Timbergreetings! May 24, 2002 - page 2
Most loggers know what good forestry consists of and, given the choice, would do what is right. Davis says that he always consults with the landowner and, if the job is complicated, suggests the landowner contact a forester before proceeding. But, when all is said and done, Davis will do what the landowner wants regardless of his own feelings. He says that, if he refuses a job, there are plenty of guys waiting to take it over."
Another issue for loggers is "Almost all bidding in this area is by lump sum. This presents a problem for the successful bidder. If you read the sample logging contracts landowners consult, and if you listen to the advice given by forestry "experts", you will see all sorts of warning to landowners about crooked loggers. Almost all these sources advise the landowner to demand full payment before the job starts. This may be good advice to the landowner, but where is a small logging contractor going to come up with that much cash? Even if he does manage to borrow that kind of money, suppose it is a short term loan and, a spell of rain or mill cut backs prevents him from completing the harvest for some time?
Davis has an additional cash flow problem in that he pays his crew weekly…..
Is it any wonder that Davis says he is happiest out in the woods running a chain saw? Still when it comes right down to it, neither Davis nor many others actually give up their businesses to go back to a simpler life. Many, in fact, do the opposite, buying more equipment and getting deeper into debt." (end of magazine article)
Lets review the issues in this article, from the forest owner's point of view.
I have written for many years about the multitude of major problems and disadvantages that forest owners face in the current timber market.
The traditional forest products industry also makes it virtually impossible for a good low-impact logger doing sustainable forestry on small woodlots -
to operate a profitable business.
We now have a new timber market where this is all different.
Here is how it works at Timbergreen and how it fits into the vision for the Sustainable Forestry Co-op.
The first issue is insurance. The article states, "Not being a direct employer, he avoids (this insurance)". Instead his sub-contractors get their own insurance. (do they really?) Workers Compensation Insurance is 30-36% of payroll and is very expensive for any business to pay. Many avoid it and often leave the inexperienced forest owner exposed to unknown risk.
No forest owner wants an un-insured logger on their property. Instead of hoping that they are insured (yeah, I've seen all the certificates) a forest owner needs to know that the workers are really fully protected. No one wants to take responsibility for, or make a long-term commitment to, a logger who works in the woods. The Sustainable Forestry Cooperative vision is to hire the best loggers possible and treat them with great respect. Make a long-term commitment, pay their insurance and give them full benefits (including retirement). Forest owners need to realize that good loggers are the most important part of their sustainable timber management system. Next