For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, Maine loggers will be getting some help from a COVID-19 relief package.

It's great news for Maine's timber harvesters and haulers who have, up to this point, not been included in all the federal aid that's helped Maine businesses. The aid is part of the approved $900 billion dollar COVID-19 relief package, and will go to timber harvesting and hauling businesses that have experienced a loss of not less than 10 percent in gross revenue during 2020, compared to last year.

The businesses have been hard hit by the pandemic, with most contractors reporting a 30-40% reduction in wood markets this year, resulting in severe revenue losses, layoffs, loss of clients, and reduced productivity. All this for an industry that contributed an estimated $619 million to the Maine economy in 2017 and supported more than 9,000 jobs, according to the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine.

"At no prior time in our nation's history have loggers been offered formal support and relief from our nation's government." Dana Doran, Executive Director of the PLC of Maine said in a media release. "Loggers and truckers need the same help and recognition farmers and fishermen have received since the pandemic began, now at long last they are getting it."

The PLC of Maine announced this week that $200 million in aid will benefit timber harvesters and haulers, crediting Maine lawmakers who worked to make it possible, including U.S. Senator Susan Collins, U.S. Representative Jared Golden, as well as Senator Angus King and Representative Chellie Pingree.

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