Registration is now live for the FRA 2018 Lake States Fall Meeting, taking place this year September 17-19 in Wausau, WI. One of the agenda items for discussion at this meeting is the overall state of logging businesses in the region. The Lake States represent a unique wood basket with harvested timber commonly moving between Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The industry, along with policymakers, academics, and others, have long valued the important role that logging businesses play in the harvesting and transport of that timber in the region. To this end, there was a need to understand the health and status of the logging industry within each respective state.
Over the past 40 years, each of the Lake States has conducted several surveys of logging business owners to assess the status of that sector within the forest products value chain. Each survey was developed and conducted by one or more individuals within each state when funds became available to administer the collection of data and to analyze the results. Because those surveys were conducted as needed and lacked consistent wording of questions between years and between states, it was never possible to develop a composite picture of the health and status of the logging industry in the Lake States.
In 2016, representatives from the three states began planning a survey to be implemented across the states during Spring 2017. Considerable time and effort was put into creating consistently worded questions which focused on common interests across the three states, (e.g., production, percent of volume harvested from various landowner groups) while allowing states to also add state-specific questions (e.g., salvage logging, contract logging employees).Each state implemented their survey in 2017, asking about the status of businesses in 2016. While data has been summarized individually for each state, the Lake States composite is being developed and will be presented during the FRA 2018 Lake States Fall Meeting. We hope to see you there.