By Danny Dructor
The American Loggers Council has flourished under the leadership of Presidents Ken Martin and Mark Turner and the entire executive committee and Board of Directors in 2017. Our membership remains strong and many of our goals and targets have been met due to the hard work and diligence of the many volunteers who work tirelessly to not only promote the organization, but this profession that we call logging.
On the legislative front, we set a record attendance at the Spring Fly-In with 61 participants making another record 160+ visits to Capitol Hill over a two day period. We carried 4 primary issues that included the Future Logging Careers Act, The Resilient Federal Forest Act, The Right to Haul Act and the Wildfire Funding Act to members of Congress. We also discussed creating parity between woody biomass and other renewable energy sources to promote markets and create jobs for our industry, and were able to make inroads with other organizations as we moved all of these issues forward. For the first time in 20 years, we received support from the Forest Resources Association for our truck weight language and we also were asked and assisted the Biomass Power Association in seeking opportunities to promote markets for woody biomass utilization. We have seen movement in all four primary efforts, including the inclusion of the Future Logging Careers Act in the Resilient Federal Forests Act which has cleared both the Natural Resources and Agriculture committees in the House.
To be certain, the ALC has established excellent working relationships with many offices and agencies in Washington as a direct result of the commitment that many of the Officers and Directors of the ALC as well as their respective State and Regional Association Executives continue to make each and every Spring during the journey to DC.
We remain in close contact with the Federal Forest Resource Coalition as they pursue legislation to expedite and increase the pace and scale of the Federal Timber Sale program, and the ALC is an integral part of Team Safe Trucking organization promoting driver training to reduce accidents and lower CSA scores as well as the Wood Supply Research Institute seeking ways to reduce costs and increase efficiencies across the entire wood supply chain.
Our membership continues to grow with the addition of Individual Logger Memberships, our finances are strong, we have welcomed two new sponsors into the organization in 2017, and the rebate opportunities for ALC members and affiliates should help our member state and regional organizations to attract new members. Thanks go out to both Peterbilt and Western Star for making those programs available to ALC members.
In July, Board member agreed to fund a revitalization of the ALC Master Logger Certification program as proposed by the Trust to Conserve Northeast Forests and the PLC of Maine, and we are excited about the opportunities that the program could bring in promoting the timber harvesting profession and helping to gain public understanding of the role that we, as loggers, play in sustainable timber harvesting techniques.
Our communications network continues to expand through both our web site and social media outlets, and Nick Smith has done an excellent job of keeping the monthly electronic newsletters both timely and informative on the issues that are currently impacting our industry.
We have had the opportunity to visit face-to-face with many of those that we represent by attending various trade shows throughout the country, and in return have been able to expand the number of recipients to our monthly newsletter. We have developed and distributed tri-fold leaflets as well as the 2016 annual report and ALC bumper stickers with the slogan “Loggers Working for Loggers” to further increase our branding and marketing efforts.
It has been a great year for the ALC, but we will not sit back on our heels as we enter into another fiscal year. As an earlier “As We See It” editorial eluded to, it would appear that the pendulum has stopped swinging in one direction, but now it is up to us to get it swinging in our direction. We are looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that 2018 will bring us, and we sincerely appreciate all of the hard work and dedication of all of those who have helped the American Loggers Council to remain the National Voice for Professional Timber Harvesters during the 2017 period.
We wish all of you and your families a safe and happy holiday season and a prosperous 2018!
Danny Dructor is the Executive Vice President for the American Loggers Council with headquarters in Hemphill, Texas.
The American Loggers Council is a 501 (c)(6) not for profit trade association representing professional timber harvesters and log truckers in 32 states across the United States with headquarters near Hemphill, Texas.