Woods to Mill

In December, I presented to the Forest Resource Association’s Northeast Region on challenges the forest industry (and let’s be honest – everyone else) faces in finding, recruiting, and retaining their workforce. In researching this topic, there was no shortage of challenges identified – the Great Resignation, population shifts away from rural areas, and an aging forest industry workforce don’t provide much optimism.

As FRA Southwide Region Manager Clay Altizer discussed in last week’s Woods to Mill, “Looking back at a Busy 2021”, this past December marked the first time in 13 years that FRA has offered the Timber Harvesting & Procurement Short Course. This three-day course, graciously hosted by Auburn University, covered nearly a dozen topics, ranging from ethics to negotiation techniques, which were presented by industry leaders and professors.

In our ‘Introduction from Clay Altizer’, we began by learning about the Forest Resources Association, the broad membership it encompasses, how it advocates for our industry on Capitol Hill, and the resources available such as technical releases, webinars, and safety alerts. 

By the time you read this installment of the Woods to Mill series I will be finishing the final few weeks of my first year as a member of the FRA team. My first Woods to Mill submission (dated February 11, 2021) focused on the value of teamwork. Fortunately, I have had the privilege over the past year to witness this first-hand as I collaborated with my colleagues at FRA to accomplish our goals.  Although the FRA team was busy addressing many issues and challenges in 2021, I would like to devote some time here to discuss two common topics that really stood out to me during the past year.
We’re all making a mad dash toward the end of 2021, and I can say it has been a “year like no other”.  As far as FRA goes, I find myself on deck to write the next FRA blog. My mind says supply-chain, labor, trucking, logging capacity, H2B, etc., but let’s change it up a little. It’s the Christmas season!  I’m reminded to keep it simple, be thankful, and remember “agape” love. Agape is a Greco-Christian term referring to unconditional love, "the highest form of love". It’s the love of God for man and of man for God.  The definition is easier to memorize and recite than to put it into practice.  Believe me, I know.   A few examples of that “unconditional” part should provide a clearer picture of just what I’m talking about.  They say that confession is good for the soul but bad for the reputation.  We’ll see! 
The ongoing supply chain crisis impacts all sectors of the forest products industry. As supply chain inefficiencies continue, the wood supply chain suffers from the logging operations that supply consuming mills with fiber, manufacturing delays in production, and the timely delivery of outbound products. These inefficiencies lead to increased costs of products to consumers. Below are examples of wood supply chain inefficiencies impacting the marketplace:
After being postponed for over a year due to COVID restrictions, the FRA Northeast Region resumed the Forest Forum, a monthly dinner meeting that brings together the entire forest industry supply chain. Held on the first Thursday of each month near Bangor, Maine, the Forest Forum is an opportunity for loggers, foresters, wood-using industries, and others to connect, share a meal, and get informed on the latest issues facing the forest industry.
Page 1 of 44