-by NHLA Chief Inspector, Mr. Dana Spessert
Before the formation of the National Hardwood Lumber Association, the wood industry was very unorganized and fractured. The goal and purpose of NHLA were to create and maintain a consistent, meaningful way of trading hardwood lumber by creating a standard grading system.
The wood industry has two distinct and separate wood types, softwood and hardwood. In the 1920s, the U.S. Commerce Secretary held a meeting of the wood products industry and made a few decisions based on the discussions about the different uses for each wood species. During these meetings, some significant decisions were made. The first decision was to develop the formation of the American Lumber Standards Committee to oversee all softwood grading. The second was the decision to allow the hardwood industry to continue to utilize the NHLA Rules, making NHLA the keeper of the Rules.
The decision by the federal government to allow the hardwood industry to oversee its own Rules has been a great success. It continues to allow the hardwood industry to adjust the Rules to accommodate changes in the markets.
One of the most important reasons to be a member of NHLA is to be involved in the Rules change process. Only members of the Association can submit Rules changes, and only an Active category member can vote to change a Rule.
This year, 2021, is a Rules change voting year. A ballot will be mailed to each Active member company to be filled out with a Yes or No vote on the seven Rules changes that came out of the Rules Committee meeting. The act of voting on these Rules changes is one of the most crucial things that our members can do, and I would like to urge everyone that receives a ballot to please vote and return your ballot within the 30 days allotted for the vote.
The results of the Rules vote will be announced after the voting has ended. The changes will be included in the 2023 version of the NHLA Rules Book and will go into effect on January 1, 2023.