Forest Industry Safety & Training Alliance, Inc.

Ben Parsons, FISTA Training CoordinatorJanuary 2015

Stay Ahead of the 8-Ball

Since I started my employment with FISTA in 2011, an average of 1721 people in Wisconsin obtain annual continuing education credits in order to participate in the SFI program.  In 2014, we’ve seen 1728, with a few applications for credit via online classes and outside elective classes still arriving in the mail.  Only a handful of FISTA’s classes in 2014 completely filled up, leaving the majority with a few extra seats to meet your training requirements, and even get caught up with extra classes for those that may have missed a year or two.  Let’s take a few moments to refocus for the New Year and evaluate our training status by covering the Wisconsin SFI Training Standards for 2015.

For folks new to the program, initial SFI training to become a trained logger, known as a Qualified Logging Professional or “QLP”, you must complete the SFI Core Curriculum training for the current year AND an additional 4 hour Continuing Education session which will carry your SFI trained logger status into the following year.  The SFI Core Curriculum training consists of the Best Management Practices (BMP) for Water Quality course and Best Management Practices (BMP) for Invasive Species course.  Both Core Curriculum classes are full-day classes that include an indoor classroom portion, a catered lunch and outdoor field site visits.  To maintain SFI trained status as a QLP, at least 4 hours of Continuing Education coursework must be completed each year.

Every now and then, someone forgets to attend their Continuing Education requirement.  If this happens, the individual would forfeit their status as a QLP in the following year till the training deficit has been made up.  To regain status as a trained logger, they would need to attend 2 Continuing Education sessions; one to make up for the missed year, and the next to carry them into the following year.  If two years of Continuing Education is missing, then 3 Continuing Education sessions are needed to catch up.  In the unfortunate event that 3 years pass without keeping up with training requirements, the individual would need to re-enter the program as an initial trainee.  In other words, the current Core Curriculum must be completed in addition to a Continuing Education session to be considered a trained logger and regain QLP status with SFI, regardless of past training.

For a business or organization to be considered “SFI Trained”, at least one key person must obtain and maintain status as a QLP, by completing the SFI Core Requirements and keeping up with Continuing Education requirements.  The individual should be an owner, manager or key field person for the organization.  In order for a logging crew to be considered SFI trained, at least one in-woods person, actively responsible for the logging site must obtain and maintain QLP status though SFI training.

Annual Continuing Education requirements can be met either through one of FISTA’s training workshops scheduled throughout the year, or by attending an Approved Elective.  Approved Electives are training opportunities outside of FISTA’s annual workshop schedule and must be approved by FISTA in conjunction with the training and education committee within Wisconsin’s State Implementation Committee for SFI.  To obtain approval for an Approved Elective, you must provide FISTA representatives with an agenda including topics, speaker list and number of instruction hours prior to the program.  If the program is considered an Approved Elective, either the administrator of the program or the individual attendees must provide proof of attendance as well as a $35 processing fee for administrative costs.  Registration fees for attending Approved Electives do not include processing fees for adding the session and your training credits in FISTA’s database.  FISTA does not provide certificates for Approved Elective training sessions.

Topics of FISTA’s training workshops and Approved Electives must be in line with the objectives of the SFI program.  Subjects like logging safety and wood utilization, sustainable forestry principles, best management practices for water quality and invasive species, forest roads, endangered and threatened species, wildlife habitat, special sites and aesthetics, transportation issues, business management, public policy, emerging technologies and of course, the SFI program.  For more information on SFI’s objectives, go to their website at

Now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of FISTA’s training opportunities for the SFI program, where are you in your training status as a QLP?  If you have any questions about your standing as a QLP in Wisconsin, be sure to call FISTA’s main office at 715-282-4979.  We would be glad to verify your training and let you know what is required of you in the current year.  Be looking in your mailbox this February for the FISTA 2015 SFI Training Workshop Schedule, and register early for your classes!

Ben Parsons, FISTA Training Coordinator, is originally from West “By God”, Virginia as they say in that part of the Appalachian Mountains. His family’s deeply rooted philosophy of living off the land was monumental in deciding to earn a degree in Forest Management from West Virginia University.  Throughout his career, Ben has had the opportunity to tackle a wide variety of assignments.  He measured Forest Inventory and Analysis research plots in Virginia and Georgia, been involved with urban and utility forestry operations throughout the Appalachian region, procured lowland hardwood timber in the swamps of South Georgia, managed logging contracts and harvest operations in Arkansas and specialized in water quality and harvest planning as well as fighting forest fires in Virginia. As FISTA Training Coordinator, helping to meet your safety and educational needs is the number one priority here at FISTA.  For more information, contact Ben at 800-551-2656 or

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