Most of us look at the incredible size and complexity of our Federal Government and all the associated agencies and wonder how any individual, family or small business can ever have a voice. One that is listened to and in fact shapes policies, regulations and laws to benefit people and companies in our industry. For the past six years, I have served on the Board of Directors of such an Association. The Hardwood Federation is an organization that lobbies for the interests of any person or company involved with hardwood lumber: From the land owners of timber tracks, to sawmill operations, to finish goods manufacturing like hardwood flooring, and even plywood and pulp facilities. A fulltime lobbyist, the Executive Director and the Policy Manager meet directly with Congressmen, Senators and their staffs to educate them on issues that affect our businesses and employees. In addition, the Board members and other interested parties ascend on Capitol Hill, twice a year, to also lobby for the interests of the Federation membership.
The Hardwood Federation is responsible for such legislation as the Lacey Act which criminalizes the importing of products manufactured from illegally harvested lumber. This legislation assures that the US is competing on equal footing with foreign companies in the cost of their raw materials and that US citizens are purchasing products from forests that are being sustainably timbered. In addition, we were able to have the Forestry department classify the northern long eared bat as “threatened” as opposed to “endangered.” This allows timbering in the US forests to continue normally as they find a cure for the disease killing these animals. If the bat was classified as “endangered” timber harvesting would have been limited to the winter months and we would have had a scarcity of lumber to make products and prices would have skyrocketed. Currently we are advocating for comprehensive reform of our national forests to assure that the wildfires decimating the western forests and account for 60% of the entire budget are brought under control and eventually minimized. This can be achieved by actively managing the federal lands by having robust timber sales which will bring in revenue, create good paying jobs, create a better habitat for wildlife and make the forests less susceptible to massive fires.
The Hardwood Federation is your voice in Washington and we do get results. I encourage you to get involved either by making a contribution to the Federation or the Federation PAC or by joining me in Washington and letting your Congressman and Senators know what we need from them for our companies to be able to thrive in the coming years. www.hardwoodfederation.net