FLA Grassroots Engagement

Getting Involved to Make a Difference

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.

FLA’s 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.

Our established state teams include:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • The Pacific Northwest (California, Idaho, Oregon & Washington)
  • Northeast (Maine, Massachusettes, New York, Pennsylvania)
  • Great Lakes (Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin)

However, we are always looking to expand! Whether you’re located in one of these states or not, we encourage you to join us. We are currently working to create or grow Teams in:

  • Tennesee
  • Texas
  • Virginia

Don’t see your state listed, but are ready to engage? We’re happy to help set up a team in any state or region. Learn more about our SET to GO Program here. Contact FLA’s Director of Stewardship Initiatives and Regulatory Affairs, Katie Moss at kmoss@forestlandowners.com if you would like to join a State Engagement Team.

Want to Learn More?

Watch our 30-minute online learning session on SET to GO teams:

See 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.