Inflation hits the Maine logging field : NPR

Nicole Ogrysko of Maine General public Radio experiences on loggers in the Maine woods who have been squeezed by large costs for diesel and products.


Growing gas selling prices, equipment charges and offer chain delays are squeezing loggers in Maine. The difficulties started two decades back, but now inflation poses rough inquiries for the sector. Nicole Ogrysko from Maine Community Radio has the story.

NICOLE OGRYSKO, BYLINE: Jim Robbins problems about the increasing expense of shelling out his employees and powering his white pine sawmill around the Maine coast. But what truly retains him up at night time is what he’ll do if the impartial loggers he relies on are not able to deliver him the wood he requires to run his mill.

JIM ROBBINS: We mature trees genuinely nicely in the condition of Maine, but you’ve got acquired to have the individuals to go out and slice that wood and provide it to the mills. And you can have a wonderful lumber mill, but you are not heading to have a excellent lumber mill if you really don’t have the loggers out there to bring that wooden to the mills.

OGRYSKO: The selling price of diesel has doubled inside of the previous year. It is really now additional than $6 a gallon in Maine. Robbins is supporting truckers address some gasoline fees, and he suggests he is shelling out a lot more now for the logs and fiber that his impartial contractors convey to his mill. And even though most mills in Maine are now paying out a bonus to offset the price tag of fuel, the last 6 months of volatility and supply chain difficulties have compelled some loggers to problem no matter whether they’re going to proceed on in the small business.


OGRYSKO: For Thomas Douglass, there just isn’t significantly of a preference. He typically appears to be ahead to the finish of spring when the dust roads dry up and impartial loggers like himself return to the woods.

THOMAS DOUGLASS: Usually when we are having ready to roll stuff out of the garage, I’m just like a kid in a candy retail outlet. I want to see things get back again to perform. I want to see guys get back to operate.

OGRYSKO: But this spring, almost everything is more pricey.

DOUGLASS: It was the least I at any time appeared forward to heading back again to perform soon after a single time, I guess. Let us set it that way.

OGRYSKO: Douglass estimates the value of jogging his company has gone up involving 20% and 30% around the very last two several years, and particularly in the past 6 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 machine proper there, I was advised the other working day by the products dealer I acquired that equipment from – I you should not know if it was value it or not, but its value was one more $80,000 larger a yr afterwards on a equipment that was a good deal highly-priced in the to start with place.

OGRYSKO: Like Robbins, some mills in Maine are having to pay somewhat more now for raw fiber. Which is served, but the volatility has compelled loggers to scale again their functions, retire or leave the market entirely, claims Dana Doran, the executive director of the Experienced Logging Contractors of Maine. And some are not returning to the woods at all this spring.

DANA DORAN: They have either shut down, observed staff members leave for greener pastures and they have not been equipped to swap them, so they never, or they’ve moved into other occupations. They are trucking other commodities. They may possibly be trucking h2o, or they are trucking concluded lumber.

OGRYSKO: Or they’re clearing land for builders to make new photo voltaic farms. Forest economists believe that the current market will finally change, and extra mills will require to pay back a lot more for wooden. If they you should not, loggers will leave the business enterprise, which economists say could have a lasting effect on Maine’s forest field. But for Douglass, he is as well youthful to retire at age 32. He may well provide one of his logging equipment that’s sitting down in the garage if he cannot uncover and employ the service of the crews to work it. But it really is as well quickly to leave the business powering, complicated as it is.

DOUGLASS: I would say it’s surviving – absolutely not thriving but surviving, and almost certainly just that.

OGRYSKO: Whatsoever takes place to the industry, Douglass just hopes it stays robust adequate to inevitably entice his younger sons into the organization.

For NPR News, I am Nicole Ogrysko in Parkman, Maine.


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