On Friday, July 7, Georgia Forestry Association (GFA) members, Earl and Wanda Barrs, welcomed esteemed members of the national and local forestry community to address key issues impacting Georgia’s forestry industry.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt traveled from Washington, D.C. to Gully Branch Tree Farm in Cochran, Georgia located in the center of the most productive wood basket in the world. Secretary Perdue and Administrator Pruitt sought input from over 60 forest landowners on how to grow the forest economy. The group celebrated the $32.2 billion annual economic impact from Georgia’s forest industry in 2015 from 24.7 million acres of forestland.
“We are very encouraged Secretary Perdue and Administrator Pruitt took the time to visit one of Georgia’s premier working forests and listen directly to landowners and stakeholders from Georgia’s forestry community,” said GFA President Villegas. “The visit serves as a proof point the Administration is focused on enhancing the forestry economy in the United States.”
President Villegas opened the meeting with locally focused facts recognizing Georgia as the number one forestry state in the nation. Villegas referenced the Association’s three core principles which have served as the foundation of growth of forestry in Georgia and are vital as it looks to optimizing the industry’s potential.
“One of GFA’s core principles is sensible taxes and regulations, it was very refreshing to hear Administrator Pruitt’s common sense approach to energy, air, and water regulation to allow Georgia’s forest economy to grow”, said GFA President and CEO Andres Villegas.
The Georgia Forestry Association will continue to be the leading advocate for a healthy business and political climate for Georgia’s forest environment, forest landowners, and forest-based businesses. Click HERE for further information on the Association’s position statements regarding top matters that arise throughout the year.