South Carolina Forestry Commission |
(Columbia, SC) - Timber buyers who do not pay landowners promptly are now subject to criminal arrest under a new South Carolina law. The new law, signed by the Governor on July 16, applies to all timber purchased on a per unit or pay-as-cut basis.
Under the new law, once a timber buyer receives any payment for wood purchased on a pay-as-cut basis, he must remit the landowner’s share for that timber within 45 days. After the 45 day deadline, buyers who ignore a written demand for payment are in violation of South Carolina criminal law.
Forestry officials say most mills pay their suppliers weekly for timber delivered during the previous week. In pay-as-cut transactions, the buyer receives his payment from the mill and then pays the landowner. The landowner’s share is based on the amount of timber actually delivered and documented by mill receipts.
Forestry Commission Chief Law Enforcement Officer Mike Maggard hailed the new law as a valuable tool to protect landowners from unscrupulous buyers. “Legitimate buyers are already in compliance,” said Maggard. “It won’t affect anybody but the crooks.”
Maggard said his agents plan to vigorously enforce the new law. Violations can result in fines, imprisonment, and confiscation of logging equipment. In addition, the law requires the violator to make complete restitution to the victim.
Violations of the timber payment law should be reported to Forestry Commission law enforcement, 803-896-8820.
For more information, contact: Ken Cabe, 803-896-8820.