Proposed Forester Licensing in Massachusetts

mcour at mcour at
Wed Jun 3 14:50:55 EST 1998

In article <35757271.B8A96C9 at>,
  Joseph Zorzin <redoak at> wrote:
> mcour at wrote:
> >
> > As I understand the summary of the MA law, it would give landowners a
> > between liscensed and unliscensed foresters.  This is far better than most
> > liscensing laws which gives liscensees a monopoly on the business.
> >
> If only it were that simple. There is nothing in the law that defines an
> "unlicensed forester". Everybody qualifies. So the choice is between
> licensed foresters and ANYBODY to do forestry. Name another profession
> that has such a dumb rule.
> And give me one good reason why the licensing shouldn't have a monopoly.
> Anyone who is qualified to do the work only has to get the license.
> That's what licensing is all about.
> Is there such a thing as a unlicensed lawyer? doctor? barber? garbage
> collector? nurse? teacher?

You can teach in any (public or private) College or University in the state of
Ohio and in any private school without a liscense.  Liscensing of public
school teachers keeps out only the worst, but it also provides monopolistic
job security to a lot of mediocre teachers when there are better teachers
available who don't happen to have liscenses and don't want to jump through
the hoops to meet the extensive requirements of getting a liscense.

You also need no liscense to practice engineering in Ohio.

> A profession isn't a profession until society grants that group a
> license.

Gee, I hope that doesn't mean my wife has to give back her salary as a
research scientist at the Cleveland Clinic and I hope I don't have to give
back my engineering salary.

Liscensing is usually pushed by established interests in the field who want to
make it difficult for new players to enter who might be able to do the job
better, more inexpensively, or both.  As such, much "professional liscensing"
is anti-competitive.

For example, in Summit County (Ohio) you need a liscense to sell firewood.
The liscense costs around $100 per year.  Now suppose I only have $1000 worth
of firewood to sell.  I have to spend 10% of my annual revenue on liscensing.
This puts me at a distinct competitive disadvantage to established firewood
businesses who only spend 0.1% of their annual revenue on firewood liscensing.

Another example:  THe state of Ohio is currently refusing to grant my wife and
I a home canning liscense, even though it grants home canning liscenses to
others.  Our home has the same facilities and meets the same sanitation
requirements as the homes that are granted liscenses.  The rule is simply an
arbitrary decision made by a bureatcrat to protect established interests.  And
even if he does grant the liscense, the cost is $100 per year, which puts us
at a distinct competitive disadvantage to other canning businesses which are
doing higher volume.

My wife and I are starting a farm business, and we need a liscense at every
turn.  Firewood liscense: $100.  Canning liscense $100.  Food vendor liscense:
$40.  Food processing liscense: $100.  Transient vendor liscense (farmer's
markets) $40.  Summit County Vendor Liscense: $40.  Nursery liscense: $100.
Commercial registration of pickup truck: $120.  And on and on it goes.  If I
want to sell some corn to a neighbor to feed his livestock, I need another
liscense.  If I want to raise poultry and sell a few eggs, I need another
liscense.  I understand the "reasons" for requiring some of the liscensing:
food liscensing is for safety, nursery liscensing is to prevent spread of
plant diseases, vendor's liscensing makes sure you are collecting and paying
sales taxes.  However, the combined effect is rediculous and favors highly
specialized large businesses over diversied small businesses such as a family

> When you say a monopoly on the business- let's clarify this. I'm not
> saying loggers can't do their jobs. In fact in this state you CAN'T log
> without a loggers license. But those people who prepare the cutting
> plans (a form of environmental impact study) and those folks who prepare
> state forestry tax law management plans- it goes without saying- sure
> the hell ought to be graduate foresters with appropriate experience-
> hence licensing- but this law will allow a 10 year old child to prepare
> these state forestry tax law management plans.

Maybe and maybe not.  Suppose I am a large land owner who sells timber
every year and takes a keen interest in managing my forest and property.
After working side by side with a forester for several years, I could easily
be quite capable of filling out the form.  But you want a law that will force
me to keep paying a forester to do it, even if I a capable of doing it myself.

> And this refusal of society to allow foresters into the professional
> ranks

Hey, I'm a professional engineer with no liscense.  My wife is a professional
scientist with no liscense.  I could easily be a professional teacher with no
liscense.  The two foresters who I hired to consult on a timber sale were
professionals without liscenses.  You don't want a liscense to get into the
"professional ranks".  You want a liscensing law to keep your competition out
of the professional ranks.

Michael Courtney

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