Sen. Cassidy Emerges as Champion of Louisiana’s Timber Growers

September 21, 2021

Sen. Cassidy Emerges as Champion of Louisiana’s Timber Growers

WASHINGTON, DCWith Hurricane Ida still on their minds, Louisiana’s timber growers are holding their breath hoping for a fix in the tax code to help them recover after a natural disaster. The solution is the Disaster Reforestation Act championed by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA).

“Louisianans are no stranger to natural disasters. This tax fix provides much-needed relief and certainty to landowners when livelihoods are destroyed by storms,” said Senator Cassidy.

When a natural disaster strikes timber growers face immense financial burdens from timber loss, which is compounded at tax time when they find their ability to claim a casualty loss for destroyed timber is often zero dollars. The Disaster Reforestation Act fixes a shortcoming in the tax code by allowing landowners to deduct the full value of their timber destroyed during natural disaster events.

“Natural Disasters like Hurricane Laura and Delta last year and Ida just this month, can quickly level timberland, leaving landowners with decades-worth of work lost in just a few moments.  Unfortunately, there is no insurance coverage in most instances,” stated Roy O. Martin III, CEO of Martin Sustainable Resources L.L.C.  “Forest landowners in Louisiana are then left to recover with little to no financial assistance.”

Unlike producers of other agricultural commodities, forest landowners operate on thin margins and decades-long timelines. Fixing the casualty loss issue would support continued investment in timber and its ripple effects on rural economies and the environment.

Forest landowners do not qualify for USDA Crop insurance following natural disasters, and private insurance products are unavailable,” said Forest Landowners Association (FLA) CEO Scott Jones “Forest landowners are not asking for a handout, just fair treatment when it comes to recovering after a natural disaster. The Disaster Reforestation Act fixes this inequality.”

Louisiana’s private forests support $13 billion in economic activity, 48,000 jobs, contribute $326 million in tax revenue, provide safe drinking water for 100,000 and oxygen for 148 million Louisianans. With all the benefits these forests provide, it is in the best interest of everyone to help these landowners recover quickly.

Growing, harvesting, and replanting trees is in the national interest of America’s forests products supply chain, rural economies, and environment. With hurricane season underway and catastrophic natural disasters at an all-time high, forest landowners must have economic certainty and a way to recover after a casualty loss of their timber.  The simple fix is to pass the Disaster Reforestation Act.

In addition to FLA, more than 35 other forestry and conservation organizations support fixing the tax treatment of timber casualty losses.


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