Loggers request congressional aid to offset Covid-19 losses
June 4, 2020 | 3:35 pm CDT

HENDERSON, N.C. -- The Carolina Loggers Association and a coalition of 19 additional associations (California, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, Northeastern Loggers Association, North Carolina, Oregon, Florida, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) join the American Loggers Council (ALC) in requesting $2.5 billion from Congress to support America’s loggers directly.

The Covid-19 related losses loggers are facing threaten America’s wood supply chain. According to a recent study completed by the CLA in cooperation with the Carolina Forest Service and N.C. State’s Dr. Rajan Parajuli, North Carolina’s $33.6 billion wood economy has suffered a 30-35 percent reduction in production, resulting in an estimated $139.6 million total economic loss over two quarters. A survey of loggers across the country predict that more severe impacts are yet to come.

The primarily family owned logging businesses of North Carolina represent the most fragile part of the wood supply chain. They operate on already thin margins of 2 to 3 percent with large equipment debt loads in the millions.

CLA executive director Ewell Smith said, “Extended economic harm due to COVID-19 will be exponentially compounded as N.C. loses loggers due to financial detriment, ultimately disrupting the supply chain of wood fiber to the mills and the country’s economic recovery. These essential workers harvest the wood fiber needed to make critical medical supplies, sanitized wipes, shipping boxes, paper, toilet paper, and more that Americans need.”

“Much like the farmers and fishermen who’ve received financial aid from Congress, we join 19 additional state associations and the ALC in the request for $2.5 billion to help loggers across the United States,” adds Smith. “The investment in our loggers is critical to keeping America’s $300 billion wood economy going.”

Daniel Dructor, executive vice president of the American Loggers Council, states, “Given the duration of the pandemic and the uncertainty around markets, our members and those we represent are just now beginning to feel the full impact of the pandemic.”

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Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at karl.forth@woodworkingnetwork.com.