SUMMARY OF BUSINESS
FRA's 2018 Fall Board Meeting, October 10-12, drew 90 members and friends to Lexington, KY for committee work, educational speaker sessions, and the governance decisions that will guide the Association forward. During the meeting, members heard presentations from a variety of different speakers:
- Dr. Jeffrey Stringer, Professor of Hardwood Silviculture and Forest Operations at the University of Kentucky, discussed the Kentucky Master Logger program, the UK Center for Forest and Wood Certification, and provided an overview of UK's forestry programs and forestry student demographics, program options, and placement.
- Jim King, Vice President and General Manager, Forest Resources at Westervelt, spoke on behalf of President and CEO Brian Luoma, and shared his experiences in leading the operations of the company's timberland, sawmill and pellet mill assets, and provided a unique perspective of the current dynamics of the wood supply chain.
- Leon Sequeira, Attorney at LRS Law, and former Assistant Secretary of Labor at the U.S. Department of Labor, outlined his insights on workforce issues and the labor concerns being faced across the country.
- Cam Crawford, President of the Forestry Association of South Carolina; Chris Isaacson, Executive Vice-President of the Alabama Forestry Association; and Tom Beyer, Director of Government Affairs at the Georgia Forestry Association, as members of a panel on Log Trucking Industry Challenges, presented wood fiber trucking issues and challenges at the state level, and what steps their forestry associations and members are taking to overcome trucking regulatory hurdles and driver shortages in the forest products industry.
- Jim Ellis, Senior Political Analyst at BIPAC, provided his predictions ahead of the of the midterm elections, and outlined how they might impact our businesses.
Three southern state forestry association leaders presented overviews of their state's respective wood fiber trucking issues and their efforts to address these trucking challenges:
- Cam Crawford, President of the Forestry Association of South Carolina, discussed trucking safety efforts, the need for legal system/tort reform as it relates to trucking, and the possibility of captive insurance programs.
- Chris Isaacson, Executive Vice-President of the Alabama Forestry Association, discussed AFA's comprehensive forest workforce recruitment and training program, various log truck safety and weight statistics for the state, and the expected increase in demand for trucking as the sawmill industry expands in Alabama.
- Tom Beyer, Director of Government Affairs of the Georgia Forestry Association, presented results of Georgia's recent log trucking studies that pointed to causal factors in rising log trucking insurance rates and recommended that the industry focus on improving trucking safety, reducing accidents, and finding and realizing trucking efficiency opportunities.
During the Appalachian Region Policy Committee Meeting:
- Tom DeFilippo, owner of H & S Lumber, provided an overview of Kentucky's current forest industry issues. He noted the high workers compensation insurance rates for Kentucky loggers, downsizing of logging and trucking operations, log exports to China, and concern for the supply of white oak timber in the Appalachian Region to meet the ever-growing demand for white oak products - especially barrel staves and cooperage.
- Candee Blevins, General Manager of Glockner Insurance, provided an overview of Glockner's line of services, including equipment financing, buying and selling of equipment and trucks, insurance for logging and trucking operations, and regulatory compliance services for trucking businesses. She suggested that many logging and trucking managers need to learn how to coach their employees and drivers to reduce their safety risk and protect their insurability.
FRA's National Committees, the Appalachian Region Policy Committee, and the THATS Foundation met, developing recommendations based on these presentations and other reports, including:
- Recommending that FRA and its members step up efforts to implement comprehensive trucking and truck driver safety programs through the TEAM Safe Trucking Initiative and other trucking safety resources.
- The committee received activity reports from each of FRA's six geographic regions. The most common issues were:
- Assorted log trucking issues â€“ driver shortages, high insurance costs or shortage of insurers, numerous regulations.
- General labor shortage across industry job types.
- Weather impacts: Excessive rainfall in much of the East, Hurricanes in the South, fires out West.
- Aaron Gilland from Dendro Resource Management reported that forest industry companies in recent years appear increasingly reluctant to publicize cases where they have been victims of theft or fraud. This hinders opportunities for others to learn from these cases. (FRA's annual Timber Security Group meeting in the southern U.S. often includes such case study presentations.)
- The committee reached consensus to conduct a committee conference call between each of the two national FRA meetings, to improve the level of regional information-sharing and committee decision-making.
Supply Chain Relations
- Discussions on the expansion upon and improvement of the supplier / consumer workshops.
- Agreement that guest worker reform should remain a top policy issue for FRA.
- Reiterating that getting more veterans in the industry's workforce should remain a key focus for FRA.
Public Policy and Advocacy
- Discussion on the predictions and impacts of the upcoming midterm elections.
- Conversation on recent public policy priorities for FRA, including guest worker visa reform, the Farm Bill, and ESA reform.
- Longstanding public policy areas of interest including transportation were addressed, and the need for more data on this subject was established.
- Ensuring FRA's 2017 success of creating language ensuring the carbon neutrality of biomass is made current in the coming months.
Timber Harvesting and Transportation Safety (THATS) Foundation
- THATS will move forward with a partnership with SafeyMeetingApp.com to get a beneficial application into the hands of forestry businesses working in the field, allowing them to have mobile safety information easily available to them.
- The foundation will sponsor 20 companies with a 5-user membership for a year to get the word out and to get people utilizing the app for recording safety meetings. Fourteen spots are still available.
- A presentation from Dr. Marco Contreras of the University of Kentucky on a web application where foresters in an emergency would be able to enter in their location and find directions to the nearest hospital, fire station and police station.
At the October 12 Board of Directors Meeting, attendees:
- Reviewed reports from FRA's National Committees and the THATS Foundation.
- Heard the FRA Meetings Advisory Group report on upcoming meetings: FRA's 2019 Annual Meeting will be held at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Amelia Island, Florida, May 20-22, and the 2019 FRA Fly-In and Fall Board Meeting will be held at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, DC, September 17-19. Nashville, TN was decided as the location for the 2020 Annual Meeting.
- Reviewed FRA's year to date financial performance, and the results of the fiscal year 2017-2018 FRA audit.
- Heard from the newly established Mission / Vison Planning Team (MVP Team) on their actions to review and update FRA's current Mission and Vision statements.
CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS
The FRA 2018 Fall Board Meeting was assigned the following CFE credits by SAF: Category 1: 5.0 credits
FUTURE FRA NATIONAL MEETINGS
Mark your calendars and plan to attend!
2019 Annual Meeting - May 20 - 22, Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Amelia Island, FL
2019 Fly-In and Fall Board Meeting - September 17 - 19, Phoenix Park Hotel, Washington, DC
A special thank you to our 2018 Fall Board Meeting Sponsors: