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Advocacy in Action: FLA’s Government Affairs Team Encourages Members to Share Their Stories

Advocating for policies that protect private forest landowners’ private property rights, economic viability, and forest legacy is the core of our work at the Forest Landowners Association (FLA). While FLA’s Government Affairs team is working to advance your interests with Congress and the Administration, our team needs landowners like you to tell their stories. When policymakers hear directly from their constituents about how policies and regulations impact you and your forest resources, it greatly amplifies the message and creates lasting change. By putting a name and a face to these vital issues, your participation helps landowners nationwide to keep working forests working.

Ready to help? Here’s How You Can Get Involved:

While interacting directly with policymakers may seem like a daunting task, there are several easy ways that you can get involved with our advocacy efforts at FLA.

Join the SET to GO Program. FLA’s SET to GO (State Engagement Teams to Grassroots Optimization) Program provides FLA members across the country with simple, easy, and effective ways to engage with policymakers to create a unified voice for the forestry community on issues of importance to private landowners. The Engagement Teams also get a more detailed look into how FLA is promoting landowner interests with Congress and federal agencies. Learn more about our SET to GO Program here. Contact Katie Moss at kmoss@forestlandowners.com if you would like to join a State Engagement Team.

Donate to the PAC. FLA’s Political Action Committee (PAC) is a way for our Government Affairs staff to attend events that allow us face-to-face time with members of Congress to discuss our issues. If you aren’t comfortable meeting with your member of Congress, this is an avenue that helps FLA advocate on your behalf. Learn more about our PAC here.

Join our Landowner Learning webinar on Grassroots Engagement. FLA is hosting a webinar about the importance of grassroots engagement and how you can get plugged into our advocacy efforts. We hope that you’ll join us!

Date: Wednesday, August 30th
Time: 2 pm EST

Register for the webinar here.

Our Grassroots Engagement in Action

Our members have had the unique opportunity to engage directly with policymakers at several meetings and events across the country. We have highlighted a few examples of grassroots efforts from our membership below.

Farm Bill Listening Sessions

In recent months, the House Agriculture Committee has hosted several Farm Bill Listening Sessions across the country to hear from stakeholders about issues that should be addressed in the 2023 Farm Bill. By utilizing our SET to GO Teams, we have had several FLA members in attendance at these meetings to give testimony about the importance of disaster recovery and the need for the Disaster Reforestation Act to be included in the Farm Bill.

On April 24, 2023, FLA member Frank Graddy spoke at a Farm Bill Listening Session in Florida. Frank, a fourth-generation Florida landowner, spoke on the devastation to his forestland from Hurricane Michael and how the Disaster Reforestation Act (DRA) is needed to recover from natural disasters.

“That’s a 30-year investment gone in just two to three hours. It had just disappeared.” -In reference to Hurricane Michael in 2019

Frank Grady
On July 31st, FLA Board Member and chair of FLA’s Government Affairs Committee, Alex Ingraham, spoke at a Farm Bill Listening Session in Freeport, Maine. Ingraham called attention to the growing natural disasters, including recent flooding that has impacted landowners across New England. He told legislators that while uncommon, tax policy has been included in past Farm Bills and that they should include the Disaster Reforestation Act to give landowners certainty in the face of rising natural disasters.

On August 2nd, FLA member Peter Connor spoke at a Farm Bill Listening Session in Morgan, Minnesota at the annual “Farm Fest”. Connor told lawmakers about a 2019 tornado that devastated a significant amount of his timber and how the current tax code does not adequately help landowners recover and reforest. Like Ingraham, he called on the legislators to include the Disaster Reforestation Act in the upcoming Farm Bill so landowners like him can continue to provide the clean air, freshwater, and quality jobs our country depends on.

“430 acres of our timberland was obliterated by a tornado in 2019. 90 percent was completely wiped out right down to the topsoil. While we were able to salvage a small portion of the timber, we were paid a trifling fraction of the true value of the 120 years of sustainable management.”

Peter Connor

On June 2nd, FLA member, Brennan Garrelts, spoke at a Farm Bill Listening Session in Albany, Oregon. Brennan, Vice President of Lone Rock Resources, emphasized how private forest landowners do not have access to a federal safety net, crop insurance, or a tax code that helps them recover after a disaster. He called on the legislators to include the Disaster Reforestation Act in the Farm Bill to give landowners certainty in the face of rising natural disasters.

Species Issues

Members of the Louisiana Engagement Team mobilized around the proposed critical habitat designation for the Louisiana Pinesnake in December 2022 to provide a unified voice against the designation. FLA worked with key landowners to enhance the organization’s comments, and several landowners submitted their own comments on the proposal.

In 2021, FLA hosted a Timber Talk in High Springs, Florida around the Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtle and forestry best management practices. The Florida Engagement Team had the unique opportunity to meet with the Fish and Wildlife Service and other forest stakeholders in the field and share their perspectives. Read more about our Florida Timber Talk here.

Hill Visits and Other Meetings

There are several other opportunities for FLA members to meet with policymakers both in their home states and on the Hill in Washington, DC. Check out some examples below.


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