Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

Logging industry receives $200M in new COVID relief bill

Dec 29, 2020 06:15AM ● By Editor

Photo: KBJR-TV

By John Cardinale of KBJR-TV - December 28, 2020

It's been a tough year for many industries, including logging across Northern Minnesota.

"With the Verso mill shutting down, it's been a whirlwind for the past 8 or 9 months. We always were a contractor for Verso so that hurt us," said Taylor DeLack, Vice President of DeLack Logging.

DeLack Logging operates in Little Fork, Minnesota. DeLack said the shutdown of softwood papermills like VERSO dented his family's business.

"We had a whole bunch of our spruce to go down there. We lost out on a whole bunch of revenue because after they closed the door there was nowhere to go."

But now, there is a glimpse of hope on the way.

On Sunday night, President Trump signed the new coronavirus relief bill.

It includes $200 million to go towards the logging industry. But Ray Higgins with the Minnesota Timber Producers Association said the money is not accessible to everyone.

"In the legislation, you have to prove at least a 10% loss in 2020 over 2019," said Higgins.

For those that qualify, Higgins said the money is beneficial.

"A lot of folks were very heavily impacted. I know a lot of folks had to end up selling equipment, downsize their business, and lay employees off. So, there is a heavy impact. But frankly, we won't know the impact for a while yet."

The impact may not be totally measurable because the logging industry logs 2/3 of its timber between December and March, a time last year in which the pandemic was not going on.

"So financially it will be more of an impact this spring. In the spring we always kept our truck drivers busy holding a couple of loads to Duluth so we always had cash coming in," said DeLack.

The bill signed also includes millions for the timber sale program in National forests like the Superior and Chippewa national forests.

To watch a video version of this story and read related reporting, follow this link to the KBJR-Tv website.

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here