Nicole Ogrysko of Maine General public Radio reviews on loggers in the Maine woods who have been squeezed by superior selling prices for diesel and gear.


Growing gasoline prices, machines expenses and source chain delays are squeezing loggers in Maine. The worries began two yrs in the past, but now inflation poses challenging thoughts for the field. Nicole Ogrysko from Maine Public Radio has the tale.

NICOLE OGRYSKO, BYLINE: Jim Robbins anxieties about the rising price of paying his workers and powering his white pine sawmill around the Maine coastline. But what seriously retains him up at evening is what he’ll do if the impartial loggers he relies on can’t deliver him the wooden he requires to run his mill.

JIM ROBBINS: We improve trees truly effectively in the state of Maine, but you’ve acquired to have the folks to go out and reduce that wood and carry it to the mills. And you can have a terrific lumber mill, but you happen to be not going to have a terrific lumber mill if you really don’t have the loggers out there to deliver that wood to the mills.

OGRYSKO: The price of diesel has doubled in the final year. It can be now additional than $6 a gallon in Maine. Robbins is assisting truckers cover some gas expenditures, and he suggests he’s spending extra now for the logs and fiber that his independent contractors bring to his mill. And even though most mills in Maine are now shelling out a reward to offset the price tag of gas, the past 6 months of volatility and offer chain difficulties have compelled some loggers to concern no matter if they’ll continue on on in the small business.


OGRYSKO: For Thomas Douglass, there isn’t substantially of a choice. He ordinarily looks ahead to the end of spring when the filth roadways dry up and impartial loggers like himself return to the woods.

THOMAS DOUGLASS: Typically when we’re acquiring all set to roll things out of the garage, I’m just like a child in a sweet retail outlet. I want to see things get again to do the job. I want to see fellas get again to function.

OGRYSKO: But this spring, everything is more expensive.

DOUGLASS: It was the minimum I at any time looked forward to likely back again to do the job following a single season, I guess. Let us put it that way.

OGRYSKO: Douglass estimates the cost of operating his small business has absent up involving 20% and 30% in excess of the very last two many years, and specially in the very last six months.


OGRYSKO: But he is again in the woods examining on his crew which is clearing white birch and other trees for pulpwood.

DOUGLASS: That equipment right there, I was informed the other working day by the equipment supplier I acquired that device from – I really don’t know if it was worth it or not, but its cost was one more $80,000 bigger a year afterwards on a device that was a good deal high priced in the very first location.

OGRYSKO: Like Robbins, some mills in Maine are spending a little much more now for raw fiber. That is helped, but the volatility has compelled loggers to scale again their functions, retire or depart the sector entirely, suggests Dana Doran, the government director of the Specialist Logging Contractors of Maine. And some aren’t returning to the woods at all this spring.

DANA DORAN: They have either shut down, seen staff members depart for greener pastures and they haven’t been in a position to exchange them, so they never, or they’ve moved into other occupations. They are trucking other commodities. They may be trucking h2o, or they’re trucking finished lumber.

OGRYSKO: Or they are clearing land for developers to build new photo voltaic farms. Forest economists consider the marketplace will finally regulate, and additional mills will have to have to spend extra for wooden. If they never, loggers will depart the business, which economists say could have a lasting effect on Maine’s forest market. But for Douglass, he is far too young to retire at age 32. He might sell a single of his logging devices that is sitting in the garage if he can not come across and employ the service of the crews to function it. But it really is as well before long to leave the small business behind, hard as it is.

DOUGLASS: I would say it truly is surviving – certainly not flourishing but surviving, and likely just that.

OGRYSKO: What ever occurs to the market, Douglass just hopes it stays strong plenty of to sooner or later entice his younger sons into the organization.

For NPR News, I’m Nicole Ogrysko in Parkman, Maine.


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