The American Loggers Council (ALC) applauded the introduction of bipartisan legislation to promote the training and development of future generations of professional timber harvesters.

The Future Logging Careers Act (HR 1454) would extend an existing agricultural exemption– now enjoyed by family farmers and ranchers– to enable family-owned logging businesses to train their sixteen- and seventeen-year-old sons and daughters in mechanized timber harvesting.

The legislation was introduced by chief sponsors U.S. Representatives Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) and Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine). Co-sponsors of HR 1454 also include Ralph Abraham (R-Louisiana), Mark Amodei (R-Nevada), Bruce Babin (R-Texas), Paul Cook (R-California), Jeff Duncan (R-South Carolina), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Glenn Grothman (R-Wisconsin), Jody Hice (R-Georgia), Clay Higgins (R-Louisiana), Walter Jones (R-North Carolina), Tom McClintock (R-California), Rick Nolan (D-Minnesota), Steve Pearce (R-New Mexico), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon), Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), David Valadao (R-California), and Bruce Westerman (R-Arkansas).

“The exemption would ensure that the next generation of mechanized timber harvesters can gain the needed on-the-ground training and experience under the close supervision of their parents who have a vested interest in their children’s safety and in passing down the profession to the next generation of timber harvesters,” said Daniel Dructor, ALC Executive Vice President.

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 family members to learn how to run the business, including equipment operation and maintenance, prior to reaching 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,” Dructor said.” ALC appreciates the efforts of Congress to extend the agricultural exemption now enjoyed by family farmers and ranchers to ensure the training, development and safety of young loggers in these small, family-owned businesses.”