Jim Scheff, 2014 Logger of Year and UPM Master Logger lives and works in the forests of northern Minnesota.
A man of few words, Jim Scheff shares his experiences in a relaxed manner over lunch at a roadside café. His deep connection to the forest and what he sees on a daily basis as a lifelong logger defines his approach to biodiversity.
“It’s simple really… it’s a healthy forest when wildlife thrives and families can earn a living from the land. But achieving that goal takes a lot of planning and hard work.
When I was 15 years old I rented a skidder and ran it on my Dad’s property, and a year later, I ‘rented to purchase’ a 1965 215 Timber Jack cable skidder. I bought a federal timber sale, cut the trees with my chainsaw and moved the trees by cable to the landing.
My business has changed a lot over the past 38 years. I now have over 20 full time employees and own a lot of expensive and complex equipment. As a Master Logger and a UPM Blandin supplier, I attend annual training focused on sustainable forest management and biodiversity, and participate in third party audits of my worksites. In addition, my brother and I audit our jobs and have specific checklists for our harvest sites to ensure we comply with company and landowner objectives.
When I walk through the forest I appreciate having a ‘light foot’ on the land to prevent soil compaction and erosion. I see the diversity of plant life as essential to wildlife. And I know that the more forest diversity we have, the healthier and more productive the forest will be – that is crucial to a logger.
Our crews are incredible – they work hard and are very good at what they do. We meet at 5:30 am in our shop to plan the day’s jobs, check the weather, and remind the crews of safety practices and harvest procedures. My brother David and I set them on the right track. We take our work seriously as good stewards of the land and our employees know if they don’t follow the guidelines, they won’t have a job… and we won’t have a business.”