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FLA’s Grassroots Tour: Advocacy in Action in Louisiana

This year, FLA launched an on-the ground initiative to meet with our State Engagement Team members and other interested parties in their home states to grow our grassroots engagement.

Government Affairs on the Ground: FLA’s Grassroots Tour

Amidst shifting markets, regulations and legislative landscapes, private forest landowners across the country are face mounting pressure and uncertainty. For over 80 years, FLA has stood as a steadfast advocate for your interests on these issues. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to intensify our efforts for success.

 As a grassroots advocacy organization, our strength lies in your participation. While our team tirelessly champions for your interests on Capitol Hill and with federal agencies, it’s your direct engagement that wields the greatest influence. Through our SET to GO program, we provide a platform for practical and impactful engagement with policymakers and partners to advance the priorities that are vital to landowners nationwide. Strengthening this program is essential to ensuring your voice is heard.

“Government Affairs on the Ground: FLA’s Grassroots Tour” is our initiative to mobilize FLA members across states and encourage active participation in FLA’s advocacy endeavors. With a successful event in Louisiana under our belt, we are looking forward to taking our Tour across the U.S.

On the Ground in Louisiana

The Grassroots Tour kicked off on April 10th in Longleaf, Louisiana at the Southern Forest Heritage Museum. That afternoon, 16 landowners and forestry professionals convened with FLA staff to discuss policy priorities, the significance of grassroots engagement, and strategies for sustained collaboration in the state to advance landowner interests.

FLA CEO Scott Jones shared the origin of the grassroots State Engagement Teams, which started in 2014 when Alabama landowners mobilized in response to proposed critical habitat designations for the black pinesnake. Direct engagement between landowners and policymakers proved fruitful with both sides sharing their perspectives and working towards finding a solution.  This paved the way to empower forest stakeholders nationwide to become more involved in the public policy process.

Next up was FLA Director of Stewardship Initiatives and Regulatory Affairs, Katie Moss, who informed the group about the purpose and structure of FLA’s SET to GO program, underscoring the vital role of grassroots advocacy.  While FLA advocates at the federal level, policymakers value hearing firsthand from constituents about regulatory and legislative n directly impacts their ability to keep their land healthy, productive, and in forest use. By putting a name, face, and story to the issue, policymakers can connect with the issue on a deeper level and are more likely to engage on the issue. FLA’s SET to GO program equips our members with the tools and opportunities to make these vital connections that benefit landowners both locally and nationally.

FLA’s Director of Government Affairs, Craig Anderson, stepped up to the plate to outline FLA’s policy priorities for 2024 and beyond, stressing the importance of collaboration and partnerships to achieve our goals. Both Moss and Anderson have been working diligently to position FLA and our members as a go-to resource for the private landowner perspective on policy impacting forest owners. While FLA staff has set the groundwork with these agencies, it is important that we can rely on member involvement—sharing stories, meeting with lawmakers, and amplifying the voice of the forestry community—is pivotal in complementing FLA’s groundwork with agencies.

The meeting culminated with a roundtable discussion on enhancing FLA’s SET to GO Program and proactively engaging with policymakers and partners in Louisiana. While there were many great takeaways from the meeting, the group established a need to increase engagement with partners in the state. While we as the forest landowner community can spread the word about the great work happening on private land, it is sometimes more impactful when partners such as those in the conservation community, agriculture community, and beyond share our message.

FLA will continue our Grassroots Tour with plans for additional stops in 2024 and beyond. If you would like to set up a meeting in your state or region, contact Katie Moss at kmoss@forestlandowners.com. Your voice matters, and your active participation in our policy work is pivotal in shaping our collective future. We are excited to work with you in your home state to grow our grassroots engagement and promote policies that ensure success and viability for private landowners!

To learn more about FLA’s grassroots advocacy efforts through our SET to GO Program, click here.

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