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All for One: Loggers, manufacturers, dealers,and associations unite to make their voices heard
By Nate Clark, Manager,
Forestry Tactical Marketing,
John Deere Construction & Forestry
Our nation’s professional loggers have been hit hard by tough economic times and often struggle to raise awareness of their plight in Washington D.C. and Statehouses. In light of these challenges, it’s critical — now more than ever — for everyone with an interest in the future of our professional loggers to unite to protect them.
The U.S. has a wealth of forest resources that is often minsunderstood and underappreciated. We possess 304 million hectares of forests, making the U.S. the fourth most forested country in the world. As a result of our forests, 1.1 million men and women work in our broad forestry sector every day, adding $108 billion in value to our national economy annually.
Despite these riches, and the millions of people they support, the loss of our professional loggers threatens the entire forestry sector. Over the last decade, our logging workforce has plummeted from 73,500 to 47,700 jobs — a loss of almost 35 percent. Paired with a steady rise in the median age of loggers, now at 46 years old, our professional loggers have been challenged to become even more resourceful and work even harder to keep operations running, people employed, and productivity at optimal levels to make ends meet. The bottom line: The loggers are suffering, and we must act to protect them.
Thankfully, organizations like the American Loggers Council (ALC), Forest Resources Association (FRA), and others are doing more to promote the interests of loggers on a state, national, and even global level. The ALC, for example, was established in 1994 to serve as a unified voice for professional loggers in the U.S. and enhance the profession, working with private timberland owners to further sustainable forestry practices. Today, the ALC represents loggers in more than 30 states around the country through regional associations and councils.
With a shared commitment to the logging industry and a focus on helping it grow and strengthen, John Deere and its dealers have worked with the ALC for the past several years to help improve logger relations and become more effective in advocacy. We have called on Congress to take action on key issues intended to protect the logging industry, such as the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act (S 1369, HR 2541). Its passage would free U.S. loggers from the risk of unnecessary permitting requirements that were imposed through a recent court interpretation.
Another key issue facing loggers today is the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2011 (S 747, HR 763), which would permit gross vehicle truck weights of up to 97,000 pounds on interstate highways. This legislation would help increase logger productivity and profitability, conserve fuel, and enhance safety through reduced congestion, while also leveling the playing field for U.S. loggers against other countries that are already benefiting from higher gross vehicle truck weights. Representatives from Deere and ALC have taken these and other issues to Capitol Hill on more than one occasion and continue to promote their revision and ultimate passage.
John Deere also provided assistance by working closely with the ALC on the development of a new logo that more firmly establishes the organization’s brand identity and illustrates its connection to loggers. Furthermore, the groups collaborated to redesign the ALC’s website, Americanloggers.org, to be a go-to destination for industry news, providing the latest details on legislation and updates from the ALC.
On a regional level, the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association (GLTPA), a member of the ALC that represents members in Michigan and Wisconsin, has been a leading voice on behalf of its loggers for more than 65 years and is one of the strongest associations of its kind. Through a joint partnership with Nortrax, John Deere supports the GLTPA and other regional associations by promoting education and leadership for the forestry community.
These organizations utilize many communication channels to continue to build and nurture relationships with their members and supporters, including websites, newsletters, and even face-to-face meetings. These venues offer an exchange of information, from breaking news to event updates to new product announcements, and they provide information on the importance of the U.S. logging industry.
In an ever-evolving digital world, both the ALC and GLTPA are active on social media to reach their members in new, instantaneous ways. They engage with followers and fans almost daily by posting news and event pictures. Like Deere, they can be found on Facebook and Twitter with the following usernames:
ALC Twitter - @AmerLoggersCoun
ALC Facebook – “Like” American Logger’s Council
GLTPA Twitter – @GLTPA
GLTPA Facebook – “Like” Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association
John Deere Twitter – @JohnDeere
John Deere Facebook – “Like” John Deere
It’s important for loggers to join with equipment manufacturers, dealers, and industry associations to stay up to date on the latest issues and work together to ignite positive change and reinstate growth. Because when it comes to supporting loggers and the forestry sector, we’re all in this together.
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