FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2021

Senators Warnock and Cassidy Emerge as Champions of Nations Forest Landowners

WASHINGTON, DCIn the midst of Hurricane season and with wildfires still raging in the pacific northwest, the nation’s forest landowners are holding their breath hoping for a fix in tax code to help them recover after a natural disaster. The solution is S.2768: the Disaster Reforestation Act introduced today by Senators Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

“The forestry industry is central to Georgia’s economy and environment, supporting critical jobs in rural communities and across the state,” commented Senator Warnock. “The bipartisan Disaster Reforestation Act will ensure our forest landowners have the tools they need to recover when natural disasters strike.”

When a natural disaster strikes, forest landowners face immense financial burdens, which are compounded at tax time when they find their ability to claim a casualty loss for destroyed timber is often zero dollars. The Disaster Reforestation Act fixes a shortcoming in the tax code by allowing landowners to deduct the full value of their timber destroyed during natural disaster events.

“Louisianans are no stranger to natural disasters. This tax fix provides much-needed relief and certainty to landowners when livelihoods are destroyed by storms,” said Senator Cassidy.

Unlike producers of other agricultural commodities, forest owners operate on thin margins and decades-long timelines. Fixing the casualty loss issue would support continued investment in private forests and its ripple effects on rural economies and the environment.

“Forest landowners do not qualify for USDA Crop insurance following natural disasters, and private insurance products are unavailable,” said Forest Landowners Association (FLA) CEO Scott Jones “Forest landowners are not asking for a handout, just fair treatment when it comes to recovering after a natural disaster. The Disaster Reforestation Act fixes this inequality.”

Growing, harvesting, and replanting trees is in the national interest of America’s forests products supply chain, rural economies, and environment. With hurricane season underway and catastrophic natural disasters at an all-time high, forest landowners must have economic certainty and a way to recover after a casualty loss of their timber.  The simple fix is to pass the Disaster Reforestation Act.

In addition to FLA, more than 35 other forestry and conservation organizations support fixing the tax treatment of timber casualty losses.

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