Email American Loggers Council

ALC Executive Vice President
Daniel J. Dructor
Email Daniel


P.O. Box 966
Hemphill, TX 75948
T: 409.625.0206
F: 409.625.0207

Team Safe Trucking: Releasing 30 Forestry Transportation Training Modules in 2018

Team Safe Trucking has been working on developing a Forestry Transportation Training Program for Forestry Transportation professionals since 2015.  This year the organization has hired their first employee thank you to WSRI (Wood Supply Research Institute), she is a Safety Director from Maine, Miranda Gowell.  Miranda has been working on the development of a curriculum along side with Jeremiah O’Donovan, Team Safe Trucking’s Executive Director and the Team Safe Trucking Executive Committee, Mike Macedo, Danny Dructor, Joanne Reese, Keith Biggs, Jimmie Locklear, John Lemire, Scott Barrett, Richard Meyer, Richard Schwab.    


Recently, Jeremiah O’Donovan announced that the Team Safe Training curriculum has been developed.  That there will be three training tracks for the online training:  Forestry Transportation Owners (FTO), Forestry Transportation Drivers (FTD) and Forestry Transportation Safety Professionals (FTSP).  The curriculum includes 30 class offerings, each class covers a topic.  The classes will cover the following topics and more:  Introduction to Team Safe Trucking, Driver Qualifications, Driver Selection, Driver Training, Driver Condition, Maintenance Program/Vehicle Condition, Alcohol, Fatigue, Medical Clearance, Fleet Safety Programs, Accountability, Speeding, Distracted Driving, Right of Way, Turns & Curves, Following Distance, Rollovers, Clearance, Backing, Passing, Stopping and Parking, Coupling and Uncoupling, Railroads, DOT Inspections, Accidents, Breakdowns, Accident Investigations, Mill General Safety, Loading and Unloading, Entering and Exiting the Woods.  The classes will range in length from 15-30 minutes.  Each training track will be approximately six to seven and half hours of forestry transportation industry training.  After completing each class, a certificate will be issued to the student for that topic.  There will be quizzes following each training class, which can be downloaded and saved to document the student’s completion of the training session.  When Owners, Drivers and Safety Professionals complete their training tracks, they will receive a picture ID card certifying the individual as either an FTO, FTD or FTSP. 


Team Safe Trucking’s online training platform has the unique capacity to store and print each student training records at any time after completion of a class.  Miranda believes this is a valuable resource for Forestry Transportation Owners, Drivers and Safety Professionals.  Prospective employers can pay an annual due to Team Safe Trucking to have access to training records at Team Safe Trucking.  Prospective employers may request permission to request training records from Team Safe Trucking training records from prospective drivers.  Upon permission being granted, Team Safe Trucking can release training records to the member/prospective employer and gain access to the drivers training records.  Participants training records are retrieved by the combination of a participants’ driver’s license number and first and last name. 


It has been estimated that there are 88,000 forestry transportation drivers in the United States.   Team Safe Trucking has announced their goal to reach 5% of the forestry transportation drivers approximately 4,500 drivers by years end.  The challenge is more than you may think.  Many drivers do not have smart phones where they could complete the training online.  The word needs to get out to forestry transportation professionals.  Owners, drivers and safety professionals in the industry need to make the commitment to complete the trainings.  But not only that there is a financial challenge ahead of Team Safe Trucking.  When Team Safe Trucking meets this goal, the organization will need to cover costs associated with users utilizing the online training platform.  The non-profit is charged based on users using the training platform.  If all the potential forestry transportation employees in the United States were reached, the investment for this  training will be approximately $180,000.00 a year.  Since the beginning, Team Safe Trucking Board members have had the goal to provide this training at no-cost to Forestry Transportation Owners, Drivers and Safety Professionals.  To try to keep that goal, Team Safe Trucking is looking to apply for two grants to support this endeavor (OSHA’s Susan Howard Grant and The Washington SHIP Grant each are approximately $150,000).  Team Safe Trucking board members are looking at other ways to support this Team Safe Trucking Forestry Transportation Training effort.    During that effort have decided to have Educational Training Sponsors, who will offer all modules and topics released after module two this Summer.


In 2017, Team Safe Trucking released an online training Module One Forestry Transportation Owners and Drivers.  This module is available now to Mills, Logging Associations, Universities, Technical Schools and others whom are interested in holding classroom trainings, conduct online trainings and just to review.  If you are interested becoming a train-the-trainer you can attend a train-the-trainer training by registering for one of the train-the-trainer trainings at, Miranda holds trainings every Wednesday 10AM to 10:45AM.   If you are interested in becoming an educational training sponsor please reach out to Miranda Gowell at or by phone at 207-841-0250. 

Why Logger Owned and Logger Controlled Certification Produces Results

Ted Wright, Executive Director, Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands

Jennifer Hartsig, Coordinator, American Master Logger Certification© Program



The American Master Logger Certification© (AMLC), a project of The American Loggers Council (ALC) kicked off its revitalized program just over two months ago at the ALC Fly-In in Washington, DC.  One of the most exciting components of this project is to spread the ‘logger owned and logger controlled’ Master Logger Certification© program across the United States to help loggers earn respect and improve their image through branding.


The American Master Logger Certification© program seeks to unite professional loggers under a common cause of promoting the advancement of the timber harvesting companies that meet or exceed high performance standards, and to gain recognition and respect for these highly professional timber harvesting companies by the American public.   Over the past two months, we have had the chance to see first hand how the AMLC program is gaining momentum as a vehicle for like-minded, high quality timber harvesters to share ideas and work together to effect positive change for the industry.  This program has active participation by logger representatives from over 18 states and is growing.


During the recent AMLC committee meeting, a new chairman for the program was selected by the group.  Logger Richard Schwab, Vice President of M.A. Rigoni, Inc. in Perry, Florida was chosen by his peers to take over as Chair of the AMLC Committee. Schwab is well known nationally and in the southeast for his past leadership roles in the ALC, Southeast Wood Producers Association and many civic endeavors. Richard’s reputation demonstrates the greatest level of commitment to the ‘Seven Areas of Responsibility’ and the ‘Logger Owned Logger Controlled’ philosophy that is central to the American Master Logger Certification program.


Under Schwab’s guidance, the American Master Logger Certification© program is poised to take off across the nation, expanding the numbers of Certified Logging companies and promoting better understanding of modern, responsible timber harvesting to the public.  “I am passionate about taking the American Master Logger Certification© program to the next level and to additional states across the U.S.”, says Schwab. 


Another example of the commitment to American Master Logger Certification©’s ‘logger run, logger controlled’  set of standards was expressed by Mark Turner, current president of American Loggers Council’s  and owner of Turner Logging in Oregon.  Mark traveled from Oregon to speak to the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine on May 4, 2018 during their recent annual meeting. In this excerpt of Turner’s remarks, he highlights one of the overarching components of the AMLC program:


In Oregon, as in many other parts of the country, the largest logger training programs have been essentially forced on us by the mills and timber companies we work for.  This has never sat very well with me and it is my hope that the American Master Logger Certification© Program can be something that we, the loggers of the United States, can take ownership of.  Something that we do not because someone else has told us we have to, but rather something that we do because it is good for business, and more importantly, because it is the right thing to do.


Pride in doing the right thing and recognition for good work is certainly one of the most commonly cited reasons we hear about for going through the Master Logger Certification© process, and something we are hearing coast-to-coast and north-to-south.  In many areas, earning Master Logger Certification© also brings a variety of tangible incentives that can add up financially. 


In Missouri, Master Logger Certified companies are recognized with preferential status when bidding on state land jobs.  Jason Jensen, a Supervisor of the Missouri Department of Conservation has this to say:  “One way of rewarding Master Loggers is by a point system.  And the bottom line is that a Master Logger can bid … less on a timber sale and still be awarded that sale. What we expect to gain is a little better job of managing our forest resource and less time by our timber sale”.   


Shannon Jarvis, owner Master Logger Certified© Jarvis Timber Company, LLC states “Some mills will give a bonus for a Master Logger.  My insurance company has discounted my rate on equipment insurance for being a Master Logger.  And, I find it easier purchasing timber from landowners when they realize they are getting a Master Logger and getting a top quality job”. 


In Maine, Master Logger Certified companies have earned preferential interest rates on environmentally friendly equipment through the Direct Link Loan program.   Brian Souers, owner of Treeline, Inc. says “It has been a big help by lowering finance costs on low ground pressure, environmentally friendly, equipment.  There is normally a premium on this type of equipment, so this program helps to mitigate that cost.”  An interest rate subsidy is available to qualified borrowers for equipment loans through the Direct Link program.


Matt Jensen, past ALC president and owner of Whitetail Logging in Crandon, WI  also reports similar benefits for being a Master Logger Certified© company, including insurance breaks, bidding  on state jobs, and some preferential mill contracts and access to market share.  In Michigan and Wisconsin, Secura Insurance offers a substantial premium reduction to Master Loggers on liability insurance. A Lake States consulting forester stated working with Master Logger Certified companies “dramatically decreased administrative and field costs because of the quality of the work”.


The reason behind earned incentives like these is the fact that Master Logger Certified© companies ARE safer, more productive and more adherent to best practices for environmental concerns. Master Logger Certified© companies have proven they are innovative business owners with solid track records, fair employers and excellent stewards of the land they are entrusted to harvest.  Richard Schwab, Mark Turner, Shannon Jarvis, Brian Souers, Matt Jensen and other Master Logger Certified© companies  across the country are leading by example in the work they do, the products they send to market and image they project to the public.  


As a group, Master Logger Certified© Companies make top customers for insurance products, equipment loans and make the jobs of state agencies easier.  As the number of Master Logger Certified companies grows across the US, the greater the expansion of these tangible incentives.  We plan to highlight benefits of the Master Logger Certification© program in more depth during future articles.


For more information about American Master Logger Certification©, please visit our website at and find us on Facebook


Logger Survey: Is Logging an Agricultural Activity? We Want Your Feedback

by Danny Dructor, ALC Executive Vice President


For years the Agriculture sector has enjoyed various Acts passed in Congress which have helped to bring some semblance of stability to their industry.  While there are many inferences to the timber harvesting community in many of these Acts, there is no explicit support for the timber harvesting industry as a whole.  We have a valid argument that timber harvesting and logging activities are already recognized in many statutes on a comparative basis with Agriculture, as well as our classification in the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) Code 1133 which falls under agriculture.  This code recognizes the industry as being an agricultural crop producer, and the exemptions and the benefits that the agricultural community currently receives should be extended to the logging industry as well.


A few of the Bills where there could be potential benefit for the industry if clarification as to logging being an agricultural industry include:


The Agricultural Marketing At of June 15, 1929. This Act established a Federal Farm Board to promote the effective merchandising of agricultural commodities in interstate and foreign commerce, and to place agriculture on a basis of economic equality with other industries.  The Act encouraged the organization of producers into effective associations and corporations under their own control for greater unity in effort in marketing and by promoting the establishment of producer-owned and producer-controlled cooperative associations and other agencies.  Section 15(a) states: “As used in this Act the term “cooperative association” means any association in which farmers act together in collectively processing, preparing for market, handling and/or marketing the farm products of persons so engaged and also means any association in which farmers act together in collectively purchasing, testing, grading, and/or processing their farm supplies…”. 


The Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946. Section 207.  “When used in this title, the term “agricultural products” includes agricultural, horticultural, viticultural, and dairy products, livestock, and poultry, bees, forest products, fish and shellfish, and any product thereof, including processed and manufactured products, and any and all products raised or produced on farms and any processed or manufactured products thereof.”


Agricultural Fair Practices Act of 1967. “An Act to prohibit unfair trade practices affecting producers of agricultural products and for other purposes.”  “Because agricultural products are produced by numerous individual farmers, the marketing and bargaining position of individual farmers will be adversely affected unless they are free to join together voluntarily in cooperative organizations as authorized by law.  Interference with this right is contrary to the public interest and adversely affects the free and orderly flow of goods in interstate and foreign commerce.  It is, therefore, declared to be policy of Congress and the purpose of this Act, to establish standards of fair practices required of handlers in their dealings in agricultural products.”

The Act prohibits the following activities by the “handler”:

  1. To coerce any producer in the exercise of his right to join and belong to or to refrain from joining or belonging to an association of producers, or to refuse to deal with any producer because of the exercise of his rights to join and belong to such an association.”
  2. “To discriminate against any producer with respect to price, quantity, quality, or other terms of purchase, acquisition, or other handling of agricultural products because of his membership in or contact with an association of producers or a contract with a handler.”
  3. “To coerce or intimidate any producer to enter into, maintain, breach, cancel, or terminate a membership agreement or marketing contract with an association of producers or a contract with a handler.”
  4. “To pay or loan money, give anything of value, or offer any other inducement or reward to a producer for refusing to or ceasing to belong to an association of producers.”
  5. “To make false reports about the finances, management, or activities of associations of producers or handlers.”
  6. “To conspire, combine, agree, or arrange with any person to do, or aid or abet the doing of, any act made unlawful by this Act.”

Many lawmakers in Washington, DC are surprised to find out that the logging industry is not always considered a part of Agriculture in many of the statutes that exist today.  While several states have made it quite clear that logging is considered an agricultural activity and offered up many of same exemptions and  exceptions that our friends in agricultural currently enjoy at the State level, we are behind the curve in making our case at the national level.


We would like to hear back from you on whether or not the American Loggers Council should actively pursue this issue, and of course we would welcome any comments or concerns that you might have as we move forward.  Please click here to vote in our on-line poll.


You can also feel free to contact us at 409-625-0206, e-mail at (please include “logging as ag” in the subject line), write comments on our Facebook page (American Loggers Council), or mail us at ALC, PO Box 966, Hemphill, TX 75948.  We look forward to hearing from you.

American Master Logger Certification© Committee Appoints Richard Schwab Chair

CONTACT: Ted Wright
Executive Director
Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands
Phone: (207) 532-8721
Release Date: 5/17/18



The American Master Logger Certification© (AMLC), a project of The American Loggers Council (ALC) is pleased to announce logger Richard Schwab, Vice President of M.A. Rigoni, Inc. in Perry, Florida is taking over as Chair of the AMLC Committee. Schwab is well known nationally and in the southeast for his past leadership roles in the ALC, Southeast Wood Producers Association and many civic endeavors.


The Committee is indebted to former Chairman, Crad Jaynes, President & CEO of the South Carolina Timber Producers Association for his direction of this important movement from 2003 to May of 2018. The ALC first adopted American Master Logger Certification© in 2002 as a national model for third party verified, responsible logging. Since its inception more than 18 states have approved templates for implementation of the program.


M.A. Rigoni, Inc., established in 1960 and under the Schwab and Brett’s family’s direction since 1995, is well known throughout the southeast as a pioneer in innovative harvesting and utilization practices. In 2016, M.A. Rigoni, Inc. was honored as ‘National Outstanding Logger’ by the Forest Resource Association. Richard Schwab is well respected by his colleagues and employees for having a hands-on or servant style of leadership. Richard’s reputation demonstrates the greatest level of commitment to the ‘Seven Areas of Responsibility’ and the ‘Logger Owned Logger Controlled’ that is central to the American Master Logger Certification program.


Under Schwab’s guidance, the American Master Logger Certification© program is poised to take off across the nation, expanding the numbers of Certified Logging companies and promoting better understanding of modern, responsible timber harvesting to the public. “I am passionate about taking the American Master Logger Certification© program to the next level and to additional states across the U.S.”, says Schwab.


Richard lives in Perry, Florida with his wife Jennifer.


For more information about American Master Logger Certification©, please visit our website at and find us on Facebook

As long bull run (on framing lumber) charges on traders struggle to see end

Originally published in Random Lengths.

A common refrain from even veteran lumber traders in this historic run has been, “We have never seen one like this before.” With a look back at other record runs, and accounting for all the factors at work today, it is easy to make the case that this one is unprecedented.

The chart shows previous record runs (trend lines)against the backdrop of the current run (columns), each over an 18-month period. What characterized the previous three runs were market spikes over relatively short periods, and then retrenchment nearly in mirrored imagery to their upward trajectories.

The current run has stair-stepped upward over the past year and a half with only a few pullbacks — a moderate one in May and June of last year and a mild slip in April this year (chart). The 1993-94 run was driven by logging cutbacks on the federal forests in the Northwest to protect the northern spotted owl. Another was the housing boom of 2004-05 that eventually ended in calamity when the bottom fell out of the housing market in 2008. Those runs generated two spikes over their respective 18-month periods.

Previous record runs have come with “an emotional” element. There certainly was over the spotted owl timber shortages and the high-flying excesses of the housing bubble. There was emotion early on in this run, as the U.S. imposed countervailing and anti-dumping duties on Canada’s shipments to the U.S. Shortly thereafter, however, emotion dissipated and has been muted since. What put an end to the previous runs was the industry’s ability to respond to record prices with increased production that eventually overcame demand. In the past, that dynamic has occurred over the course of several months or a few more.

What is different this time is the length of the run, perpetuated by specific supply-side issues that have hampered the industry’s ability to increase supply to meet and eventually overtake demand. Those issues — last summer’s forest fi res, log shortages in the West, cutbacks in the allowable cut in B.C., shortages of trucks, and insufficient rail service — all conspired to generate a supply crunch. Contributing to those and many other supply-side problems throughout the economy have been labor shortages. That includes the ability of sawmills to hire for additional production.

As seasonal demand kicks in, traders widely believe that this market has more room to run. But they also acknowledge that it too will have an end. They just cannot foresee it, at least at the moment, in large part because they “have never seen one like this before.”

John Deere Incorporates Waratah TimberRite H-16 Control System on Harvesters and Swing Machines to Improve Efficiency



On a mission to continuously improve machine efficiency, John Deere is excited to announce the integration of Waratah’s TimberRite H-16 Control System on John Deere tracked harvesters and tracked swing machines equipped with Waratah 600-Series Harvesting Heads.


Previously only available for the 200- and 400-Series Waratah heads, this productive and efficient system has been expanded for use with the 600-Series heads, providing loggers with a solution that enhances connectivity for data and information sharing.


“By adding the H-16 Control System to our machines, we are offering our customers the technology needed to be more productive in the woods, regardless of their application,” said Matt Flood, John Deere ForestSight™ product manager. “By combining the precise measuring and cutting control of the H-16 system with the power of the John Deere tracked harvesters and swing machines, loggers have a superior solution that can tackle any job.”


With the addition of the H-16 Control System, operators have more control of harvesting and processing heads, increasing precision when measuring and cutting timber. One of the most notable features on the system is the ability to configure settings to exact application needs, improving head performance, productivity and measuring accuracy. Loggers can choose from two systems based on their needs. The preselection prioritization system follows preset logic and prioritizes based on operator selection, length and diameter, while the optional value-based optimization system uses log grade, assortment value, stem prognosis, length and diameters matrices, and demand inputs.

Using the H-16 Control System, loggers have technology at their fingertips. The user-friendly platform makes it easier to check work and repair statistics, track navigation and monitor machine data. Supporting StanForD file format, the TimberRite H-16 system allows data to interchange with virtually any professional system in the forestry business.  


The H-16 Control System is even more beneficial when integrated with JDLink™, providing loggers with connectivity with access to production data, including average tree stem size, actual production, work time utilization, productivity and fuel consumption. Additionally, the John Deere telematics permit remote display access for troubleshooting the TimberRite H-16 system, and wireless data transfer enables automatic file sharing through JDLink, even in remote locations. Now five years in base, JDLink is the John Deere telematics equipment management solution system that connects owners and managers to their machines and dealers. JDLink provides alerts and status updates to help owners and managers better manage where and how equipment is used.


The H-16 Control System can be installed at the factory or aftermarket through a John Deere dealer. To learn more about the H-16 Control System, the John Deere harvester and swing machine offerings, and JDLink™, visit or contact your local John Deere dealer.

Loggers Working in the Trenches

by Eric Carleson, Executive Director, Associated California Loggers

I was talking to an ACL member recently and he referenced the title of this Column (“From the Trenches.”) He said to me, “You folks really ARE in the trenches, aren’t you?” He went on to discuss the various projects and negotiations that ACL has been reporting on to our members over the past few years.


For a good example of being “in the trenches,” look no further than the photos in this April newsletter, of various ACL Board Members who travelled to Washington DC last month and spent three days meeting with members of Congress, their staff, administrative officials and private sector “think tanks” in an effort to educate and advocate for the issues of our sector of the timber industry.


Every year ACL sends a delegation to Washington, and every year we come back knowing that we have put many solid arguments – backed by research and data – in front of the lawmakers and other officials with whom we meet. Our goals are many: to increase forest health by saving California forests from the threat of increased “mega-wildfires” and insect-killed dead and dying trees; to increase water yield for ALL Californians via timber management that avoids impacts on water quality and water supply; to promote a job-creating “win win” biomass alternative energy industry; to save our rural timber communities through increased timber harvest and thinning, and to re-create a timber industry that will attract a new generation of young men and women to commit to the tough but rewarding “great outdoors” work that is timber harvesting.


This year, during the very week we were in DC, the most significant pro-timber legislation in years passed both Houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Trump. Did the ACL delegation singlehandedly win this victory? The answer is no. Was the ACL delegation part of the “massive flood of grassroots lobbyists” who swarmed the US Capitol and laid a groundswell of support for the legislation that passed? The answer is a resounding YES.


Without our laying of the groundwork and flooding the Members of Congress with our information “up close and personal, face to face”, the pressure would have been less intense for negotiators to put protimber provisions in the Omnibus Bill. Among logging states lobbying in DC that week, ACL had one of the largest delegations and visited the most offices – offices of both California lawmakers and of lawmakers from other states (of both parties) who could help get this win accomplished.


Our delegation also learned a hard lesson in DC this year. The Omnibus Budget Bill that contains so many good provisions for the timber industry was also a “compromise bill” on a lot of topics that drew plenty of “no” votes and attacks in some of the press, for some of its spending provisions.


But that‟s the only major bill that passed, and ACL will join in the effort to see that the Omnibus Bill is properly enacted to bring both money and reforms to the Timber Management side of the US Forest Service in California. For all the good things that made it into the Omnibus Bill for forestry, a number of things didn’t make it.


ACL and other timber groups are pushing for those “left out provisions” to make it into the 2018 Farm Bill, which is being negotiated now. If it doesn‟t happen there (as 2018 becomes a combative Election Year), we will get back into battle mode and keep fighting for these reforms to get enacted in the future.


Though work on the federal forests is a vitally important part of ACL’s mission, we certainly remain active in state issues (we will report on those as the year goes on), and in providing our members with access to insurance, safety training and ProLogger certification.


Still, it is in our “volunteer logger lobbying” that ACL has made its presence most felt in recent years. We keep expanding the number of loggers who want to get personally involved in meetings at the state and federal level. Nowadays, you can usually see ACL members in so many different meetings at so many different levels, that the officials staging these meetings must be thinking: “Who ARE those guys?” That‟s a line from the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” but ACL loggers find themselves being spoken of that way all the time – and in a good way.


Who are those guys? They are the guys (and gals) who never go away, who always keep fighting, and who will continue to fight “in the trenches” for our members in the years to come.

Tigercat Releases 602 Cable Skidder

Tigercat releases the compact and narrow 602 cable skidder in North America. 

In 2017, Tigercat developed and released its most compact skidder platfrom, the 602 series. The prototype 602 skidder was sent to France last summer to be fitted with a Belgian designed and manufactured swing boom for use in mountain regions of Europe.


Now the 602 is available as a cable skidder suited to pockets of North America and other traditional winch skidder markets. The 602 cable skidder is ideal for high value selective hardwood logging and for retrieving timber from steep slopes and gullies.


The 602 is equipped with the Tigercat FPT Tier N45 engine which  provides full emissions compliance for Tier 2 and Tier 4f , along with excellent fuel economy. Both engines deliver 125 kW (168 hp) at 2,200 rpm.


The machine has a fixed front axle with an oscillating centre section to achieve a very narrow overall width of 2,7 metres (106 in). The agility of the 602 is ideal in selective felling applications. The machine can access high value timber in steep terrain, while minimizing damage to the residual stand.


Maximum fuel efficiency is achieved by the use of Tigercat’s load sensing hydraulic system – only supplying the amount of oil that the various functions require for reduced engine load.


The 602 cable skidder offering has already attracted a lot of attention in the United States, where the first machine debuted at the Paul Bunyan show in Cambridge, Ohio this past October.


Bill Shufflebotham, based in Rockport, Illinois purchased the first 602 cable skidder. He states, “It’s the only quality small machine on the market. It’s easy to move at nine feet wide and it’s powerful.”

Changing our image with performance based certification

By Ted Wright, Executive Director, The Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands


Loggers are a proud group of hardworking individuals, and nothing makes a careful and conscientious logger cringe more than seeing sloppy work, hearing stories of landowners being cheated or being treated with skepticism by people inside and outside the industry.  Those loggers know that this damages their reputation just as much as it does the reputation of the logger that is responsible. 


Logging is not the only profession that has good caring professionals along with bad apples that can ruin the bushel.  Physicians, attorneys, electricians, mechanics, plumbers and many others all have ways to distinguish the good from the bad.


There was a time when physicians could simply go to medical school and then go into practice. There was no performance assessment for the specialty they chose to practice. Bad physicians were getting into practice and were making people sick or making critical mistakes that made people fear seeking the help of a physician. In the early 1900’s the majority of physicians knew they needed a profession-led certification to move forward and crack down on those within the profession that were not holding up their end of the bargain. Through the creation of board certification, they were able to remove the bad actors but also improve their image.


This was not done through training programs. It was done by board certification. It was undertaken for many reasons, but improving image, distinguishing excellent practices and driving continuous improvement were all part of it.


The analogy of physicians can be directly related to the logging profession. Logging contractors that invest millions of dollars and run clean businesses are lumped into the same group as loggers who are only there for a short term or as long as they can hack it. Today a person can simply buy a chainsaw and a skidder, take a training class and then they are considered a ‘qualified’ logger.


Many of these “loggers” do harm to the industry because they have a short term window of operations, but the damage they can do to the industry is long term. We cannot continue to operate this way. The time has come for a performance-based certification to truly separate the loggers that care, are invested heavily and want to see a future of responsible forest management.


There have been many people who are skeptical of Master Logger because they believe it will somehow inhibit their business, add cost and cause harm, when in fact its purpose is to recognize those of you who are doing things right and separate you from those who don’t.


Training alone is a great equalizer when it comes to responsible and irresponsible logging contractors. Anyone can attend a training and be recognized for that. It is not enough. What matters is what happens in the woods.


Our industry simply can’t move forward because everyone is “trained”.  Training programs have improved safety and opened up new ideas, but they also cost valuable time if they are taken simply to meet a required mandate. The logging profession cannot be judged on attendance at training programs alone. Better to judge the profession on performance standards that drive continuous improvement.


I think what has been lost over the last twenty years is the understanding of the terms: “qualified” and “certified”.  This has confused those working in the industry as well as the general public.  As a result, these terms are comingled and used without understanding, allowing those who have attended a training program to call themselves certified even though this doesn’t meet the definition of the term. 


For context, I think it’s extremely important to differentiate between 1st party (company) , 2nd party (qualified) and 3rd party (certified) assessments. 1st Party assessment is a conformity assessment performed by the individual that provides the service, where the 1st party can establish, “I am good”. 2nd party assessment is a conformity assessment performed by an organization (Trainer, instructor) that has an interest in the service provided, “we are good” otherwise known as “qualified”. 3rd party assessment is a conformity assessment that requires an entirely independent party to provide the conformity assessment. “They are good”. 3rd party is the only assessment that can be called certification.


In closing, I offer the following table for you to compare and contrast the differences and uses of Logger Training Program (qualified) vs. Master Logger (certified). Training has been important and will be important for growth for ourselves and our employees, but it should not be the deciding factor in measuring a logger’s commitment to the industry.

Many of you have years of experience, serious investments in machines, employees and your local communities. These successes that you have worked so hard to achieve can be undermined and minimized by a recognition system that is mandated by others, and that’s not fair. Performance based certification recognizes your good work and commitment to the logging profession and is that recognition that will lead to an image of our professionalism that we all desire.


I hope this article mobilizes conscientious logging contractors towards voluntary logger certification. We need all of you on board going above and beyond to help weed the bad out from the good. The industry and our profession will be better because of it.

Wendy Farrand: Loggers, Listen to Those Who Truly Understand

Ever since I set foot on a logging job, I have been advocating and defending loggers. I say to loggers everywhere, no one knows your world better than a fellow logging contractor. I am not a logger, but I did learn a lot of things from working in the woods right alongside loggers as a procurement manager. 


As a procurement manager for a fully mechanized timber harvesting company, I was part of the crew. Once I got that contract signed, I supported my crews the best way I could which could entailed anything from running for a hose or part, driving a crew member to the hospital or court, or retrieving hot soup for the slasher operator who was sick as a dog, but refused to leave the job in order to keep the wood flowing to the mill. I always strived to pull my weight when it came to physical work. 


No one, and I mean no one, myself included, knows the pain and heartache of running a logging company when times are tough. When fuel prices are high, when quotas are low or when regulations halt a job. I experienced all those things alongside the owner, but when I went home, the bottom line, as much as I stressed about the business, I did not sign the paychecks and could not begin to tell the logger how to decide what to do. I could advise him on things that I knew without a doubt, but making those tough every day decisions could only fall on his shoulders. 


Which brings me to a very valuable bit of information ….. no one but a fellow logging contractor can understand, really understand, what you experience in the woods. So when considering people to fill those positions of power, who are setting standards for how you work in the woods, please, please hold out for someone who has walked your shoes. Someone who really understands what it is like to look into the eyes of those men and women who have families waiting at home for them to return. Waiting for them to return with a fair wage to put food on the table, and a roof over their heads. People in power should understand those hard decisions, how you make them, and why you make them. 


When I delivered my presentation “Rebranding and Industry” this past February at the Oregon Logging Conference, I opened my presentation exactly the way I opened this piece, I have worked in the woods alongside loggers, I have worked in this industry in hard times, but I still don’t feel I have the right to tell a business owner how to make those tough decisions when I have never really walked in his shoes, or frankly had the courage to walk in his or her boots. I have never had a huge equipment payment, had to make the decision to buy an expensive part to repair a piece of equipment, or stretch a penny to buy fuel, the lifeblood that keeps the wood flowing. What’s a logger to do? In order to keep the wood flowing those decisions, made under extremely stressful circumstances with very little room for a wiggle, let alone the luxury of time to decide, are what separate the weak from the strong. When someone from outside of your industry tries to tell you what to do, take heed, for without total understanding of the blood, sweat and tears that go into the decisions you so keenly make every day, they really don’t understand. 


Empathy, the ability to put yourself in someone else shoes, is one thing a successful leader must possess. So, there is one thing I can advise you without a doubt, and that is fill the spots, that are in your power to fill, with people who have walked in your boots. Not someone who might wear sandals or office flats on the job, if you know what I mean. 


Wendy Farrand is a forest industry consultant who works to spread the word regarding the value of strengthening “The People Side of Timber Harvesting” and the positive impact that has on safety, production, and overall professionalism in the logging industry.