A 10-week school designed to provide formal training for men and women interested in starting a career in the logging profession is being planned for this region this fall.
One of the main people promoting this first-ever training opportunity in logging is Fred Smith, Logging School manager for the Missouri Forest Products Association, a not-for-profit association that advocates for the safe and sustainable use of state forests that benefit current and future generations.
“The Missouri forest products industry is a $9 billion-dollar industry providing employment for over 43,000 Missourians and generating $88.3 million in state sales tax revenue,” he said. “Those of us in the forest products industry have recognized, however, that there’s an insufficient number of young people entering the logging profession to maintain the current statewide harvesting capacity as loggers start to retire.”
“In fact, a recent survey of the Missouri logging sector by the state’s Department of Conservation has discovered that the average age of all our current loggers is rapidly approaching 60 years of age.” To address this shortage, the MFPA, MDC and leaders in the Missouri wood products industry have collaborated to create the MFPA Logging School.
“The benefit of a formal logging education program like this is that it will prepare future loggers to safely enter the profession through an employee or apprentice type position with a greater possibility of business ownership after gaining sufficient work experience and capital,” he said. “The school will focus on developing the students’ skills in forest management, timber harvesting and marketing, as well as the sustainable utilization of forest resources.”