Fall 2000: Jerry HartlineArk Pro Logger is the name of Arkansas
Doddridge, Arkansas Logger Jerry HartlineFeatured in the Fall 2000 issue of Ark Pro Logger magazine
If Variety is the Spice of LifeJerry Hartline's
Multifaceted Business Approach is Pure Zest
Sitting in on a meeting of the Arkansas Timber Producers Association
is most likely very similar to just about any other "meeting of the minds" in the industry.Of course, the issues may vary slightly as do the personalities, but the conversation is as lively and the debate is as equally important to anyone involved in this profession we call logging.
Doddridge, AR logger Jerry Hartline
rarely misses a meeting yet his
presence is not always so obvious - that is until it really counts.Make no mistake, though fairly quiet at times, Hartline
is taking it all in.And when there is pause and an obvious need for some sensibility on a subject, someone calls out, "Jerry
, what do you think?"And the room goes quiet and everyone listens.That's because Hartline
is well-versed in the industry, respected by peers and has a reputation as a true innovator who has managed to remain "diverse" and subsequently successful in a very unpredictable business.
Case in point.His
business, Hartline Farm & Timber
, is just that ... farm and timber.Take a walk on the 400 acres he
shares with wife Sharon and his
brother, and you get a feel for their diverse interests.Stands of timber here, herds of cattle there, and throw in some catfish ponds for good measure and what Hartline hopes, good retirement "recreating" when fully revitalized."I turned 56 last month and I have to start thinking about how I want to spend my leisure years," says Hartline laughing."We're having some cabins built down by the ponds so we can entertain friends and family now, and then I can entertain myself when I leave the business world behind," he
has been logging for more than twenty two years.He entered the business buying timber part time for suppliers while working as a supervisor for a furniture manufacturing plant.
"Then I started buying equipment and began logging for myself," he
says, adding, "the business evolved from there."
Located just a stone's throw from the Louisiana and Texas lines, Hartline
crew operate in all three states.He
is lauded as being one of the few loggers who can successfully and efficiently tackle even the softest and saturated ground conditions, without compromising the principles of good stewardship.So adept at logging in these environments, Hartline
has been featured in both Southern Loggin' Times
(May 1998) and Timber Harvesting
(April 1998) magazines on the subject of wet site harvesting.In both articles, Hartline
has been quoted as describing his
transcendence into harvesting on wet grounds as "enhancing the window of opportunity" by accessing prime timber that otherwise would not be accessible a good portion of the year.And his
window opened even wider this year when Hartline
started running a hog-fuel operation behind his
large logging jobs."We recognized a distinct need and a chance to further diversify," says Hartline
ability to seize an opportunity underpins the success of his
many years logging, Hartline's
business has evolved from conventional operations with conventional equipment to innovative harvesting system and equipment changes that improve flotation and minimize soil disturbance.In addition to using wet site logging-specific equipment such as tracked machines and high flotation tire configurations, Hartline added a Timberjack 735 shovel machine in 1998.Used in concert with a stroke delimber, Hartline
can operate fairly efficiently in very wet conditions at times other loggers have to take a weather-related hiatus.While considered a costly investment, this equipment, says Hartline
, extends his
ability to work a wet site from 5 to nearly 11 months out of the year.
Although wet site logging is considered a niche harvesting business, wet weather has impacted a number of operations over the last couple of years - a factor often attributed to El Niño.Hartline's example is at the very least an essential "how-to" on the subject, if not a necessary model of success.His
company is one of two that began work in 1998 with Timberjack and International Paper's Applied Technology
and Research Division
based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to develop and study shovel applications.
With International Paper's help, Hartline
visited shoveling operations in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest.
From these trips, Hartline
recognized the importance of preparing his
crews in advance to adopt new changes He
own crew members to see a Timco shovel operation in southern Louisiana so they could see first-hand how it worked and the premise behind its use.When the shovel arrived on the job, Hartline's crew was already up to speed.His
purchase of a Petersen 2400 Waste-Wood Recycler in January 2000 was yet another investment in Hartline's efforts to diversify.Together with a Timberjack 450 skidder, and a Caterpillar 312 B excavator and 36" grapple, Hartline's crew is able to provide a service and substantial cost savings to his
clients in his
"little corner of the world," specifically to IP's Texarkana papermill, the New Boston sawmill and the Jefferson OSB plant."Really it benefits everyone all around," says Hartline
."We are able to expand our own business opportunities while the company is able to obtain fuel and reduce costs associated with clean up and site prep."Hartline
says the public even benefits from the practice."Unfortunately the general public never really understood that slash left behind on a job could benefit the soil and often made sense from a conservation stance.They just thought it was unaesthetic," says Hartline adding, "Now we're able to grind slash along those sites that are in full view of the public, and what we leave behind really looks much more appealing."
Aesthetics is certainly an important component and principle of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative
(SFI), the program that launched Arkansas' logger education and training program.Hartline has been a strong advocate of the Ark Pro Logger initiative, serving on the statewide Logger Education & Training Council and assisting with the coordination of workshops in the Southwest part of the state.
"We are proud of this program because it forces us in a way to raise our own standards, and to improve how we conduct our operations," says Hartline
."That's important for the environment and public perception," he
adds.At the same time, Hartline
believes there should be an even playing field in that loggers who commit time, energy and resources to obtain training for themselves and their crew members, should not have to compete at the gates with loggers who are not fully trained.
It is perhaps Hartline's activism on these types of issues that has earned him considerable attention.In addition to serving on the Training Council, Hartline is a member of the Arkansas Forestry Association, the American Loggers Council and is current Vice President of the Arkansas Timber Producers Association.He
will succeed Steve Bolin in the position of ATPA President in August 2001.Not only an ATPA officer, Hartline
works on many of the organization's projects, including the now bi-annual regional logging equipment expo.He
has also been active in Arkansas' Log A Load for Kids program, an annual fundraising campaign supported by members of ATPA and the Arkansas Forestry Association
that benefits the patients treated at Arkansas Children's Hospital
and the newly-appointed Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery.
It is his
willingness to serve as an ambassador for the industry on many fronts, combined with his
astute business sense that earned Hartline
the title of Arkansas Logger of the Year in 1996 and a nomination for the Forest Resources Association's
South Central Logger of the Year in 1997.While he
didn't win the latter award, he
was proud to have been considered."A great logger, Joe Cherry, was selected for the award that year and he's
now President of the American Loggers Council
, so I guess you could say I was in very good company," says Hartline
With all this activity, Hartline
jokingly notes, "when do I have time to log!"In truth, he
involvement, and the involvement of every logger, is necessary to the future of the industry.That is why he
devotes so much time and energy on issues of importance. 'We were very successful in gaining a tax exemption on new and used logging equipment and attachments during the last legislative session," something Hartline
says benefits all loggers and their operations, whether big or small."Now our goal is to get forestry designated as agriculture so we can get a full exemption on parts."Hartline
believes it takes a collective voice to advance the causes associated with the industry.That's why he
is so a