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2017 Presidents Letter
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January - February 2017

 

Happy New Year! Regardless of how you voted in the general election or what predictions might be made about the impact of the results, we can be sure of one thing: this presents an opportunity for private forest landowners.

   It has been more than a decade since the executive branch and Congress were aligned under the Republican Party and the first time since 1928 that a Republican President has taken office with a majority in Congress. Although we are not a partisan association, we all can agree that the priorities of private forest landowners often are advanced by the Republican Party. The GOP, after all, tends to have a better understanding of our shared values.

   Take the Estate Tax, or Death Tax as we call it, as an example. The vast majority of private forest landowners are land rich and cash poor. When placed into an estate tax situation the result is often the harvesting of older, more valuable, timber stands to pay the tax. Initiatives such as the conservation of at-risk plant and animal species often depend on these older stands to survive. An untimely harvest to pay a tax puts these species at greater risk of survival.  

   By understanding our shared value of healthy forests provided by landowners who are acknowledged for their economic and environmental contributions to society makes many of our issues bipartisan. 

   This will remain the focus of the Forest Landowners Association. Properly communicating the value of private forest landowners to create a better understanding of our needs and avoiding unintended regulation or outcomes because of policy. 

   We will continue to be active in the nation’s capital but it will be a new day with new rules that I believe play to our strengths as a grassroots association. Big corporations hire lobbyists because they don't have what we have – real constituents who are impacted by the legislation being crafted, debated and voted upon in Congress.  

   With today's technology, we can stay abreast of issues and engage our members and their constituents. Yes, we will still have fly-ins – our next board of directors meeting will be in Washington in February and will include visits to Capitol Hill - and Scott Jones and his staff work in DC and elsewhere to keep the relationships going with members of Congress. But ultimately you are the key to ensuring we take advantage of this opportunity to carry the message of the benefits healthy private forest landowners provide our great nation.

  Here at FLA, we’ve been looking ahead to the next four years and not just because of the election. You’ll find FLA’s strategic plan for 2017-2020 on pages 30-33.

    I hope you will stand ready to join us in advancing the priorities of private forest landowners in 2017. As always, thank you for your support of our association.

 

Scott Rowland, President, Forest Landowners Association



 

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