June 27, 2017, Hemphill, TX—In Washington today, the House Natural Resources Committee held a mark-up on the Resilient Federal Forests Act, H.R. 2396 introduced by Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) which included language that would allow the sixteen and seventeen year-old sons and daughters of logging business owners to legally work on their parent’s job sites under parental supervision. The legislation is a part of the much larger forestry bill, which includes streamlining and adding efficiencies to the management of federal forest lands, while improving forest health and bolstering the economies of struggling forest dependent communities.
Like farming and ranching, the timber harvesting profession is often a family-run business where the practice and techniques of harvesting and transporting forest products from the forest to receiving mills is passed down from one generation to the next. Timber harvesting operations are very similar to family farms with sophisticated and expensive harvesting equipment that requires young men and women to learn how to run the business, including equipment operation and maintenance, prior to obtaining the age of eighteen. Currently, there are no on-the-ground programs in place to facilitate that training and ensure the sustainability of the timber harvesting industry’s next generation of family members who choose to enter the profession. The Arkansas Timber Producers Association supports alongside the American Loggers Council (ALC) extending the agricultural exemption now enjoyed by family farmers and ranchers to train their sixteen and seventeen year old sons and daughters to carry on the family business to mechanical timber harvesters.
American Loggers Council members first brought the language to the attention of Congress in 2014, and have received support from all sectors of the forest products industry. The language has already received bipartisan support in the Senate.
The American Loggers Council is the only national organization solely dedicated to representing the independent contract logger on the national level. We have the combined forces of independent contractors and state and regional logging associations around the country to impact our industry positively and pro-actively by sharing the benefits of education and training opportunities, networking, research, promotion and legislative coordination. The Council is committed to enhancing the logging profession, establishing a more level playing field for professional loggers and providing accurate information about the logging profession to the forest products companies, landowners and the public. It serves as a national network and communication center, linking local, state and regional organizations around the country.
CONTACT: Daniel Dructor, 409-625-0206, firstname.lastname@example.org