DATE: June 15, 2021
Tim O’Hara, FRA Vice-President, Government Affairs
Millions of acres of America’s forests and thousands of jobs for U.S. workers depend on the critical seasonal tree planting performed by H-2B workers each year. Over the past decade, the shortage of U.S. workers willing to fill these strenuous seasonal jobs has continued to get worse, and the decreasing availability of H-2B visas is putting the health of our forests at risk. There is currently a backlog of 3-5 years of forest land acres waiting to be replanted. The Forest Resources Association (FRA) appreciates Reps. Cuellar (D-TX), Joyce (R-OH), Keating (D-MA) Pingree (D-ME), Chabot (R-OH), and Harris (R-MD) for introducing the bipartisan the Returning Worker Exception Act of 2021 to make available additional H-2B visas for forestry employers and others. Additional visas would help public and private forest landowners increase the number of acres planted each year, ensuring healthy forests for future generations of Americans.
The Forest Resources Association promotes the interest of forest products industry members in building federal public policy engagement, enhancing supply chain relations, and addressing forest operations challenges. It is the only national association to represent all sectors of the wood supply chain, and members are represented in 49 states and 377 Congressional Districts.