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11/1/2017
Board of Directors Meeting - This will take place in November- date not set

2/6/2018 » 2/7/2018
Board of Directors Meeting

6/26/2018 » 6/29/2018
2018 National Conference of Private Forest Landowners

6/18/2019 » 6/21/2019
2019 National Conference of Private Forest Landowners



 




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Latest from the Forest Landowners Association!

September Policy Updates

Congress returned to Washington to a heavy workload with several items focused on issues of importance for forestry ownership.  FLA has been deeply engaged on all fronts ensuring legislation and administration policy is favorable to rolling back regulations, strengthening timber markets and advocating tax reform and provisions unique to forest ownership. 

Tax Reform

As Congress returns from summer recess, tax reform tops the agenda. While details are yet to be released, Republican lawmakers are pursuing a revamp of the corporate and individual tax systems. 

FLA continues to be vigilant in advocating the importance of timber tax provisions and estate tax to the legacy of family forest operations. FLA has been engaged in meetings with legislative influencers including the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Ways & Means Committee advocating for tax provisions which benefit family forestry businesses. This week, FLA CEO Scott Jones will be back in Washington, meeting with Senior Tax Counsel for Speaker Ryan and Senior Tax Counsel for Senator Thune, who serves on the Finance Committee as well as the Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee.

The road to a final legislative tax reform will be bumpy, and we need to remain engaged. (more)

Soft Lumber Agreement

On August 29, the Department of Commerce announced a two-month delay in its final subsidy determination for softwood lumber from Canada until November 14.  Secretary Ross issued a statement indicating that the delay is intended to provide more time to negotiate with Canada.  World Trade Organization rules and U.S. law prohibit the United States from collecting countervailing duties in the absence of a final determination if more than 120 days have passed since the preliminary determination.  Therefore, this decision to delay a determination will effectively result in a lengthy period during which the 20% anti-subsidy tariff on softwood lumber does not apply to Canadian imports (the “gap” period).  Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle were vocal in their response to Secretary Ross’s decision to postpone the determination. (more)

Rollback on WOTUS Continues. FLA Submits Comments to EPA

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have extended the deadline to comment on the re-codification of the definition of “waters of the United States” until September 27. On August 15, FLA submitted comments on behalf of FLA members and indicated that provisions from the 2015 Rule (more)

Endangered Species Act Reform Focuses on Economic Impact

On Wednesday, July 19, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing to consider five legislative bills to amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including the Listing Reform Act (H.R. 717). The Listing Reform Act would allow either the U.S. Department of Interior or Commerce to review the economic cost of adding a species to the list of endangered species or threatened species when making listing determinations.

Greg Sheehan, the Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), testified in favor of the bill. Deputy Director Sheen expressed support for provisions of the bill that would prioritize petitions based on need, which he noted would provide the Service with more flexibility to implement ESA.

Sheehan stopped short of a full endorsement of the Listing Reform Act’s efforts to introduce an option to identify a protection for a species as “warranted but precluded” if the protection would result in “significant cumulative economic impacts.” (more)

Repeal and Replacement of Clean Water Rule Begins

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers formally proposed withdrawal of the Obama administration's controversial water rule on Wednesday, July 26 marking the end of a year-long effort to scrap this burdensome federal overreach. The reversal will dismantle the proposal by President Barack Obama’s EPA to expand water pollution protections to waters beyond the traditional definition of navigable waters, interstate waters and territorial seas.

Administrator Pruitt recently completed a southeast tour to further his plan to protect the environment, which included a day with several FLA members and private forest landowner advocates. Pruitt said his focus for the EPA is that it will begin a new era of “regulatory certainty.” (more)

Congress Presses Forward on Tax Reform; Latest push by Republican leaders mirrors FLA agenda benefiting forest landowners

A joint statement released in late July makes it clear that Republican leadership in the White House, Senate and the House of Representatives will craft, introduce and work to build support for a comprehensive tax reform package this fall.

“We are all united in the belief that the single most important action we can take to grow our economy and help the middle class get ahead is to fix our broken tax code for families, small business, and American job creators competing at home and around the globe. Our shared commitment to fixing America’s broken tax code represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and so for three months we have been meeting regularly to develop a shared template for tax reform,” the statement reads.

The statement was warmly received by Forest Landowners Association staff and board members, serving as a clear signal that the Association’s efforts to elevate the importance of this issue for members is beginning to pay dividends. (more)

Ag Secretary and EPA Administrator Tour Working Forest, Talk Importance of Private Forest Landowners

On Friday, July 7th Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt met with an array of forest and forestry advocates including Scott Jones, CEO of the Forest Landowners Association (FLA) at the property of Earl and Wanda Barrs. Earl is a longtime board member of the FLA. During the meeting private forest landowners and representatives from state and national forest landowner groups shared with the Secretary and Administrator the story of owning and managing working forest lands and the impact that state and federal regulation can have on those efforts.

“This is really the first time in a long time that the administrator of the EPA has shown this much interest in and appreciation for private forest landowners,” said Jones. “It was just so exciting and gratifying to hear Administrator Pruitt use words like ‘partner’ as he was talking about the agency and our members.”

Also in attendance were David Tenny, president and CEO of the National Alliance of Forest Landowners and Andres Villegas, president and CEO of the Georgia Forestry Association.(more)

Hopkins, Straka, Richman Lead Award Winners

FLA honors longtime contributors at national conference in Asheville

With FLA holding its annual National Conference of Private Forest Landowners in Asheville, N.C., in June near the birthplace of U.S. forestry, it was appropriate that the organization recognized a number of its longtime contributors.

Joe Hopkins, who has spent nearly three decades at the helm of his family’s Toledo Manufacturing in Folkston, Ga., while working in a number of forestry leadership roles, including FLA President from 2013-2015, received the Forest Landowner of the Year Award.

Hopkins, who now serves as President of the Forest Landowner Foundation, received the award from outgoing FLA President Scott Rowland, who succeeded Hopkins in that role in 2015. Hopkins accepted the award with his wife of nearly 40 years, Julie, whom he credited for his success.

“She’s been with me every step of the way,” said Hopkins, who is profiled in this issue of Forest Landowner magazine starting on page 12. “I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten home at 2 a.m. after driving back from a forestry meeting and she never once complained.” (more)

Going on the Offensive

With a politically friendly administration and Congress, FLA embraces opportunity to shape agenda during the meeting of private forest landowners in Asheville.

With FLA holding its annual National Conference of Private Forest Landowners during a Republican administration for the first time since 2008, the mood was decidedly upbeat over the prospect of a favorable political climate and an economic upswing.

 

Congressman Bruce Westerman, a longtime FLA member, expressed optimism for landowners because of the new administration.

Though the stock market had soared and housing prices improved during the first four months of President Trump’s administration when FLA members gathered at the historic Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C., from May 31 through June 2, FLA leaders cautioned that lasting change will take time to develop.

“We’re in a unique position right now in that we have an opportunity to work with an administration that we haven’t seen before,” said FLA CEO Scott Jones. “In the last eight years it’s been difficult to see policy initiatives forwarded through Congress. We’ve had to play a lot of defense. Now we see the opportunities for expanded markets and favorable taxation that weren’t there for us before.”

FLA bolstered its lobbying efforts earlier this year with the hiring of top Washington firm VogelHood, which already has helped FLA get the ear of new White House officials. (more)

 

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