LINCOLN – COVID-19 has had an impact on many businesses across the United States, and Maine’s logging industry is no exception.
“It’s been terrible, and I still can’t understand why,” said Tony Madden, owner of A.W. Madden, Inc. “Building materials are okay, but we’re really struggling.”
“Logging in 2020 is probably in the worst condition for operating and marketing conditions in the history of probably the state of Maine,” said Dana Doran, executive director for the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine.
Doran said conditions started to worsen in February when trade with foreign countries began to shut down.
“Loggers were not able to sell wood to mills that sold fiber abroad,” Doran said. “Then, it compounded itself. In April, the Pixelle Mill in Jay blew up, essentially removing a market for 2 million tons of fiber from Maine loggers and truckers, and it’s gotten worse as the summer has gone by.”
According to Doran, this has primarily impacted pulp and paper mills.
“We’re expecting about a 30% reduction in market volume for 2020, which will translate to nearly $100 million of lost operational income for logging and trucking contractors across the state,” Doran said.
Maine’s fishermen and farmers are receiving federal relief, and loggers are looking for the same.
“We’re the same as farmers and fishermen,” said Scott Madden, owner of A.W. Madden, Inc. “We’re all in agriculture, so we were just really looking to be treated for that to hopefully get through the fall into winter.”
“We’re loggers,” T. Madden said. “We’re part of that three legged stool really, and so far, I kind of feel like we got left out.”
Doran said Congress has allowed other fiber related businesses to be eligible for funding through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
“If they’re gonna make an exception for other fiber products, they should make the same exception for loggers and truckers,” Doran said.