Angie Bonner sets a fast pace for Louisiana Logging Council
By James Ronald Skains
Angie Bonner, right, is first woman to head LLC. She works with logger
husband, Frank, in woods operations.
"We are loggers by choice not by circumstances," Angie Bonner told the Piney Woods Journal. "I know that traditionally, most loggers in Louisiana are family operations passed down generationally."
"However, my husband Frank, got an opportunity to be around a logging operation at an early age. He was very impressed to the point that from then on all he wanted to be was a logger. After we were married, I admired his work as a logger. It was very interesting to be the wife of a logger. After our children were grown, I became more active in the logging businesss."
Becoming more active in the logging business she did. When the Journal talked by phone with Angie Bommer, she was in the woods on the Fort Polk reservation running a thinning crew. Not only is Angie active in the woods as a logger but also active in issues facing all loggers in the state as President of the Louisiana Loggers Council.
Angie not only got involved with the Louisiana Loggers Council, first as an Area Director, then Vice-President, then President but she also attended the annual American Loggers Council (ALC) Washington, DC fly-in in March of 2017 to meet with various Congressmen and Senators.
"Making the American Logging Council trip to Washington, DC was certainly a learning experience for me," Angie pointed out. "I really enjoyed the trip. The ALC with Danny Dructor does a lot of hard work to advance the loggers in this country."
"Later in September, I was able to attend the American Logging Council annual meeting held in Natchez, Mississippi in 2017. That was truly a great experience. Also, it was an eye-opener to all the things the ALC is doing to help the logging industry in our country."
"I got started in the La Logging Council almost by accident," Angie informed the Journal. "A friend told me that our area group of loggers needed a chairperson to hold quarterly meetings to make it easier for all master loggers to obtain the six annual hours of continuing education they needed."
"I knew that I could do that. Later, I became our Area Director, a member of the Council Board of Directors, and then when the Council needed a Vice-President when Jack McFaland was President, I moved up to the Vice President. It was nice to work with Jack who has gone on to be a real voice for the logging and forest industry in the Louisiana State legislature as well as a strong voice all of rural Louisiana."
"As President of the Council, I want to bring more attention to the great role that logging plays in the Louisiana economy. The forest industry generates more money that any other Agriculture crop in Louisiana. If you don't keep people informed as to the real important role forestry and logging plays in the local economy, people tend to forget and problems begin to arise. Most local issues affecting loggers are road permits and the threat of permits being required to log tracts of land."
"One of the first things I did as I got more involved in Bonner Logging was to get my own Master Logger card," Angie noted. "I was amazed how much loggers are environmentalistS. We protect our trees and try to make sure the land is left in good shape for future growth of trees."
"I think that loggers and the Louisiana Logging Council should take advantage of every opportunity to tout our businessess and its importance in the Louisiana economy. Since I've been involved, we have had displays at the West Louisiana Forestry Festival held in Vernon Parish."
"We also did a little fund-raiser with a "Guess the Weight" of a loaded log truck. We donated to proceeds to the Children's Miracle Network at St. Frances Cabrini in Alexandria. Another thing we did at the Festival was to pass out coloring books to kids. The coloring books are awesome tools for children to get to know a little about what loggers really do out in the woods."
"I want the Logging Council to have a presence at as many events as possible around the state," Angie added. "There are many parish fairs as well as the big State Fair in Shreveport in October."
"If we get out more in the public, the more well known our industry will become. One of the major problems is that so many of the legislators in Louisiana represent urban areas that know little or nothing about our industry. The first thing these urban legislators do in trying to fix the Louisiana budget is to take a knife to the Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Then they want to cut the few tax breaks that loggers do get."
"We have more trees growing than ever before in Louisiana. We need to make sure we have markets for the timber we harvest. This is very important to the future of the logging industry because if the younger generations can not see where they can thrive financially being a logger, they are going into another industry."
"Our son has been working with us since he graduated from high school," Angie said proudly."We hope that he will see the potential of continuing in the logging industry and become a second generation logger."
"We recently split our operations into two crews. Our son works with his Dad on one crew and I'm trying to take care of the other job which is here at Fort Polk. We work for Bennett Timber located in DeRidder. They handle all our trucking which is a great relief. Most of our timber goes to Martco and PCA."
"You might say that my husband and I like Tigercat equipment because all our equipment is Tigercat,'' Angie explained. "We have two shears, 3 loaders, 2 skidders and a Delimbinator."
"After my husband and I got married, I began to meet some of his friends who were loggers. I found out that many were second and third generation loggers and I would hear about families who had been logging for four generations. I couldn't quite fathom how families could it seemed eagerly carry on the logging operations from one generation to another."
"Once I began to get out in the woods on logging jobs, I quickly began to understand the call of the logging woods," Angie said in closing. "It is truly an awesome experience that I don't want to end anytime soon."