In 1994, members of the American Forests and Paper Association rolled out a program now known as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. At the time, the program appeared to be a great idea with one exception, the organizers forgot to invite logging businesses to the table. That was the catalyst that brought logging contractors together 25 years ago in St. Louis, Missouri: the need to have a voice of our own, representing the issues that are important to loggers.
Today, the American Loggers Council (ALC) is celebrating its 25th anniversary as the unified and national voice for professional loggers across the United States. Made up of a coalition of state and regional logging associations and councils, the ALC represents loggers in 35 states across the United States. We are committed to enhancing the logging profession, establishing a more level playing field for professional loggers, and providing accurate information about the logging profession to forest products companies, landowners and the public. The ALC, as our motto suggests, is “loggers working for loggers.”
Over the past 25 years, the ALC has overcome significant challenges, including a Great Recession, to become a strong and effective organization. We continue to grow in size and strength, thanks to our active membership and our sponsors. Above all, we have been successful because loggers understand the importance of relationships. Loggers are drawn to the ALC because they see the value of building and maintaining relationships with other loggers across our nation. We take the same approach to Capitol Hill, where attendance for our annual Washington DC Fly-in has increased every year.
Relationships are key, because logging is among the most heavily regulated occupations in the country. We’re working to level the playing field for loggers so our industry can remain competitive, and America can maintain a manufacturing sector that makes our nation’s economy strong. That’s why the ALC throughout its history has been active in supporting regulatory reform efforts, from reforming the estate tax to working with our sponsor John Deere on the U.S. Forest Service’s forest products modernization effort. With so many logging companies operating on razor-thin margins, we also oppose harmful proposals that only serve to increase the costs of doing business.
As with other parts of the forest products industry, sustainability of our industry depends on the next generation of family members and others who choose to enter the profession. That’s why we are working for sensible laws to promote logger safety, and reforms to enable younger members of logging families to work and learn the trade. Thanks to our relationships on Capitol Hill, we have secured bipartisan and bicameral support for the “Future Logging Careers Act,” which gives 16- and 17-year-olds in family logging businesses the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in mechanized timber harvesting. We also sponsor the American Loggers Council Master Logger Certification program to elevate and maintain high standards for professional loggers.
Across state lines, loggers and truck drivers often encounter patchwork and inconsistent transportation laws and regulations. ALC is pushing for more predictable weight limit standards for hauling forest products, and other measures to improve efficiency and safety. This year, we have secured bipartisan support for our “Safe Routes Act” that would allow more log trucks to utilize federal interstates for short-haul trips when they provide a safer alternative to city, county and state roads. We also actively support and participate in TEAM Safe Trucking, a broad-based, non-profit volunteer group seeking to elevate the standard and performance of the American forest industry’s log trucking sector.
Loggers also see the value of having good relationships with the equipment manufacturers and others that help make our industry possible. This year, Western Star Trucks hosted our summer board meeting in Portland, Oregon, where our members toured the Truck Plant and had the opportunity to discuss industry trends with Western Star President David Carson and his top sales and marketing staff. Having good relationships has allowed us to provide our members with special rebates from Western Star and Peterbilt, and to interact with other major forestry equipment manufacturers at our annual meeting. We also work with our sponsors, which include Tigercat, Morbark, Bitco Insurance, Forest Insurance Center Agency, and others through a special advisory committee that is currently working on a survey to send out to all of our members to begin to measure trends and gather data about our industry in general.
There are many ways to get involved in the ALC or support our organization. If you are a logger and already belong to one of our 30-member state or regional logging associations, you already belong to the ALC. You can also apply for an Individual Logger Membership at amloggers.com and check out our list of sponsors and our positions on the issues. We are also seeking to add more companies to our growing list of sponsors, who enjoy special recognition and opportunities to network with our members. To stay up to date, follow our popular Facebook and Instagram pages. Twenty-five years after the founding of the American Loggers Council, we continue to be “loggers working for loggers” and invite you to join us.
About: Daniel Dructor is the executive vice president for the American Loggers Council which is a 501(c)(6) not for profit trade association representing professional timber harvesters throughout the United States. For more information please contact the American Loggers Council at 409-625-0206, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.amloggers.com.
By Daniel Dructor, American Loggers Council