Northern Logger Magazine

The Loggers’ Expo Returns to Vermont

Against a backdrop of clear blue skies, nearly 175 exhibitors showcased their machinery, wares, and heavy logging equipment at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction, Vermont last month. This is the ninth time The Northeastern Loggers’ Association (NELA) has brought the Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Expo to Vermont’s premier events venue. Attendees and exhibitors alike were enthusiastic, and there were broad reports of a general mood of optimism.

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Honoring Excellence in the Industry

At this year’s annual Loggers’ Banquet, held last month in Burlington Vermont, the Northeastern Loggers’ Association presented awards in eight different categories. Every year NELA receives numerous nominations for outstanding loggers, sawmillers, educators, and advocates, and it’s always difficult to choose among an exceptional group of industry professionals. Winners are selected by NELA’s awards committee from nominations by peers.

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Timber Harvest Levels Tell a Striking Story

Everyone in the forest products industry in the northern US
– from the Lakes States to Maine – knows that significant changes have been taking place over the last 10 to 20 years.

Among them are transformations in the supply chain,
a reduced and aging logging and trucking workforce, the loss of low-grade markets, and the ups and downs experienced by those producing solid wood products from logs.

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Recognizing Women: Behind the Front Lines

While logging has been traditionally a “man’s world” there have always been a few women out in front, felling trees, running equipment, or running whole businesses. I would like to draw attention to the women who work behind the scenes in various supporting roles. We don’t have to look far to find that this is common, and almost typical. Women, often the wife of the main fellow whose name is on the truck door, are typically bookkeepers, office managers, or full partners in every sense. Sometimes they are the common sense in the partnership. “Do we really need that new machine right now?”

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Recognizing Women: Jenee Smith

“What brought Ray and I to the woods?” Jenee Smith ponders the question. Logging had been part of her husband Ray Brewster’s life from a young age, while Smith had grown up cutting trees, pulling brush, and splitting firewood with her six siblings. “As a baby, my mom would put me in a stroller and the sound of a chainsaw would put me to sleep. To this day, I can’t help but start yawning when I hear a chainsaw.”

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Should We Manage Forests?

As active stewards of forests in our region, we are often called to respond in support of our profession. This
might come in the case of daily sales of our services, or just interacting with a neighbor. Better yet, we might have an opportunity to speak at a local school, or some public meeting. National Forests and State Forestry Departments sometimes seek public input for general plans, or specific projects. The other guys are going to show up, and they tend to be quite
passionate – we all have a story to tell.

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Forest Industry Trends and Forecasts 2024

The forest industry across the Northeast is in a bit of a slump
– things aren’t necessarily bad, but it certainly isn’t a time of expansion and profitability. This is a huge shift from a year ago when many markets were booming, mills were looking everywhere for wood, and the supply chain was stretched to its limits. Here’s a look at what is happening by sector.

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Dartmouth College’s “Forest to Dorm” Project

At the start of this fall semester, students who moved into Dartmouth College’s Andres Hall were greeted with beautiful brand-new wooden furniture made from trees harvested on Dartmouth’s own land. Each student in the dorm was issued a bed, desk, dresser, and bookcase made from sugar maple cut last winter on Dartmouth’s Second College Grant, (the Grant), a 27,000-acre tract located in northern New Hampshire.

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Education That’s Never Finished: The Vermont Forest Business School

Is education something that can be finished? Shouldn’t continuous learning be a habit, rather than a requirement?
The Vermont Forest Business School’s (FBS) six-month Essentials program was built from lessons learned in two hundred or so single-day workshops I taught for loggers, foresters, and landowners over 24 years. Teaching workshops in far-flung places like Aroostook County, Maine, and Hocking College in Ohio exposed me to many different people with similar educational needs in the forest products community.

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