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



New Tigercat Dealer for Upper Great Lakes Region

Tigercat is pleased to announce that Woodland Equipment is the new dealer in the upper Great Lakes region of the United States.
Based in Iron River, Michigan, Woodland Equipment will cover the upper Great Lake states including northern Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the northern portion of lower Michigan.

Woodland Equipment owner Ron Beauchamp comments, “We are excited to introduce Tigercat to our customers in the upper Great Lakes region.  Tigercat is a proven forestry-focused company with a passion to build rugged and durable equipment.  For us,  Tigercat is about better serving our customers with the best solutions we can find.  For our customers,  Tigercat offers the broadest portfolio and the highest quality in forestry – more productivity, less downtime, longer lasting equipment.”

Woodland has been family owned since 1974 with the next generation assuming leadership in 2014. Woodland Equipment has over twenty years of experience with CTL harvesting systems, which dominate the upper Great Lakes region. Tigercat looks forward to expanding its customer base in this region and along with Woodland, will strive to deliver a superior customer service experience.

ALC Holds Annual Meeting

Over 180 attend Annual Membership Meeting in Panama City Beach, Fla.

alc_1Hemphill, Texas (October 11, 2016) –The American Loggers Council (ALC) recently held its 22nd Annual Meeting in Panama City Beach, Florida, on Sept. 29 – October 1, 2016 and had over 180 attendees including loggers, and sponsors that have helped support the work of the Council.

This is the first time that the loggers have returned to Florida since 2006 when Charles Johns served as President of the organization.

alc_2The three day conference included a logging tour on Neil Family Land and Timber, hosted by Tim Southerland with B & K Land & Timber and Beard Equipment. Technical sessions included discussions on attracting and retaining logging business employees led by Wendy Farrand and Succession Planning and Market development lead by Tom Trone with TNT Consultants.

alc_3Congressman Bruce Westerman of Arkansas received a President’s award for his efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to promote sustainable forest practices on both federal and private lands and Rocky Bunnell, a logger and ALC Board member from New Hampshire, also received a President’s award for his leadership and service to the American Loggers Council in promoting more participation in the ALC’s Spring Washington, DC Fly-In.
M.M. Wright’s Frank Myers and Stephen Wright received the prestigious Timber Harvesting “Logging Business of the Year Award” presented this year by Hatton-Brown’s own D.K. Knight.

The American Loggers Council’s National Logger Activist Award that recognizes a logger who has demonstrated unselfish time and effalc_5orts to promote the timber harvesting profession was presented to Jack McFarland with McFarland Timber Company located in Winnfield, Louisiana.

The Board of Directors and Membership meetings were held on October 1st and included committee reports from the legislative, transportation, biomass, communications, membership, Master Logger and nomination committees and was highlighted by the adoption of a strategic action plan as a result of work done during the year by the ALC Executive Committee and Board of Directors that includes more policy work in Washington, DC as well as better communications between the organization and not only the loggers they represent but the general public as well.

Ladies were treated to shopping experience in nearby Destin, Florida followed by lunch and a scenic drive down Florida’s famous Highway 30A.

Attendees opened their pocketbooks on Friday evening at the annual ALC auction where over $18,000 was raised to further support the work of the Coualc_6ncil and another $3,000 for the Log-A-Load for Kids program.

During the closing President’s dinner on Saturday night, President Richard Schwab from Perry, Florida introduced as the new President of the American Loggers Council, Mississippi logger Ken Martin. Oregon Logger Mark Turner, Alabama logger Chris Potts and Missouri Logger Shannon Jarvis filling the Vice Presidents and Committee. Mr. Martin stated in his remarks that “I humbly accept this position as President of the American Loggers Council and fully intend in taking the steps necessary to accomplish our goals as set out in the newly adopted strategic action plan” before officially adjourning the meeting.

About American Loggers Council
The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization representing timber harvesting professionals in 30 states. For more information contact the American Loggers Council office at 409-625-0206 or visit their website at www.amloggers.com.

Action Alert: Support forest management reforms in Energy Bill

Action Alert: Support forest management reforms in Energy Bill

The U.S. Congress is working out differences between House and Senate versions of a comprehensive energy bill. There is one key difference between the bills: The House included a comprehensive wildfire funding and forest management reform package, while the Senate did not. It is now up to a conference committee to work out the differences. Please click here to send an email to your members of Congress.

For a list of energy conference committee members, click here.

The House version includes the Resilient Federal Forests Act. Passed by the House twice, the measure would end the nonsensical practice of “fire borrowing” when agencies are forced to rob money from forest management programs when fire suppression budgets are exhausted. More importantly, it would also give the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management a number of policy and legal tools to expedite critical forest management projects.

Over 3 million acres have burned in America this year. Congress can help address the threats facing our federal forests by enacting comprehensive forest management and fire funding reforms in the Energy Bill.

We believe the Conference Committee should adopt a package of reforms which:

  • Prevents fire borrowing and stop further erosion of the Forest Service budget in the future.
  • Streamlines environmental reviews to expedite forest management projects.
  • Enacts common sense limits on obstructionist lawsuits.

There is broad, bipartisan support for a comprehensive solution to these problems. Please don’t let the Energy Bill conference be another missed opportunity to address these challenges. Click here to tell your members of Congress you support forest management reforms. 

John Deere G-Series Large-Size Swing Machines Put Productivity Into Full Swing

Setting a new industry standard for the swing machine market, the highly anticipated John Deere 3154/3156G and 3754/3756G swing machines offer operators increases in productivity, durability and reliability. From loading to processing big wood, the G-Series swing machines help loggers efficiently power through jobs. As part of the G-Series introduction, John Deere will distinguish its crawler log loaders using 56 in the model name, while the forestry excavators will continue to use the 54 designations.

The most notable improvement on the G-Series swing machines is the completely redesigned cab, which is equipped with features to increase operator comfort. The larger side-entry cab and the elevated rear-entry climate-controlled cab are more spacious than their predecessors and include fatigue-reducing features, such as excellent window clarity, ergonomic controls and isolation mounting to boost operator productivity throughout long days.

The 3154G and 3754G swing machines are equipped with a side-entry cab, while the 3156G and 3756G models are equipped with an elevated rear-entry cab, allowing for safe and easy entry and exit. These elevated cabs feature floor-mounted windows that increase visibility to the tracks to help maneuver over difficult ground conditions. Additionally, a new cab-forward option on the 3156G model boosts operator confidence, particularly when swinging toward the boom side of the cab, positioning the operator 17 inches further forward than standard cabs. New LED lighting options on all models expand the lighted area with crisp, clear lighting for improved visibility and safety on the job site.

“At John Deere, we understand that operator comfort is vital to productivity, particularly during long days on the job,” said Dave McFarlane, product marketing manager, John Deere Construction & Forestry. “When developing the new G-Series swing machines, we focused on improving operator comfort and safety, creating a more spacious cab and increasing visibility. We feel these improvements will raise the bar for operator expectations in the industry.”

In addition to the redesigned cabs, the new G-Series swing machines offer a host of features designed to improve machine uptime and performance. The 3154G and 3156G models feature a larger hydraulic pump and hydraulic cooling package, along with a 9.0-liter engine, improving multifunctioning performance and providing better reliability, durability and productivity in big wood applications.

The G-Series machines also offer significant undercarriage improvements, including larger lower rollers and a longer track frame option on the 3754G and 3756G machines. The updates to the 3754G and 3756G machines place more track on the ground, offering increased stability and operator comfort, boosting lift capacity and extending roller and track life. Additionally, the 3756G machines are now available with integrated hydraulic plumbing for the Waratah processing heads, offering loggers a factory-installed solution across both models.

Service has been simplified on the G-Series machines, with a 30 percent reduction in electrical components, helping to reduce electrical-related downtime. Additionally, the machines are equipped with a larger cooling system with reversing fans to increase airflow and lower hydraulic operating temperature. Larger service bays with LED service lights and a large, tilt-down service platform make it easier for operators to perform routine maintenance.

These service features, combined with the JDLink™ machine monitoring system and remote diagnostics, help owners and operators proactively maintain their machines at peak performance levels to ensure the highest level of productivity, uptime and, ultimately, longer machine life. JDLink enables fleet owners to monitor their machines from miles away, tracking machine health, managing hours and identifying maintenance needs.

To learn more, visit www.JohnDeere.com or contact your local John Deere dealer.

About Deere & Company

Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services and is committed to the success of customers whose work is linked to the land – those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world’s dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter and infrastructure. Since 1837, John Deere has delivered innovative products of superior quality built on a tradition of integrity. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at www.JohnDeere.com.

Associated California Loggers President on Fox News

Associated California Loggers President Bob MacMullin recently appeared in this Fox News story regarding President Obama’s visit to California. Click here to watch the video.

Bobmac

Jim Carey: How I See It

By Jim Carey – J. Carey Logging, Inc.

With all the complaints heard over the years about the un-level playing field in the logging ranks, and how some loggers have an economic advantage, I thought I would express my opinion on the subject. This is a problem we all talk about, but nothing has ever been done to address the problem let alone correct it for good. The topic of not enough, or too many, loggers comes up each time the wood pile gets too big or too small. It is obvious that in the Lake States, for the present time anyway, there is more than enough logging capacity to satisfy demand. The wood inventories are currently full, so many loggers are home unable to sell their wood and truckers are calling everyone they know looking for a load to haul.

A few months ago there was talk suggesting we had a severe shortage of loggers and truckers. The conversation also centered on the perception no young people were coming in to the forest, the theme was common at nearly every meeting I attended.

The perceived shortages of wood and suppliers all came to an end when the purse strings were opened a short time ago. It is amazing what a crew of hardworking loggers and truckers can do when they are given the chance to make a reasonable return on their substantial investment in people and equipment.

The up and down times associated with high and low used to happen every few years with economic changes. Now they seem to change in 18-24 months. When the prices go too high who profits? I don’t think the mills do by what they tell us or by looking at their financial reports. Do loggers profit by the high prices? I think any logger who can control his cost or at least knows what his cost are do very well in times of high delivered prices. One mill representative told me they raised the prices during the last shortage just to help the loggers get financially stronger. I am not sure but I think it had more to do with the size of the wood pile But I’ll let you be the judge of that one.

It seems that some loggers make money regardless of the financial peaks and valleys. I think that’s in part because not all loggers share the same operational costs. Some loggers are just inefficient so their costs may be too high. Others may have a significant advantage because they may not play by the same rules as others. Either way I will try to explain what I would consider the model of a good logger and the model of a logger that we might consider a little less than sterling, and how that impacts the wood procurement system.

I am going to list just a few ways some loggers cut corners or whatever term you may want to use, to explain the less than stellar activities. One way is for the logging company to call their employees “independent contractors” or “subs”. There are other terms and they all allow the company to avoid paying all the labor related expenses that go with employing people. Payroll taxes, social security, work comp, safety meeting costs, training as required by law just to name a few. The same goes for overtime pay. Some logger and trucker employers do not pay overtime for over 40 hours worked in a week. Some pay cash at the straight time rate and an uninformed employee may think he is getting a good deal only to find out later in life they have no, or reduced social security or other benefits. The items previously listed are a list of bare minimum labor costs which should be paid by a good employer. The short cuts listed above are a very popular scenario used in the Lake States to cut or eliminate some costs.

Another way used a lot is weight conversions. Some loggers and even mills convert tons to cords using factors which are not standard published conversion numbers. By doing this the landowner, sub-contractor, and trucker may not be getting full compensation for all the wood produced, and the logger using this practice has the opportunity to make a substantially higher profit at the expense of everyone else involved.

Short term ways to be more profitable in trucking are to haul grossly overweight loads, cut corners on maintenance, and maybe claim longer zones on short zone wood. As offensive at this may sound it does happen on a regular basis by some less than sterling loggers and truckers.

Another way to increase profits would be to purchase timberland and to cut it in a way that gives the new owner the most money per acre today. This is maybe not what we would preach as the best way to manage timber for the future, but if the wood inventories are low it can and often does go un noticed. I would never want to see laws that tell me how to manage my own timberland but we should have some principles to follow regardless how low pulp inventories are.

Now that I made it look like we have a terrible industry, we don’t, we just need to make it better and maybe convince the bad actors to raise their bar a bit. The items above are what I would call a list of things that show the model of what a logger should not be.

Now let’s look at what a model of a good logger might be. Some of the comments we’ve heard multiple times are: there are no new people coming to look for logging jobs, we can’t find help, we train someone to work and they go somewhere else.

A good logger employer would pay a living wage, provide a good benefit plan that would include some sort of health and life insurance and provide a pension or 401K plan. They would also provide a real work/comp insurance plan which provides coverage and helps create a safer work environment. They would provide training in all aspects of the job in which an employee might become engaged and provide a work schedule that ensures for enough time to spend with family. A good logger may take some time to teach proper forestry to a young class at the local school. There are enough people telling the other side of the story and it is better to teach the young folks before they get the wrong message. He may even get involved in his logging association to help make things better for all involved. I could list a bunch of loggers that not only work hard at their every day job but they also work in local, state, and national logging issues for the benefit of ALL loggers.

Now that we have made a distinction between the good and the bad, we didn’t judge anyone because that is not our job. We just made a list of criteria for the best and the worst.

If you were in the position of picking your logger from one group or another which group would you chose? I know today the second group would cost you more than the first group, at least in the short term. I also know when you deal with the second group you have a lot less public outcry about what we do, as a stable workforce, with less turnover, provides more consistent and reliable results.

If loggers were rewarded by living up to these higher standards and not so much by desperation purchases I do believe our future and the future of our industry would be a lot stronger, and brighter, for future generation of loggers young and old. There would be plenty of room for new firms that are willing to play by the rules.

I will end with a couple of quotes from some old seasoned loggers- when I asked Keith Olson in Montana if there was room for new loggers there he said “yes there is, for good ones” Charles Johns from Florida” If you continue to do what you always did, you continue to get what you always got” and last but not least, from Tom Clisch, the logger not the salesman, “at least all loggers are born honest” We have a fantastic industry if we just make some needed improvements it will be even better, let’s not be judged by our lowest common denominator. God Bless.

Jim Carey is the owner of J. Carey Logging, Inc., based out of Channing, Michigan.  Jim is a member of the Michigan Association of Timbermen and a past Board member to the American Loggers Council.

Technology and ‘smart iron’ – the future of logging

Note from ALC Executive Vice President Danny Dructor: A conversation with Kevin Thieneman, President of Caterpillar Forest Products, revealed that most major forest equipment manufacturers are adding technology to their machines today that the customers are paying for, whether they are using the technology or not; resulting in a request to have Caterpillar write an article showing the justification and the need for loggers to become more familiar and utilize these new technologies.  The forest industry is lagging behind both the construction and agriculture industries in the acceptance and use of telematics and there is potential, when properly applied, to gain efficiencies which might improve your bottom line.

From Caterpillar Forest Products

Mechanization has done a lot for the logging industry: reduced labor costs; significantly improved safety; and enabled contractors to produce more wood.

Machine costs, and therefore prices, continue to increase to meet engine emissions standards as well as improve performance. Machines safely fell a tree in seconds. They quickly skid a bundle of logs to a landing where they can be processed. They delimb those trees, buck them to length, sort them in piles, and load them on trucks.

Logging contractors make a substantial investment in their equipment. And equipment manufacturers like Caterpillar have made it their job to improve machine performance, productivity, and efficiency so loggers earn a bigger return on their investment.

To be profitable in timber harvesting requires more than just improvements in machine quality, fuel efficiency, and production. Logging contractors have to manage their assets, whether those assets are machines or people. And whether they have three machines or 30 machines, or running one job site or multiple job sites.

cat

‘Smart iron’ enables loggers to manage equipment like never before. ‘Smart iron’ is leveraging new technology to increase machine utilization and reduce costs. The more that machine is working productively and efficiently for you, the more wood you produce, the more revenue you earn, the more efficient your operation, the more return on your investment.

“This technology is a game changer,” said Kevin Thieneman, President of Cat Forest Products. “In fact, we think this technology is so important that we are making it available to loggers with mixed fleets.”

Caterpillar has embraced digital technology for decades. With Product Link and Vision Link, loggers already can collect data about machine performance and have access to it on any Web-enabled device. This technology helps track idle time, up time, machine location, and monitor machine performance and prevent catastrophic failures.

Caterpillar is hard at work advancing this technology and taking it to the next level. Increasing machine utilization is going to be more important to loggers, whether they have one crew and a handful of machines or multiple crews working on several job sites with numerous machines.

If you know the utilization rate of a machine, you can manage less efficient operators, machines, or contractors, and the equipment’s hourly rates.

Technology can allow the actual utilization rate to be displayed in real time for the operator. In fact, a report on applications of this technology noted that simply displaying the utilization rate motivated machine operators to work more productively and efficiently because they sought to reduce machine stop time. Some logging contractors even reported friendly competition that broke out among operators to see who could achieve the highest utilization rate.

How does that impact the bottom line? A cost-benefit analysis showed that using this kind of technology to achieve just a 5 percent increase in machine utilization rates in a small, tree-length logging system would increase net income by more than three-fold; the same analysis showed that another logging system would realize an 18-fold increase in net income.

What do you suppose ‘smart iron’ could do for a contractor who has three crews, each one working on a different job? Six crews?

This technology is going to generate a host of information that will provide direct benefits to loggers — information they can leverage to work smarter and make more money.

Caterpillar is on the cutting edge of this technology and on the path to providing new solutions for the forestry industry.

Tigercat Industries Hosts American Loggers Council Summer Board Meeting

Board members gather in Brantford, Ontario

FOR RELEASE July 14, 2016

For Media Inquiries Contact:
Danny Dructor
American Loggers Council
Phone: 409-625-0206
E-mail: americanlogger@aol.com

ALC group hrHemphill, Texas (August 4, 2016) –The American Loggers Council (ALC) recently held its Summer Board of Directors Meeting in Brantford, Ontario on July 29 – 30. Tigercat Industries volunteered to host the event and those that were attendance were treated to a first-class experience.

ALC members arrived on Thursday afternoon and attended a welcome reception held at the Best Western Hotel & Convention Center. Tigercat Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken MacDonald, President Tony Iarocci, Sales Manager Kevin Selby and several others from Tigercat were on hand to welcome the group.

Friday was spent touring several facilities that are manufacturing Tigercat Equipment, including their recently opened 127,000 square foot facility in Paris, Ontario. The group walked through the assembly lines with Tigercat Vice Presidents and engineers who answered questions about the manufacturing processes and engineering of the machines.

acl_2Ken MacDonald lead the group through MacDonald Steel and then Tigercat graciously hosted a reception and dinner at the Brantford County Club for the group on Friday evening and provided transportation and meeting rooms for the ALC Board of Directors and other guests.

On Saturday, The ALC Board members met at the Best Western Hotel and Convention Center to discuss business and issues of the Council as well as the proposed strategic plan introduced by ALC President Ricard Schwab and the ALC Executive Committee. The Board adopted the proposal with an action plan to be developed and rolled out during the ALC Annual meeting on October 1, 2016 in Panama City, Florida.

Other items on the agenda included reports from the Legislative Committee, Communications Committee, Membership Committee and the Nominations Committee

alc_1ALC President Richard Schwab thanked the members of Tigercat for not only hosting the meeting, but also for their hospitality throughout the two day event. “Tigercat was an excellent host and provided a great venue for our meeting. We not only appreciate their sponsorship and financial support for the American Loggers Council, but the opportunity to get to know them better and to build on our relationship with their organization.”

About American Loggers Council
The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization representing timber harvesting professionals in 31 states. For more information contact the American Loggers Council office at 409-625-0206 or visit their website at www.amloggers.com.

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Obama Administration’s Final NEPA Guidance Deserves Gold Metal for Legal Gymnastics

Today, the Obama Administration’s White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued a sweeping and controversial National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) guidance on greenhouse gas emissions.  House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:
“There they go again, more ‘voluntary’ guidelines that must be obeyed by all. Finding the practical and legal basis for this guidance deserves a Gold Medal for mental gymnastics. This will result in significant new litigation exposure that will slow or block most every major activity requiring NEPA approval. When any emissions equals bad and bad equals denied, you can kiss energy independence goodbye.”
Background:
Designed as a regulatory compliance framework for projects or actions requiring a federal permit, NEPA has become a magnate for litigation resulting in costly, time-consuming and burdensome project reviews for a range of economic activities.
The Committee on Natural Resources is pursuing extensive oversight of NEPA and the Obama Administration’s abuse, selective application and outright circumvention of the statute.
On June 22, 2016, the Committee held an oversight hearing on “Investigating the Appropriate Role of NEPA in the Permitting Process.” Click here.
On July 22, 2015, the Committee held an oversight hearing on “An Analysis of the Obama Administration’s Social Cost of Carbon.” Click here.
On May 13, 2015, the Committee held an oversight hearing on “The Administration’s CEQ Recently Revised Draft Guidance for GHG Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change.” Click here.
At the beginning of the 114th Congress, Chairman Bishop elevated NEPA to the Full Committee.

When Loggers Take an Interest in Politics, We Win

by Nick Smith, Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities

It’s important as ever for professional timber harvesters to stay engaged in ever-changing developments in Washington DC.  As the saying goes, “Just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” When loggers take an interest, we win. Here’s an example:

The US. House recently inserted a 3,000-acre “categorical exclusion” (CE) in its Interior Appropriations bill that would also allow the Forest Service to quickly move forward on forest projects intended to address an insect or disease infestation; reduce hazardous fuel loads; protect a municipal water source; maintain, enhance, or modify critical habitat to protect it from catastrophic disturbances; or increase water yield.

A liberal Michigan House Democrat filed a “hostile” anti-forestry amendment to strip this provision out of the bill.  Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities worked with the American Loggers Council, Federal Forest Resource Coalition (FFRC) and other partners to rally opposition to this amendment.

In less than 24 hours we sent hundreds of letters to congressional offices.  Others made countless phone calls.  The amendment was defeated with a surprising number of Democratic “no” votes, demonstrating what we can do when we take the time to advocate for our issues. 

There’s another opportunity where we need your help.

A few months ago House leaders inserted the ALC-supported Resilient Federal Forests Act in its comprehensive energy legislation.  The provision gives the Forest Service a range of policy and legal tools, including expanded CEs, to do more work on the ground.  After passing the U.S. House in the summer of 2015, the bill has languished in the Senate.  Now efforts are underway to get the Senate to act before this Congress finally adjourns.

The Senate, having passed its own energy legislation, recently voted to form a conference committee to negotiate with their counterparts in the lower chamber.  This development could pave the way for a bipartisan agreement on a fire funding fix and several forest management reforms this year.

We need to make sure the conferees (click here for a list) hear a simple, consistent message over the summer recess. Click here to take a look at Danny Dructor’s letter to the Texas delegation.

Bill Imbergamo from FFRC also offers these talking points:

  • My business depends at least in part on sustainable timber supplies from the National Forests. The Forest Service struggles with staggering wildfire suppression costs and bureaucratic red tape that prevents them from managing the National Forests in my area.
  • Growing suppression costs take money away from forest management projects, meaning less timber gets to the market, and my business and community suffer.
  • Congress can address the challenges facing the Forest Service by enacting a comprehensive forest management and fire funding reform provision in the Energy Bill, which is currently in a House-Senate conference committee.
  • The Conference Committee should adopt a package of reforms which:
    • Prevent fire borrowing and stop further erosion of the Forest Service budget in the future;
    • Streamline NEPA for collaboratively developed forest management projects;
    • Provide additional categorical exclusions to expedite forest management projects; and
    • Delay implementation of a hasty transition to a low value timber program on the Tongass National Forest.
  • There is broad support for a comprehensive solution to these problems. Please don’t let the Energy Bill conference be another missed opportunity to address these challenges.

Even if a particular conferee doesn’t represent a district with a single stick of federal timber, he or she needs to hear how important these reforms are to you, your business, your community and state.  With enough effort in the right places, we can win the tough policy battles in the nation’s capital.  Once again, when you’re involved, we win.

© AMERICAN LOGGERS COUNCIL, 2018