HENDERSON, N.C. -- The signing of the coronavirus relief bill December 27, 2020 recognized America’s $300 billion wood economy and the need to ensure the nation’s wood fiber supply provided by loggers keeps moving.

The bill includes language appropriating $200 million in funding for logging and log trucking businesses that saw more than a 10 percent loss in revenues from January 1 through December 1, 2020 related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as compared to revenues for the same period in 2019.

Carolina Loggers Association executive director Ewell Smith said, “Bobby Goodson’s mantra that ‘logging is farming’ embodies the spirit of this funding to have the White House, Congress, and the USDA recognize the importance of loggers to the U.S. economy.

“We are appreciative of the leadership of Congressman David Rouzer (N.C.), who joined forces with Senator Susan Collins (Me.), Senator Tina Smith (Minn.), and Congressman Jared Golden (Me.) to create the bipartisan/bicameral Loggers Relief Act that was the genesis of the funding included in this bill.

“From my first phone call with Congressman Rouzer’s office in March 2020 about relief for loggers, he and our N.C. Congressional delegation of Senator Thom Tillis, Senator Richard Burr, Congressman G.K. Butterfield, and Congressman Greg Murphy never stopped fighting for us in D.C.”

CLA chairman and owner of Arcola Logging Co. Chip Capps said, “Despite decades of Congressional relief packages for other sectors, like farmers and fishermen, this is a first for the logging industry.

“Although loggers were deemed essential workers from the beginning, relief for the industry was left out until today. This is an historic moment not only for the critical help for our rural small businesses but also for the recognition this process has given our part of the forest products industry on Capitol Hill. Our CLA board has been honored to work alongside our fellow state associations, especially Maine, and the American Loggers Council and we are appreciative of the tenacity and passion of our industry leaders.”

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