Precautions Ensure Productivity

Two 18-wheelers, loaded with logs, leaving a logging site. A man wearing a hardhat and orange shirt in front of trees. Two men wearing hard hats standing in front of an orange logging truck. An empty, orange log hauler rolling across the cleared field as a woman wearing a hardhat looks on. A man sitting in the cab of a tree logger in a cleared field. A man wearing a hardhat standing in front of a tractor.
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Mississippi’s 2022 Outstanding Logger of the Year celebrates safety record 

Story by Leah Barbour • Photos by Kevin Hudson

In an industry where every piece of equipment can seriously hurt the operators and crew, one Mississippi logging company has not recorded an accident during more than 40 years of operation, from Brandon to Gulfport.

Timberline Trucking/D&R Logging LLC received the 2022 Outstanding Logger of the Year award for Mississippi. This deserving business with its incredible safety record was started in 1982 by co-owners and brothers-in-law David Harvison and Randy McInnis. When McInnis’s son, Dillon McInnis, reached adulthood, he joined the business as a timber buyer. Now, the family-owned and -operated business is being recognized and celebrated for its safety record and efficiency over decades of logging Mississippi forests.

Safety on the job site is one of the top criteria in selecting the Logger of the Year, awarded by the Mississippi Forestry Association in partnership with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. One of the top reasons Timberline Trucking/D&R Logging LLC has maintained a perfect safety record for two generations is the staff, Dillon McInnis emphasizes. The co-owners agree.

“We make sure we hire people who will pay attention to what they’re doing, and we have a very good crew,” Harvison explains. “They all know what to do. This is a dangerous, dangerous job, and we’ve got to make sure they aren’t hurt. Safety is a priority.”

Randy McInnis says maintaining his business’s safety record is a family priority.

“One of us (in the family) is on the job site every day,” he shares. “We watch everything that’s going on, so we see things before they happen. It helps prevent accidents. We have radios on all our equipment.”

“We take pride in our communication,” Dillon McInnis agrees. “Our CB radios help aid us in efficient communication, and we have monthly safety meetings covering a wide variety of topics.”

Since they began logging, the equipment used to harvest trees has changed significantly, Harvison explains, which presents its own set of challenges.

“The cost of insurance has driven a lot of change, and we’ve changed as the equipment has improved,” he says. “As things change, we need to change with them. We almost never crank up chainsaws now, and that was the main way people were hurt. As the industry changes, we change, too.”

Timberline Trucking/D&R Logging LLC uses modern equipment featuring the industry’s leading safety features, and workers for the business stay up to date with best practices by participating in continuing education credit hours in logging management.

MSU Extension offers several annual opportunities for Mississippi loggers to earn their required contact hours as part of the Mississippi Professional Logging Manager Program. To maintain qualified status, each logger must earn 12 hours of continuing education credits every 2 years.

As 2022 closed, Timberline Trucking/D&R Logging LLC listed a total of 34 completed contact hours, set to be valid through December 1, 2024.

For the owners, keeping the operation safe, from the timber-harvesting site to its transport across the state, remains the top priority.

“We’re supporting 11 families with this business,” Randy McInnis emphasizes. “We have a responsibility to make sure that no one gets hurt, and we have a very good crew. They know what to do and how to do it right.”

Farmweek, November 2022, announces Logger of the Year Timberline Trucking/D&R Logging LLC

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A Black man with glasses wearing a blue and yellow striped tie, a blue dress jacket, and khakis, standing on a deck in front of a tree.