Page 10 - Georgia Forestry - Issue 4 - Fall 2019
P. 10

  where they were pre-recession, with a $71,127 average across the industry.3
Yet that broad industry growth isn’t necessarily answering the workforce development challenges many through- out the supply chain are feeling. “Across the country, our members are telling us they are having trouble finding enough people to fill critical positions — in the woods, on the road and in the mill,” said Deb Hawkinson, president of the Forest Resources Association (FRA). Finding qualified log truck drivers, in particular, will be challenging over the next decade, with many expected to retire within that time. “It’s not entirely clear where the new logging workforce will come from,” Hawkinson added.
J. Harry Sanders III, vice president of Sanders Logging Inc. in Cochran, Georgia, is feeling that pressure first- hand. “Right now, I have two guys on my crew in their 70s and one in his 60s,” Sanders said. He currently employs 20 people and brought on four new hires in
the last two years to replace retiring crew members, some of whom have been with Sanders Logging for a quarter-century or longer. In finding new people, Sanders struggles with the push-pull of looking for candidates who have “both seat time and a willingness to learn.”
Mechanization is also adding chal- lenges by raising the barrier of entry into the industry. “Many jobs that a genera- tion ago could be filled right out of high
school now require additional training — either in dedicated training programs, through college coursework, or on-the-job mentorship,” Hawkinson said. The march- ing pace of mechanization will continue, and workers will be expected not only to operate complex machines, but also to problem-solve in new and different ways. “As the industry continues to grow and evolve, workers will be asked to develop new skills in order to be successful,” she said.
                 The American Tree Farm System is a program of the American Forest Foundation.
Spending time with a landowner is one of the best ways a forester can help them achieve their goals around wildlife, water, wood and recreation. But for foresters, time is hard to come by.
THE AMERICAN FOREST FOUNDATION (AFF) works with partners to create new tools for foresters that save time, helping them to focus on what matters most: SPENDING TIME WITH LANDOWNERS.
• A NEW OUTREACH PROGRAM connecting more landowners with foresters, and saving steps in reaching conservation goals
the Landscape Management Plan that significantly reduces process time, giving foresters more time in the field with landowners
• A NEW ONLINE TOOL FOR DATA COLLECTION reducing paperwork, expediting the American Tree Farm System certification process and getting to certified fiber faster
American Forest Foundation

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