Loggers in Northeast Florida learned about the latest forestry machine technologies, experienced John Deere Forestry equipment and enjoyed a traditional low country boil lunch during the Beard Equipment In the Woods event on February 23. An all-day event, In the Woods put loggers back into their working environment, but with a focus on furthering education and honing business skills to improve their operations.
Educational sessions were presented by John Deere Forestry product experts and covered a wide range of topics, including: the newest machine technologies, emissions standards requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and how they affect machine design, and new equipment solutions that help owners and operators manage fleets more efficiently.
“We worked closely with John Deere to design In the Woods to be all about the loggers,” said Garlon Rainey, general sales manager, Beard Equipment Company. “We know their time is extremely valuable, so every component of this event was included to enhance their industry knowledge and business skills and really make it worth their while to step away from their operations for a few hours.”
Loggers who attended all sessions received Business Management CLE Hours toward accreditation to becoming a Florida Master Logger or Georgia Master Timber Harvester.
Florida Forestry Association representatives were on-site to administer certificates to loggers who qualified for these hours toward program completion, which is designed to enhance the professionalism of loggers through training in safety, timber harvesting, business and environmental regulations.
John Deere experts also presented a step-by-step service clinic on how to properly maintain skidders to ensure maximum productivity, greater uptime and low daily operating costs. The session broke down maintenance by hours run and covered the service schedules for oils, fluids, parts review and more. After the work session, groups were taken on machine walk-arounds and shown demonstrations on how to easily identify service locations on the John Deere 648H Skidder and properly maintain the equipment. These groups then rotated to a John Deere 643K Wheeled Feller Buncher and John Deere 333D Skid Steer as part of the machine service review.
“It’s important that loggers not only know how to run their equipment efficiently but also how to service them properly so that they’re able to cut down on unnecessary repairs and replacements,” said Keith Wilson, forestry training instructor, John Deere Construction & Forestry. “We love getting out in the woods with loggers and talking with them about their daily challenges and successes – it helps us do a better job of designing powerful, productive machines that work as hard as they do.”
The event concluded with a live demonstration of the equipment and ride-and-drive opportunities for attendees to run the machines themselves.