Karla Wroten introduced guest speaker Toni McManus McAllister to the Kiwanis club meeting on October 11th. She come from a logging family and is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Logger’s Association.
Mrs. McAllister is an advocate to local and state government and pushes legislation on behalf of loggers. She shared with the club the “State of the State” report that she had presented at the National Association. In the 2021-2022 winter Louisiana had one of the driest and most productive seasons. However, due to the pandemic lagging supply chains and crippling workforce was the new normal and then we had hyperinflation creeping higher and the fuel crisis. But the loggers kept on with business.
In the 2019 election a lot of people were term limited out of office and new people came in who were more in tune with the people they serve and went to work for the people. Several acts were passed in the legislature that affected the logging industry in a good way. Act 142 clarified the status of wood chips, Act 165 was about timber severance within the state, Act 275 was defined biomass, and Act 497 was an extension of the Logger Relief Program that allows for a one-time grant of $25, 000 to be extended to December of 2022 and includes Contract Haulers. Also Acts 586 and 598 authorized the creation of the Louisiana Agriculture Transportation Self Insurance fund which will allow the agriculture industries to take the insurance crisis into their own hands. This is similar to what happened in the 1990’s when work comp costs rose and were putting companies out of business.
Timber pays a severance tax and 75% of the money stays in the local parish. The money is supposed to go to roads but sometimes is put into the general fund because of money issues.
The land mass of Louisiana is 48% timber. It is our biggest and most renewable resource. Logging companies replant after cutting the trees. The timber industry is the second largest industry in the state after oil and gas. There are six new manufacturers coming to the state, maybe one is coming to Winn Parish. One of these new industries is making jet fuel from trees. McAllister said that Governor John Bel Edwards has been a big help to the timber industry because he comes from a rural parish where timber is important to the economy.
October 12th is National Logger’s Day and is being celebrated across the nation.
Mrs. McAllister said that it is great to be a Louisiana Logger and their future is bright.
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