Henry Schienebeck, executive director of the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association, talks about the 68th annual Lake States Logging Congress and Equipment Expo in Escanaba, MI Sept. 6-7.
What is your assessment of the Logging Congress this year?
We had a very good turnout. A lot of good vendor comments. Everybody seems to be a better mood this year. The markets have stabilized which is a good thing. Any time you can start to see some consistency in the business, that’s a good thing.
You have seen interest in people buying equipment or at least looking at them?
Yeah. You see some sold signs on some of the equipment. And I’ve kind of been watching, there’s a lot of smaller equipment going in and out of the building here. So there are a lot of sales going on, I can see that.
Any issues come out during the Logging Congress that have been talked about this weekend?
Yeah, absolutely. We are always talking about EPA regulations, federal Forest Service, there are a lot of regulations that are coming out. A lot faster than we’d like to see them going out that have a huge impact on not only the producers side in the forests but the mills themselves. A lot of air quality issues, water runoff issues, climate change issues, those types of things. I guess I call it job security on our end (as far as the association) but not a good environment to have to work in.
Any exceptions for the coming year in the industry?
We’re hoping to see some settling down of those rules and regulations. They are just coming out so fast that we can’t keep up with them. We’d like to see that taper off just a little bit. We’re hoping to see more management on the federal forest. You know, having enough raw material. We’re growing it. We’re just not harvesting it. There’s a lot of land being set aside and we’re saying ‘how much is enough?’ Keeping that raw material at the right price in this global economy is pretty important to our industry.
The Lakes States Logging Congress goes back and forth between Michigan and Wisconsin each year. How was it being in Michigan this year?
Escanaba is always a good time. The people in Escanaba embrace the show, they embrace the industry. The Chamber, the fairground crew, they are all great to work with. They do everything they can to make sure we have everything we need. And visa versa. We try to go back and try to bring good quality to the community as well.