HENDERSON, N.C. -- The Carolina Loggers Association is urging support for the Loggers Relief Act introduced by Congressman David Rouzer (N.C.-07), U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota), and Congressman Jared Golden (Maine-02), which would provide relief to family logging and log hauling businesses affected by Covid-19 and the resulting economic crisis.
The Loggers Relief Act is supported by the American Loggers Council, National Association of State Foresters, Intertribal Timber Council, Forest Resources Association, American Forest Resources Council and multi-generational family-owned businesses in every region of the country.
The lawmakers’ bipartisan bill (House - H.R. 7690; Senate - S. 4223) would establish a new program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide direct payments to timber harvesting and hauling businesses that can demonstrate they have experienced significant economic hardship compared to the previous year.
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 to 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 program envisioned is modeled after the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which has been providing direct relief to growers and producers experiencing dramatic drops in prices and overall business activity due to the pandemic. Specifically, the legislation would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to provide payments to eligible logging businesses that have experienced at least a 10 percent loss in revenues from January through July 2020 as compared to the same timeframe last year. Those who qualify would receive direct payments equal to 10 percent of their gross revenue from January through July of last year, and would only be permitted to use the funds for operating expenses, including payroll.
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