Earlier today State Representative Howard Beaty and Seantor Ben Gilmore announced the creation of the Forestry Caucus of the Arkansas General Assembly. I am excited about the progress we will continue to make for our forestry industry. Thank you to Congressman Bruce Westerman for his support, State Senator Charles Beckham and Jeff Wardlaw State Representative for serving as our Vice Chairs, and to all the members of the legistature that have agreed to join the Forestry Caucus. #forestry
Little Rock, AR – State Senator Ben Gilmore (R- Crossett) and State Representative Howard M. Beaty Jr. (R – Crossett) announced today the creation of the Forestry Caucus of the Arkansas General Assembly. Senator Gilmore and Representative Beaty will serve as co-chairs with Senator Charles Beckham (R – McNeil) and Representative Jeff Wardlaw (R – Hermitage) serving as vice chairs.
“I am encouraged by the many legislators who have decided to join the Forestry Caucus. Forestry plays a significant role in Arkansas’ economy, especially in our rural communities. It is critical we advance policies that will help our state’s most important industries – forestry. This past session we were able to advocate for the creation of the Center for Forest Business at the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources,” said Senator Gilmore.
Upon creation of the Forestry Caucus, Representative Beaty stated, “It is past time we have a Forestry Caucus that will look toward passing more legislation to help economic development efforts and expand the growth of our forestry sector in our state. Arkansas’ forests cover 18.9 million acres, or 56 percent of the state, and has more than 1.2 billion tons of standing timber.”
Leaders in the forestry industry weighed in on the creation of the Forestry Caucus:
• “As the only forester in the United States Congress, I understand the importance of well-managed forests and their impact on our environment, our community, and our economy. Forestry is a vital industry in the great state of Arkansas, and I am glad the Forest Caucus will provide an avenue for the state legislature to discuss the economic and environmental impacts of proper forest management, the need for sustainable forestry, and innovative ways to incorporate forest products into daily life. I am grateful for the efforts of State Senator Ben Gilmore and State Representative Howard Beaty to bring this caucus to life, and I am confident this will be a valuable forum to discuss policies that promote working forests, our nation’s number one renewable resource.”
– U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04)
• “The creation of a forestry caucus within the Arkansas General Assembly has the potential to be one of the most important and effective tools I’ve seen in my more than 30 years in the timber and forest products sector,” said Max Braswell, executive vice president of the Arkansas Forestry Association. “Our ability to work together in Arkansas is known nationwide. The support and partnership of our legislative leaders will only enhance the multitude of opportunities we have to make working forests a ‘part of the solution’ – whether it’s as a natural climate solution, economic driver for rural communities or in keeping our natural state natural. These are exciting times and AFA fully supports the creation of a forestry caucus.”
— Max Braswell, Executive Director, Arkansas Forestry Association
• “Our state’s forestry industry ranks third in the nation and annually contributes nearly $5 billion to the Arkansas economy, making it an incredibly important part of our agriculture portfolio. We look forward to working with policymakers to expand an industry so crucial to our state.”
— Rich Hillman, President, Arkansas Farm Bureau
• “Timber Harvesters are part of a sector dedicated to growing sustainable forests that support communities, jobs, and the thousands of products we use every day. Active forest management keeps acres in trees – providing a range of environmental, conservation, and climate values for generations to come. Good things can happen when we shop up, take on leadership roles, and work collaboratively to sustain and promote one of the State’s most economically important agricultural industries.”
– Larry Boccarossa, Executive Director, Arkansas Timber Producers Association
“We appreciate all the support from our friends in the forestry industry and from Congressman Westerman who has been a leader on agriculture on the national level,” said Senator Gilmore and Representative Beaty.