The National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) congratulates Governor Sonny Perdue on his confirmation as Secretary of Agriculture. Secretary Perdue will be an important advocate for rural communities across America, in particular those that depend on private forests to support their local economies and way of life.

Today more than 2.4 million jobs depend on private working forests – forestland carefully managed by families and businesses to supply a steady and renewable supply of wood for lumber, energy, paper and packaging, and more than 5,000 items that consumers use every day. Most of these jobs are in rural communities, and protecting them begins with ensuring that working forests can survive and thrive.

“Private forests depend on strong markets for wood products. It must make economic sense for families and businesses to keep a working forest working,” said Dave Tenny, founding President and CEO of NAFO. “Private forest owners are grateful for Secretary Perdue’s leadership, and we look forward to a productive partnership focused on protecting working forests, growing rural economies, and supporting the good men and women who work the land.”

Trees are our country’s ultimate renewable resource. Wood can and should be used for everything from homes and tall buildings to renewable energy and consumer products. And as trees grow, they clean our air, clean our water, and provide abundant habitat for at-risk species.  

A policy framework that recognizes the value and far-reaching benefits of our nation’s forests will keep working forests intact, which is a win for both the environment and the economy. NAFO looks forward to working with Secretary Perdue to ensure that our nation’s working forests – and the communities they support – are able to thrive.