Courtesy of The Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine

The Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine cheered the announcement July 20 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that $200 million in aid for timber harvesters and haulers included in a bipartisan $900 billion COVID-19 relief package approved months earlier would finally be released and Maine loggers and truckers could begin applying for the funds July 22.

The announcement was made in a morning press call led by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, and Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin. 

The PLC thanked Maine’s entire congressional delegation for working to ensure the logging industry was not left out of federal pandemic assistance, and pushing over the past months for the funds to be distributed as quickly as possible. U.S. Senator Susan Collins and U.S. Representative Jared Golden introduced the bill to create the new program for loggers and log haulers who had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in July of 2020 and Congresswoman Pingree and Maine Senator Angus King joined the bipartisan effort.

“This a historic first for timber harvesters and haulers here in Maine and across the United States, who will finally be able to access relief funds designated specifically for their industry,” said Dana Doran, Executive Director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine. “This has never happened in our nation’s history until now, and we want to thank U.S. Senator Susan Collins and U.S. Representative Jared Golden for leading the effort to secure this aid on behalf of the hard-working small family businesses in the industry here in Maine, and Senator Angus King and U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree for joining that effort.”

Loggers and truckers can apply for assistance through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) July 22 through Oct. 15, 2021. The Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers program (PATHH), which is the program’s designation, is administered by FSA in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 authorized this critical assistance for the timber industry. Timber harvesting and hauling businesses that have experienced a gross revenue loss of at least 10% during the period of Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2020, compared to the period of Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2019, are encouraged to apply.

“The last 18 months have been arguably the most challenging period of time for Maine’s timber harvesters and haulers in our state’s history,” said Doran.  “Even despite record lumber prices this past spring, Maine’s loggers and truckers were still left to fend for themselves while their colleagues in farming and fishing were provided a lifeline. The Loggers Relief Act is truly historic and will help one of Maine’s heritage industries when they need it the most.”

Maine’s loggers are a vital part of the state’s forest products sector, which is worth an estimated $7.7 billion annually.

The logging industry contributed an estimated $619 million to the Maine economy in 2017, supported more than 9,000 jobs directly or indirectly, generated $342 million in labor income, and pumped an estimated $25 million into state and local tax coffers.About The Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine: Founded in 1995 with a handful of members who were concerned about the future of the industry, the PLC has grown steadily to become a statewide trade association which provides independent logging contractors and truckers a voice in the rapidly changing forest products industry. Board membership consists of only loggers, making it an organization that is run by loggers on behalf of loggers. Learn more about the PLC at www.maineloggers.com.

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