In this Ask the Expert, Steven Koehn, Director of Cooperative Forestry with the U.S. Forest Service, answers questions about the Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers Program (PATHH). PATHH, a part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, will provide up to $200 million in financial relief to timber harvesting and timber hauling businesses that experienced losses in 2020 due to COVID-19. Signup for PATHH began late July and continues through Oct. 15, 2021.
As Director of Cooperative Forestry, Steve is responsible for plans, programs, and policies that enhance and promote forestry on state and private lands. He is the previous Director and State Forester for the Maryland Forest Service.
What impact has the pandemic had on loggers and log truckers?
Logging and log trucking businesses were severely impacted by the pandemic throughout the country because of slowdowns and shutdowns with forest products, decrease in commercial paper demand, and other factors associated with the severe economic uncertainty.
Who is eligible for PATHH?
PATHH supports logging and log trucking businesses that experienced a loss of at least 10% gross revenue from January 1 through December 1, 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.
Additional eligibility requirements include deriving at least 50% of gross revenue from cutting timber, hauling timber, and/or producing wood chips on forest land during the above time periods and confirmation of North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes, among others. Visit farmers.gov/pathh for a full list of program eligibility requirements.
How are PATHH payments calculated?
PATHH payments will be based on your gross revenue received from January 1, 2019, through December 1, 2019, minus gross revenue received from January 1, 2020, through December 1, 2020, multiplied by 80%.
Businesses will receive an initial payment of up to $2,000. In addition to the initial payment, a final payment may be made after the signup period closes. The sum of both payments is limited to $125,000. Your final payment may be reduced if total demand exceeds the $200 million that Congress allocated for the program.
How do loggers and log truckers apply?
Logging and log trucking businesses will work directly with the Farm Service Agency at their local USDA Service Center to apply for PATHH. If you are new to working with the Farm Service Agency please be assured that the staff is prepared to make your application process as easy as possible.
Visit farmers.gov/service-locator to find your local office. We recommend calling first for information about the program, eligibility requirements, and how to apply. You may also contact our call center at 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer support.
PATHH applications will be accepted through October. 15, 2021. Visit farmers.gov/pathh for more information.
How has the U.S. Forest Service worked with the Farm Service Agency to implement PATHH?
The U.S. Forest Service helped the Farm Service Agency develop key aspects of the program. We engaged with logging and log trucking businesses to better understand the impact of the pandemic on their businesses and the forest products sector. We also worked closely with logging associations and technical experts to identify the most reliable documentation for applicants to most efficiently demonstrate eligibility without experiencing a significant paperwork burden. We have worked with the National Association of State Foresters, Intertribal Timber Council, American Logging Council, and the Forest Resources Association to reach as many potential applicants as possible.
Why should logging and log trucking businesses apply for PATHH?
The COVID-19 pandemic hit logging and log trucking businesses especially hard. This is a first of its kind program for USDA to deliver direct financial assistance to logging and log trucking businesses, which are critical parts of the forest products supply chain, key to retaining rural jobs, and are essential to helping manage public and private forests.
Is it worth my time to apply?
Absolutely. We’ve minimized the paperwork burden for this program, and you will receive an immediate first payment once your application is approved.
What if I don’t have documentation showing that my business falls under the NAICS code of 113310, 484220, or 484230 and/or I have not filed IRS Form 2290. Can I still apply for PATHH?
Yes. Applicants who either do not have an eligible NAICS code on their tax return or other documents may provide alternate documentation to support their application as a timber harvester and/or timber hauler. Additionally, timber haulers who did not file an IRS Form 2290 may provide alternate documentation to support their certifications as a timber hauler. Examples of alternate documentation can be found at farmers.gov/pathh/faq.
Dana Rogge is a public affairs specialist with USDA. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.