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Let us work together...

Minnesota grown red pine

Every industry is susceptible to negative headlines. Unfortunately, specialty forest products has demonstrated it is not immune. More recently, there have been several stories highlighting theft from public lands. This is deeply troubling given the adverse impact it has on the industry’s image and potential operational drag for legitimate harvesters. The industry relies heavily on public lands for stumpage. If land managers are dedicating more time surveying for illegal activity, we should be concerned their willingness to offer stumpage may diminish. As an industry, we can step up our own self-policing efforts. Buyers can play a critical role. As a practical measure, buyers should request permits along with a forester’s name and number to verify lands where the products were harvested. Buyers should immediately become suspicious if a permit is not readily available. It is worth noting, anyone transporting certain specialty forest products must have a permit on their person as required by Minnesota law. A secondary consideration would be to inquire if the harvester is a member of the Minnesota Logger Education Program ( Being a member is encouraged, but not required to purchase specialty forest products stumpage on county or state lands. In our experience, public land managers appreciate the willingness to go through the program to learn best harvesting practices. More qualified operators would help stem the negative perception tide and create greater goodwill with our public lands partners. As harvesters, keeping our eyes wide open is the best defense. If we can report activity before it gets worse we are better off. There are practical steps we can take to ensure our industry remains vibrant. We all work hard for our respective results. We do not want our efforts overshadowed by negative headlines. Please, let us work together.

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