during the annual trip to Washington DC.  The issues that we carry on a continual basis and new ones as they come along can be seen prominently displayed on the ALC website and I strongly urge you to take a moment to see the newly revamped site at

I encourage all loggers across the nation to join your state logging association and become active in these and other issues.  Get to know the people that are out fighting these fights on your behalf and join with them.  Through the American Loggers Council, I have had the opportunity to meet loggers from all over the nation and better appreciate their determination, passion and the honor they put into supporting this industry and I hope that others trying to make a living in this industry do the same.

Myles Anderson with Anderson Logging Inc. is a 4th generation logger from Fort Bragg, CA. and is currently serving on the Executive Committee for 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 or contact their office at 409-625-0206.

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