While attending the American Loggers Council Spring Board meeting in 2004 and after a long day of congressional visits and long walks to the Russell Senate building, ALC leaders recognized that help from the nation’s capitol might be slow in coming to the rescue for a challenged timber harvesting industry.
After observing some of the well established organizations such as the United Electrical Workers and the American Cattlemen Association strategizing and working their agendas on the hill, I realized that we, the loggers, were relatively new to this arena and that it might take some time to make meaningful gains for the industry with our policy makers.
But to a small group of Louisiana loggers, another thought emerged from a long day of meetings and door knocking. The idea of a purchasing group or a cooperative that could provide more immediate financial relief came out of those discussions and the Louisiana loggers went home and acted on starting a Loggers Cooperative.
Back home in Louisiana the idea started with a conversation with the members of the Louisiana Loggers Council and continued until the kitchen table of Clyde and Mary Todd became the first office for the Southern Loggers Cooperative and the Winnfield Fueling station became the start up location for the Cooperative for fuel distribution. The cooperative was formed under the provisions of Louisiana revised statute 3.71 and is owned by its members with nine original members providing the origination monies and the Articles of Association were signed by Fox McKeithen, Secretary of State, on October 15, 2004.
From the very start, the growth of the Southern Loggers Cooperative has been consistent in adding two to three fuel stations each year while negotiating annual fuel contracts to serve a growing membership that currently exceeds 1100 agriculture and forestry members.
In 2008 tires were added to the product lines and now SLC offers savings on several brands of tires, including retread tires.
In 2010 the office was moved from rented office space to a newly renovated office purchased and located in Pineville, LA. SLC now has a staff of five full time employees and one part time employee to provide member services and provide daily maintenance.
Currently, sixteen fuel stations are in operation from Texas to Virginia with average daily transactions between 700 and 800 fuel purchases of 60,000 to 70,000 gallons of fuel daily. Two new fuel stations in Chillicothe, OH and Georgetown, SC are in the works, and sites have been leased or purchased for both locations and construction is scheduled to begin in early 2012.
With leadership from the logging, trucking and timber industry, the Southern Loggers Cooperative continues the mission of serving its members with savings on consumable products that we use every day. According to Executive Director Clyde Todd, our mission is “cutting the cost of doing business for the agricultural, logging and timber businesses.” Under the guidance of SLC President Dave Cupp of Walsh Timber Co., patronage dividends to SLC members in 2009 and 2010 exceeded one million dollars.
The idea raised by Louisiana loggers during the American Loggers Council meeting in 2004 about the potential buying power of loggers has been acted on yet we have just started to scratch the surface of cost cutting opportunities. Together loggers and all members have come together to leverage buying power through the Southern Loggers Cooperative and we continue to look for ways to bring those savings to your area.
From a logger’s perspective, Washington D. C. oftentimes appears to be a ten square mile zone of confusion and an often non navigable swamp of public policy. The most important issues of transportation laws and regulations, new and developing markets, public timber availability, forest certification, and clean water must be addressed by leaders of the logging industry and the American Loggers Council continues to serve to meet that challenge.
While it is highly important that we remain focused on federal policies that impact all of our operations, the importance of communications and ideas that can be taken back to your state or regional association proves to be a valuable tool as well. If you are not engaged with your State Association or the American Loggers Council, we encourage you to do so. Working together, we can all make a difference. Now that’s something to think about!
The Southern Loggers Cooperative mission is to reduce the costs of supplies for the membership, enhance the common interest of the forest industry, and insure the integrity of the membership and all associates remain constant an positive. Their offices are located in Pineville, Louisiana. For more information, visit their website at www.southernloggers.com or contact Clyde Todd at 318-445-0750.
The American Loggers Council represents professional timber harvesters in 30 states across the US. For more information, visit their web site at www.americanloggers.org or contact their office at 409-625-0206.