LETTER: Help loggers with solution to blow-down catastropheTo the Telegram: In Minnesota and Wisconsin, there is fast emerging a storm damage disaster from a storm damage disaster.
To the Telegram:
In Minnesota and Wisconsin, there is fast emerging a storm damage disaster from a storm damage disaster.
Immediately after the blow down the trees were simply bent over and with a small percent touching the ground. This ideal time to harvest the trees and sell the wood to manufacturers and power plants could use it.
The problem is the market became flooded with harvested biomass material and manufacturers stopped buying the material due to a large influx of material in the market.
Loggers are now sitting with many salvaged cords on their holding landings (storage areas), which will be fed to the stream at a later date. In the meantime, the existing downed trees are of no use to anyone and the market has halted. The longer the un-harvested trees lay on the ground decomposing there is a serious time whereby the downed trees are fast becoming not economically harvestable. First, the Aspen poplar then the pine then the other softwoods etc. The landowners are being told they must clean up the mess to avoid the upcoming massive fire hazard being created. This is going to put an unnecessary burden on landowners because the material will soon be considered unsalable and costly to remove as trash material. The state Department of Natural Resources cannot allow the development of the fire hazards, nor can U.S. Forestry.
The manufacturers are not going to purchase stock they don’t need nor can afford in their typical operating capital expense funds. The company I work for cannot afford to buy the material ahead of time simply because the financing banks are not there to offer inventory funding any longer. Our company could take over 85,000 tons right now but can’t obtain the funding. All the companies that could immediately take the material are in the same situation. Companies like ours must wait and buy incremental purchases of raw materials as they can afford them to keep the delicate chain of custody moving in the industry.
What comes to a halt — harvester, trucking and manufacturing jobs.
Thousands of jobs lost in both states all going on unemployment. The loggers file bankruptcy and our logging industry diminishes tenfold. What is so shameful about this is the loggers did their job and reacted to the disaster paying for the wood and harvesting the wood as fast as they could. Now the loggers have little income and must lay off thousands of employees.
A simple solution is available to this dilemma. There are many plants that can take the harvested wood and store it on pads thereby salvaging the material with very little decomposition loss. What is needed is the state to determine the area a disaster area and provide low-interest loan guarantees to the financial institutions of the manufacturers so they can afford to bring in the harvested material. There isn’t time for the 18 months to file SBA and the typical banking channels. There is no incentive for the manufacturers to go through that process. The manufacturers need only to wait and buy as needed. This is not asking for grants or free money this is simply asking for finance guarantees for low interest inventory funding which is paid back with the interest. By being able to purchase the materials now at a lower cost the interest if low enough is paid through the savings on the material. Our plant alone could take 85,000 tons immediately and keep stocking through the year as the material is used and paid for. This would allow continue stocking until the wood is harvested in the state. The solution is simple and it costs no one anything. Together we can help save our loggers, truck drivers and related local jobs in retail of products and services.
How can you help us? Simply send an email to your local and federal representatives’ offices and encourage them to get behind this effort.
The landowners can ill afford to have to pay premium cost to remove the trees due to some mandate. We call the “Great Lakes Disaster Program.” Simply call your local city office, and get your representatives’ email or phone and let them know they can easily help get this done. You’re not asking them to fund anything, you’re asking them to support the loggers jobs in our states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
For example: Honorable (Representative) I am writing/emailing you to help save the logging industry in our state. We are not asking for funding. Instead, we are asking for your support in the Great Lakes Disaster Program effort. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, there is a fast emerging storm damage disaster. Immediately after the blow down the trees were simply bent over and with a small percent touching the ground. This was the ideal time to harvest the trees and sell the wood for manufacturing and power plants use. The problem is that the market became flooded with harvested biomass material and the manufacturers stopped buying the material due to a large influx of the material flooding in the market.
We need your support in helping us by urging the state to guarantee inventory stock piling of harvested wood with guaranteed low interest loans available to the processing plants that can use the materials and get it to a safe drying area and off the property owners land. We urge you to help in solving the massive fire disaster we are facing in our counties.
Editor’s note: Brown lives in the town of Oakland, between Danbury and Webster in Burnett County, not the town in Douglas County.