Forging Partnerships in Support of LogAbility

Maine AgrAbility is pleased to announce that Donald Burr, Safety and Training Coordinator for the Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine, is joining our Advisory Council.

Production agriculture in Maine includes working in the woods, in the fields, and on the ocean. Logging, farming, and fishing are all at the top of the list of the most dangerous occupations because they require working outside in the elements with mechanized equipment. We are happy to expand our reach into the logging industry with Burr, who worked as a logging contractor for over 20 years before taking the position with the PLC.

During his career as a feller buncher operator working on large forest tracts, he saw the logging industry evolve from chainsaw operations to large, mechanized equipment. He also witnessed the embrace of GPS technology, which he describes as “revolutionizing work in the woods,” making the whole operation safer and much more efficient.

The Mission of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine

Mission number one is safety. PLC provides safety courses across the state in the spring of the year. In 2016, PLC expanded its mission to include training a new generation of logging contractors on mechanized equipment. Burr developed a curriculum for mechanized logging operation (MLOP),  that’s taught at Northern Maine Community College (NMCC).

Logging is one of the most dangerous occupations. MLOP coursework teaches students to develop good habits,  to pay attention to what’s happening around them, and to be safe around large equipment. Students learn how to run the equipment, maintain it, and how to fix it safely.  The focus is always on the prevention of accidents and injuries: knowing where the danger is and avoiding it. Burr stresses that something as simple as walking through the woods can present hazards.

So far, NMCC is the only school where the program is available, but other schools have expressed interest and Burr expects the program will expand to other locations over time.

Welcome to the Maine AgrAbility Advisory Council, Donald Burr!