Page 24 - Georgia Forestry - Issue 4 - Fall 2020
P. 24

Staying the Course for
Georgia’s Forest
A COVID- Conscious Quest
By Stasia Kelly
   Trees are still growing. They’ll be there with or without the virus.”
“zation Chief Risher Willard can be comforting to people witnessing an unprecedented pandemic. For those closely allied with the forest products industry, it’s a truth that helps us navigate fluc- tuating markets and a variety of opinions about what’s to come.
That assessment of current conditions by Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) Forest Utili-
“The truth is, Georgia has an abundance of forest products,” said Willard. “Forests are still there. Partners, companies, good infrastructure, logistics, they’re all still there. There is continued demand, despite COVID.”
Willard’s team of five forest marketing experts has continued crunching critical data as well as nurturing relationships with forest landowners and industry prospects since business protocols changed drastically in March. Traditionally, work done by the Marketing and Utilization Department, built to help sustain the economic viability of forestland ownership, involved cal- endars packed with personal visits, tours and exhibitions. Now, more phone calls and emails support business relationships. More time is also devoted to webinars, Zoom meetings, research and reading as well as analysis of Georgia’s forests and its forest products industry.

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