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Reason for Optimism as Trump Administration Crosses 100 Day Mark
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Just 100 days into his term, President Trump is moving quickly to make good on campaign promises. The executive orders, appointments and new policy initiatives coming out of the White House have gotten the attention of the Forest Landowners Association.

 

“The Trump Administration clearly understands that in many rural communities across our country, and almost all of the states in the Southeast, forestry is a primary economic driver to providing jobs and contributing to the funding of rural schools.  It all starts in the woods, with the landowners who own the land and grow the trees.” FLA CEO Scott Jones

 

We've prepared a rundown on all things forestry over the first 100 days, so please read on!

 

End of the Death Tax

When President Trump unveiled his administrations tax reform plan, he made it clear that they fully intend to repeal the federal estate tax – a change FLA has been advocating for more than a decade.  For years, the Forest Landowners Association has worked to help policymakers and White House administrations understand the challenges the federal estate tax creates for families that own forest assets. President Trump’s forceful assertion of the end of the federal estate tax, known more commonly as the “Death Tax” is a welcome change from years of inaction on this front.  Read more.

 

Tariff on Canadian Softwood Lumber

After the previous administration allowed the Canadian Softwood Lumber Agreement to expire, Trump took swift action in his first 100 days to ensure that subsidized Canadian imports do not undercut American producers.

 

The tariffs vary per producer but range from 3 percent to 24 percent for five Canadian lumber producers including West Fraser, Canfor, Tolko, Resolute and D.Irving. Any Canadian producer not specifically mentioned will face tariffs approaching 20 percent.

 

In 2016, Canadian softwood shipments into the United States topped $5.5 billion. Read more.

 

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Confirmed

On April 24th former Governor of Georgia Sonny Perdue was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture. Secretary Perdue is just the second Secretary of Agriculture from the Deep South and is well versed in the contributions that private forest landowners make to local rural economies. Secretary Perdue is the first cousin of Georgia Senator David Perdue, a longtime supporter of the policy positions important to the FLA.

 

The Secretary’s inclusion of forestry in his earliest statements as the chief executive of the federal government’s largest agency were welcomed by champions of private forest landowners and the forest products industry. Secretary Perdue said, “As secretary, I will champion the concerns of farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers, and will work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families. I am proud to have been given this opportunity and look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work as we continue to move the USDA and our nation forward.”

 

EPA as an Ally. Executive Order Sets Sail Reversal of Waters of the U.S

Trump has a forestry-friendly EPA administrator, who has moved quickly to reverse the long and rocky relationship between the agency and forest landowners as well as farmers. Trump has made good on his pledge to target burdensome regulations, though the big-ticket efforts, such as WOTUS, on that front will take time.

In February President Trump signed an executive order to begin the process of reversing the Waters of the U.S. rule, a federal policy long opposed by both forestry and agricultural groups. Reversing it is a long, complicated process that will require several years of proposals and public comment - giving environmentalists ample opportunity to fight a rearguard action.  However, President Trump’s aggressive action on this front pleased the forestry and ag communities. Read more.

 

Recognition of Forestry in Agriculture Executive Order

Trump Administration’s recognition of the contribution forests and forest landowners make to vital rural economies evidenced most recently by the Tuesday, April 25 signing of the Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.

 

In the executive order the President states that “a reliable, safe, and affordable food, fiber, and forestry supply is critical to America's national security, stability, and prosperity. It is in the national interest to promote American agriculture and protect the rural communities where food, fiber, forestry, and many of our renewable fuels are cultivated.” Read more

 

The Forest Landowners Association is optimistic that the Trump Administration offers real opportunity to advance the policy positions that we have long worked toward. We look forward to continued work on our behalf to bring as many of them as possible to fruition.

 

 

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