The Timber Industry across the US has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Loggers are getting paid less for their hauls. Papermills reduced their output or shut down completely.
Verso Mill in Wisconsin Rapids was as one of them.
As WXPR previously reported, the mill used 1.5 million tons of wood each year. That’s about 25% percent of total production in Wisconsin.
The American Loggers Council estimates the reduction across the US caused a 13% loss in value of logger-delivered wood.
While many other industries that lost revenue due to the pandemic got relief from the CARES ACT, US Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) says loggers and others in the timber industry were largely left out.
“The USDA was focused primarily on agricultural products that are in the food supply chain. So, there was a determination that logging wasn’t eligible,” said Baldwin.
In December, $200 million was made available to the USDA specifically to support those in the timber industry.
Baldwin and a group of bi-partisan senators are urging the USDA to make that relief available now.
“We just want to see it flow, right now, perhaps because the change in administration, we really to need to see this aid go out and get into the hands of those who might leave the industry if they don’t receive some sort of aid,” said Baldwin.
The Senators sent a letter to the USDA Acting Secretary. They’re urging the USDA to distribute the assistance as soon as possible.