In the late 1960’s several forestry leaders prepared a project proposal that formed the Upper Great Lakes Timber Inc. Timber Inc. had a broad mandate to work on important forestry problems, using existing information. It was a demonstration project, not a research program.
Over the next several years, through 1971, over one hundred volunteers served on the Timber, Inc. projects. Logging equipment was tested in the field by loggers; small landowners were introduced to technical and cost sharing projects; and business problems were identified.
The high cost of workers’ compensation insurance, the need for improved relations with governmental leaders and support for forest by the public, emerged as the highest priority work. This lead to several organizations being formed.
1972 – The Michigan Association of Timbermen – a trade association was formed to represent forestry businesses. Additionally, the Michigan Forest Association to work on special needs of forest land owners who own and manage over 50 percent of our forests.
1974 – The Michigan Association of Timbermen formed their self-insurers’ fund – This was Michigan’s first self-insured group offering workers compensation insurance. It focused on forest product companies. This was a direct result of the successful legislative work by the Timber Inc. and Timbermen leaders.
Therefore, from the beginning a legislative and governmental affairs program was seen as a necessary initiative for forestry. Michigan became a model for others to follow as forestry expanded from less than 50,000 forestry employees in Michigan in 1970, to over 200,000 today.
In the 1980’s two additional programs were started to meet the needs of Michigan’s forest industry:
Public outreach – The Michigan Forest Resource Alliance (MFRA) was organized from the Timbermen Forest Action Committee. The MFRA has gone on to produce educational programs, forestry tours and award winning videos.
Full lines of business and personal lines of insurance – The Forest Insurance Center Agency, Inc. continues for Timbermen members and the general public, insurance programs to meet the needs of an expanded base of policy holders. The Forest Insurance Center Agency, Inc. builds on the reputation of the Timbermens’ group insurance programs for workers compensation and hospitalization coverages. Other important activities include the work done on the Storm Water Run-off program and the Wood Dust Monitoring project.
The Timber Inc. and Timbermen volunteers started programs that are continued today by many dedicated leaders and
Incorporated Michigan Association of Timbermen
Passage of P.A. 45 allowed group self-insurance
Organized the Michigan Association of Timbermen Self Insurers' Fund (MATSIF)
Hired first full time employees
Farm Plates allowed for logging trucks
Purchased Newberry Office Building
Loggers allowed to use diesel fuel tax discount
Started group program for property & casualty insurance
S.B. 1044 passed to form Loggers Fund
S.B. 255 defined the forest industry
H.B. 4359 extended to wood harvester plate
Loggers rate reduced to $10.90 by MATSIF
Timbermen entered legal defense of Loggers Fund
Stopped the Timber Volume Agreement
H.B. 4015-4017 extended Loggers Fund
H.B. 4960 exempts logging equipment from personal property tax
H.B. 5402 established the Forest Products Industry Development Council
Michigan Supreme Court supports Loggers Fund
H.B. 5534 allowed 140 miles hauling distance for sawdust
MATSIF formulates rates based on own experience
P.A. 41 Tie-Down Law for wood products
Started State Capitol Christmas Tree program
Truck convoy and return of County Road 569 to State Truckline system
Congress prohibits IRS from collecting 1981-86 taxes from self-insuring funds
Michigan-Wisconsin reciprocity agreement for trucks
Michigan Forest Resource Alliance (MFRA) formed
H.B. 5161 70 foot wood hauling trucks allowed
Established the Jess Birtcher Memorial Scholarship Fund
Initiated wood dust monitoring program
Group storm water permit program
Start-up of Forest Insurance Center
Agency, Inc. Countrywide green route system 0 5 road commissions
Dedicated the Sid Ouginga memorial Oak at Mitchell State Park
Extended the Forest Road Fund to 1998
S.B. 323 allows self-insuring funds to use Letters of Credit
Timbermen credit card program established
P.A. 187 adds $900,000 to State Forest
Timber Sale Program
Extended use of loggers plate for contract truckers
$1 Million added to DNR Timber Sale Program
Advisor to Logger Education to Advance
Professionalism (LEAP) Program
MAT’s Michigan Master Logger
Certification program template approved by the American Loggers Council.
Began partnership with Secura
Insurance offering membership dues reimbursement to new policy holders.
Partnership formed with Small Business Association of Michigan offering free dual membership to all current and new MAT members.