Forest Landowners Association: Going on the offensive

With a politically friendly administration and Congress, FLA embraces opportunity to shape agenda during the meeting of private forest landowners in Asheville.

By Pete Williams

With FLA holding its annual National Conference of Private Forest Landowners during a Republican administration for the first time since 2008, the mood was decidedly upbeat over the prospect of a favorable political climate and an economic upswing.

Though the stock market had soared and housing prices improved during the first four months of President Trump’s administration when FLA members gathered at the historic Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C., from May 31 through June 2, FLA leaders cautioned that lasting change will take time to develop.

“We’re in a unique position right now in that we have an opportunity to work with an administration that we haven’t seen before,” said FLA CEO Scott Jones. “In the last eight years it’s been difficult to see policy initiatives forwarded through Congress. We’ve had to play a lot of defense. Now we see the opportunities for expanded markets and favorable taxation that weren’t there for us before.”

FLA bolstered its lobbying efforts earlier this year with the hiring of top Washington firm VogelHood, which already has helped FLA get the ear of new White House officials.

The Trump administration’s commitment to free markets, regulatory reform and tax reform “line up very well” with what the Forest Landowners Association is trying to accomplish, said Alex Vogel, managing partner of VogelHood Group.

The White House “understands that our issues line up with theirs,” Vogel said. “We’re arming them with information and analysis to use us as an example of the role we can play in the economy.”

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