COVID Forestry Update - March 31, 2020

Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2020

Special News Update - March 31, 2020
COVID-19 

On behalf of all Texas Forestry Association members, we want to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to Texas’ leadership in keeping Texans safe and healthy in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. As you know, the Forest Products industry supplies basic necessities ranging from diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, paper cups and plates to panels, lumber, transmission poles, pallets and packaging used to transport over 90% of all goods, foods, and medical supplies so desperately needed during these critical times.

We wholeheartedly agree with and endorse the federal guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security entitled “Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response” which includes the forestry industry, transportation, and materials in its list of critical industries that are recommended to remain operational in the event of any shelter-in-place order. In this situation, it is critical not only to keep our manufacturing assets operational (such as pulp and paper, lumber, transmission poles, and pallet mills), but other integral parts of the forest products supply chain such as our logging and trucking force that keep the manufacturers supplied with raw materials and stores stocked with products. 

TFA also appreciates Texas Department of Agriculture’s Commissioner Sid Miller for issuing a “TDA Agriculture Critical Infrastructure” for all sectors of Texas Agriculture. (AGRICULTURE CODE, TITLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS, CHAPTER 2. STATE AGRICULTURAL POLICY, Sec. 2.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter, "agriculture" means: (1) the cultivation of the soil to produce crops; (2) horticulture, floriculture, or viticulture; (3) forestry; or (4) the raising or keeping of livestock or poultry.)     

Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response. Version 1.0 (March 19, 2020) 

THE IMPORTANCE OF ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) executes the Secretary of Homeland Security’s responsibilities as assigned under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to provide strategic guidance, promote a national unity of effort, and coordinate the overall federal effort to ensure the security and resilience of the Nation's critical infrastructure. In accordance with this mandate, and in collaboration with other federal agencies and the private sector, CISA developed an initial list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” to help State and local officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.

IDENTIFYING ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

·       Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products

·       Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution

Transportation and Logistics

·       Manufacturers and distributors (to include service centers and related operations) of packaging materials, pallets, crates, containers, and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging and distribution operations 

Since Governor Abbott has left shelter-in-place designation to local county and city officials, we are providing you with the following documentation for your personal use and for distribution to local officials should you need it:  

Rob Hughes
Executive Director
(936) 632-8733
rhughes@texasforestry.org