During this challenging time, rest assured that the Forest Landowners Association‘s priority is the health and safety of our members and your economic stability.
We appreciate what you do for America’s robust forest landscape and the forestry supply chain. We understand the importance of forestry-related businesses to be able to continue the work of forest management and supplying raw materials for this critical supply chain.
FLA along with our partner organizations are working to keep you informed and to advocate for our sector during these trying times. If and when additional stimulus packages are assembled and proposed, we will continue to support you, your business, and your livelihood.
These resources will be updated as new developments occur.
Resources for Private Forest Landowners and Forestry Businesses
On March 27th President Trump signed into law the historic $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Provisions most notable to forestry-related businesses included:
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides relief for small businesses that have trouble covering payroll and operating expenses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new law creates a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program, called the “Paycheck Protection Program” (PPP), that expands benefits and eligibility for SBA disaster loans, covers payments on existing SBA loans, and creates new tax credits to help cover the cost of paid leave and payroll.
We have summary information and online resources for all program offered to small business provided by the CARES Act available – click here.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Small Business Administration (SBA) – Economic Injury Disaster Loans
The Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here to apply
Payroll Payment Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program is newly created by the CARES Act and authorizes $350 billion in forgivable loans with the goal of incentivizing small businesses to keep employees on the payroll. The maximum loan amount is 250% of the employer’s monthly payroll costs, or $10 million (whichever is less) and the loan will be made forgivable if it is spent on payroll, rent, utilities, or mortgage interest payments and the small business maintains its pre-crisis full-time employment level. Applications are made through banks and other financial institutions that administer Small Business Administration loans. Click here to apply
Status of COVID-19 Impact on Supply Chain in Your State
Our colleagues at Forest Resources Association (FRA) have compiled a web-based tool documenting the impact of COVID-19 on the forest products industry. This page is being regularly updated with the most current information about directive impacting the wood supply chain and may serve as a useful tool to track rules and regulations affecting your specific geography.
Expediting H-2 Visa Processing
Expediting H-2 Visas
On March 26, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided an update on its partnership with the Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expedite the processing of H-2 visas (includes H-2B). These changes allow the majority of H-2 visas of qualified applicants to be adjudicated without an interview. The measures to be implemented include:
- Authorization of consular officers to expand the categories of H-2 visa applicants whose applications can be adjudicated without an in-person interview. This expansion increases the period which a worker may qualify for an interview waiver whose permit expired from 12 to 48 months, providing the worker did not require a waiver of ineligibility the first time they applied and are applying for the same visa classification.
- Consular officers can, if they so choose, waive the visa interview requirement for first-time and returning H-2 applicants who have no potential ineligibility.
Click here for FAQs
Essential vs. Non-Essential Workers
Essential vs. Non-Essential Workers
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), provides regularly updated Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. The CISA Guidance designates “workers who support sawmills and the manufacture and distribution of fiber and forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood and fiber products” as essential workers along with “workers needed to maintain the continuity of these manufacturing functions and associated supply chains.” CISA’s guidance also identifies workers in residential construction and the supply chain for construction as essential.
- The Forest Resources Association (FRA) is tracking state-level designations of the forest sector here.
- The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is tracking state-level designations of the construction industry here.
The DHS CISA are asking anyone having specific issues with enforcement at the state and local level with critical infrastructure guidance, transportation guidance, etc. to let them know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drivers for the Transport of Goods – FMCSA CDL Waiver
The Department of Transportation has issued a waiver for the regulation of interstate commercial drivers licenses (CDLs) and learners permits (CLPs). This waiver may have a positive impact for drivers serving in the forestry sector.
EPA Relaxes Enforcement of Environmental Laws
The EPA has announced they will temporarily suspend enforcement of civil violations of environmental laws during the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, the EPA will not seek penalties for noncompliance with routine monitoring and reporting obligations during this time. While this is a temporary policy, the EPA has set no end date. To determine whether this suspension of enforcement actions applies to your business. Click here for the full policy.