LAKE WAPPAPELLO, Mo. – The Missouri Forest Products Association (MFPA) is now accepting applications for its logging school – the first of its kind in the nation.

Opening October 1, the school offers a 10-week course designed to provide formal training for men and women interested in starting a career in the logging profession.

Thanks to new construction and renovation, pallet making, tables, chairs and a long list of other wood products, the demand for loggers is high, says the MFPA. With Missouri’s loggers between 40 and 60 years old, there is a need to develop a new generation.

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"The Missouri forest products industry is a $9 billion-dollar industry providing employment for over 43,000 Missourians and generating $88.3 million in state sales tax revenue," said Fred Smith to the Daily Journal Online, who will manage the school for the MFPA. "Those of us in the forest products industry have recognized, however, that there’s an insufficient number of young people entering the logging profession to maintain the current statewide harvesting capacity as loggers start to retire.

A limited class size of 12 will allow the course to maximize student-to-instructor interaction says Smith. Classes will be held Monday through Friday onsite in dormitory-style housing. A tuition of $5,000 will cover all costs, including lodging, meals, classroom, and equipment.

Students who successfully complete the course should leave with knowledge of the business side of the timber and logging industry as well as having learned how to operate and maintain all of the machinery utilized in modern logging operations. In addition, each student will graduate with MFPA Professional Timber Harvester credentials, the prerequisite for Master Logger certification should they choose to pursue this in their career.