American Loggers Council President – Matt Jensen
The American Loggers Council’s (ALC) summer meeting was held July 30 in Cincinnati, Ohio. There was a very full agenda with committee reports on Government Relations, Transportation, Communications and Master Logger Certification©.
One of the notable highlights to the Government Relations Committee was that both the House and the Senate introduced legislation to amend the Clean Water Act to specifically exempt silvicutural activities from the NPDES permitting process. ALC representatives had visited with members of Congress on this issue during the spring Board of Directors meeting and Fly-In held in Washington, DC last March, and have continued that dialogue over the past three months, joining in with the Forest Roads Coalition and other forestry organizations seeking solutions to the issue.
Board members also agreed to submit comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) asking that they do not make any changes in the currernt guidance documents on how the FMCSA would treat implements of husbandry. Under proposed changes to the guidance documents, implements of husbandry could be treated as a commercial motor vehicle subject to all the regulations that are currently imposed on highway use motor vehicles, including obtaining a CDL for operators.
The Master Logger Committee and ALC board approved Master Logger Certification© templates for both Florida and Georgia. Congratulations to the Southeastern Wood Producers for the work that they put into the process. There are now seventeen states that have approved templates and several of those states that have implemented the Master Logger Certification© program.
The main focus at the summer meeting involved the strategic plan for the American Loggers Council stemming from work done by the Executive Committee over the past three months. I would like to thank our friends at John Deere for all of their efforts in assisting the ALC Executive Committee during the strategic planning process and for helping the ALC realize the potential we all have working as a team to bring value to all of those that we represent.
There were several recommendations presented from those efforts and passed by the ALC Board of Directors. The first was to modernize the ALC logo for purposes of rebranding and reintroducing the council. Secondly, to completely redevelop the ALC website to improve the quality of information found on the site and making it more attractive and user friendly with even video messages a possibility. Another communication recommendation was to have a quarterly report from the ALC Executive Vice President to state and regional member associations as well as sponsors updating them on the issues ALC is working on their behalf. The column like this one will still continue with the President’s personal message but will also be complimented with the title “As We See It,” providing information on current national issues from points of view across the US.
Having a larger presence in Washington DC was also recommended, allowing for ALC executives and members to travel to DC when important issues arise.
Several financial recommendations were approved by the ALC board that set a path for long term goals, growth and sustainability for the Council.
With all of the recommendations passed at the summer meeting I am very pleased and excited about the steps ALC has taken to better serve our nation’s loggers and those that support us. The American Loggers Council continues to be the largest organization representing professional loggers at the national level and our goal remains “providing a unified, national voice for professional loggers across the United States.”
Caterpillar Forest Products hosted and sponsored the summer meeting in great fashion, including a trip to The Great American Ball Park, while ALC members from across the country attended. I would like to thank Mike Duncan and Nick Leitze with Caterpillar Forest Products for two very interesting presentations on the global outlook and opportunities for the forest industry and tier 4 engines. One of the benefits that we all have by participating in ALC activities is the insight that we gain when our sponsors bring their global expertise to the table for all of us to share.
Our industry has faced many challenges over the past twelve months, and I would like to personally thank our board members and staff for all of their efforts to address those challenges. Being a part of such a great group of people that volunteer their time for the good of all of us in the forest products industry has truly been an honor and a privilege.
Being raised by a father that carried a chain saw for a living, a true “lumberjack,” providing for his family in an honorable fashion, and my siblings and I never going without, is a legacy I would like to honor and continue. The work ethic and integrity of today’s professional loggers is a story the rest of the American public needs to hear. We are the real “environmentalists” that have done more good for our nation’s forests than any environmental group. When you have “sawdust in your blood” it is hard to imagine doing anything else.
My term, serving as President of the American Loggers Council, has flown by. I hope I have represented my fellow professional loggers in a positive light and provided some incentive for others to become more involved in our industry; after all, if we don’t stand up for the loggers, who will?
Matt Jensen is the President of the American Loggers Council, which represents logging professionals in 30 states. Matt’s operation, Whitetail Logging, is headquartered in Crandon, Wisconsin. For more information please contact the American Loggers Council office at 409-625-0206 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.