The forest products industry represents four percent of total U.S. manufacturing GDP, is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states, and employs approximately 950,000 people nationwide. That is something to celebrate. The wood fiber supply chain, a logistics network that plays a part in making the forest products we all depend on, is reliable and sustainable. Landowners, land managers, loggers and transporters of raw wood products, and those who manufacture raw forest products into paper, lumber, and other finished products, contribute to a dynamic wood supply chain.
FRA would like to take the time this week to recognize and promote sectors of our industry that have gone above and beyond to make the wood supply chain what it is today. We are also going to share what FRA has done to address the forest products industry’s most significant challenges.
The forest products industry values the safety of its employees and operations. FRA will send out information on our Safety Alerts which are great resources to help the industry learn to avoid actions that lead to unsafe conditions. We will also draw attention to partner organizations such as TEAM Safe Trucking and the Timber Harvesting and Transportation Safety Foundation, who work to prioritize safety in the forest products industry. A key part of our strategy includes public policy opportunities to advance safety, such as the Safe Routes Act. This legislation would allow trucks transporting logs, pulpwood, biomass or chips, at the state legal gross vehicle weight, to have access to the safer U.S. Interstate Highway System.
FRA will provide detail on industry workforce solutions, which demonstrate how the wood supply chain is preparing itself for the future workforce demands. FRA is tackling this issue with our efforts to introduce the veteran’s community to forestry employment. Earlier this year, we also announced the formation of the Workforce Connections Initiative in the Western Region to address labor shortages. FRA is also advocating for legislation like the DRIVE Safe Act and the Future Logging Careers Act, which would open doors for a younger, sustainable workforce going forward. Advocating for a Guestworker Visa program that will ensure the industry has the workforce it needs to regenerate forests, which is critical to sustaining our forestlands, is a priority.
We will demonstrate examples of technical expertise and skill improvement in the forest products industry. FRA has championed these issues through our Technical Releases, which highlight opportunities for company and employee success.
FRA members support a competitive supply chain and ensure its most valuable resource – trees – are responsibly managed and maintained for generations to come. In support of this effort, FRA has been informing key public policy figures on the importance of recognizing the carbon neutrality of forest based biomass.We will be sharing all this through our social media platforms, so please be sure to follow us on Facebook @ForestResourcesAssociation and Twitter @ForestResources. Please feel free to share our material to ensure everyone knows about the forest products industry’s world-class wood supply chain.