U.S. logger urges prairie residents to take charge of policy debates

Bruce Vincent has probably given his speech dozens of times, but he still tears up when the audience really “gets” his message.

The American logger and motivational speaker earned a standing ovation after he addressed the Sask-atchewan Beef Industry Conference Jan. 21 in Regina and urged producers to be advocates for their industry and the new leaders of the environmental movement. He gave a similar speech a day later at the annual Tiffin Lecture in Lethbridge.

People are ready for leaders who base their beliefs on hope, science, education and resolution, Vincent said.

“And the new movement can be led by rural people because we live too close to the ground to pretend,” he said.

Vincent said he is a third-generation logger, but Vincent Logging of Libby, Montana, is a victim of a society that decided chainsaws were not part of its vision of the forest.

The company’s logging equipment has been modified to fight forest fires, which Vincent said are now managing forests full of fuel. The fires burn so hot that the clay soil is being fired into ceramics, he added.

Vincent doesn’t fault people for loving rural environments, but he said their reality is far from the truth.

“They fall in love with what they think we are,” he said.

They want to save the “last best parts” of Canada and the United States, but there is a flaw in their thinking: “There’s no provision in it for the last best people.”

Vincent urged beef producers to pay attention to the three things the timber industry learned in its struggle against environmental activism.

  • Democracy works but isn’t a spectator sport, he said. He encouraged producers to get involved in local politics and make their support for certain people and positions known. He said producers can’t ask leaders for help if they aren’t willing to give their help in return.
  • Leaders will follow when people lead. He said fewer political leaders understand the cattle business, and producers should be defining their own issues and positions.
  • The world is run by those who show up. Meetings are held every day that producers could attend to talk about their industry and their truth.

karen.briere@producer.com

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