This editorial was first published in the American Loggers Council Newsletter in November 2010, by then ALC Board President, Matt Jensen. While much has changed over the last nine years, Matt’s sentiments on the Master Logger Certification program and the ‘strength in numbers’ beliefs still ring true today. With Matt’s permission, we invite you to read this editorial.
by Matt Jensen, ALC President
The American Loggers Council Master Logger Certification Program continues to expand. To date, sixteen states have approved MLC templates, with about one half of those states actually implementing the program. One of my goals for 2011 is to promote and encourage the progression of MLC. I am asking that the rest of our states that have not submitted a template seriously consider doing so.
The first question that may be asked when considering becoming a Master Logger is “what are the benefits?” I can speak from personal experience. In my home state of Wisconsin there is an insurance company that has given a twenty percent premium discount to anyone who is a Master Logger. That is a huge benefit that alone provides a financial savings worthwhile to become a Master Logger. Some of our pulp mills have given a contract preference as well. When contractors are put on quotas, Master Loggers are given volume while others may be reduced. I admit this one is somewhat hard to track.
One of the most important benefits I have received is the awarding of timber sales because of being a Master Logger. There are landowners, foresters, and mills that do believe in the program. Many landowners that are aware of the MLC program prefer the quality of the timber harvest the Master Logger provides and will accept a bid that may be slightly lower as long as it is a competitive bid. I have worked with consulting foresters who are great advocates of MLC and some require you are a Master Logger in order to do any timber harvests for them. With all the certification programs out there today, wouldn’t you rather support a “logger owned and logger controlled” program?
I was asked to speak at a Society of American Foresters annual meeting about a logger’s perspective on Master Logger Certification. One of the consulting foresters spoke publicly that having a Master Logger perform timber harvests for his firm dramatically decreased administrative and field costs because of the quality of the work. Our State Department of Natural Resources has put in the State Statutes a $150,000.00 matching grant to the Wisconsin Master Logger Program. This funding helps run most aspects of the program and has been instrumental in reducing the entrance fee and annual dues to almost nothing. There are also a few consuming mills that have contributed to and are very supportive of MLC in Wisconsin.
With some of the benefits I have listed, becoming a Master Logger still boils down to a personal choice. Please understand there are many logging firms across the country that do quality work and are not Master Loggers. I look at MLC as a way for your business to be recognized by your peers and to be the best logger you can be. It is very much a marketing tool that promotes professional, ethical and proper timber harvesting. As members of the ALC, one of our goals requires us to help promote and elevate our profession. If all ALC member states would, at a minimum, submit a MLC program template, it would send a strong message to the public, our industry, and even the environmental community that we are concerned about the future of our industry and are willing to take the steps necessary to ensure healthy, sustainable forests and communities. There is strength in numbers.
Matt Jensen is a past President of the American Loggers Council, which represents over 50,000 logging professionals in 30 states. Matt’s operation, Whitetail Logging, is headquartered in Crandon, Wisconsin. For more information please contact the American Loggers Council office at 409-625-0206 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.