June 12, 2015

From Justice to Forest

As the saying goes, life happens when you're making plans. Such was the case for James Johnson, owner of Johnson Timber Harvesting in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Johnson began skidding wood in high school; however, after graduation he switched gears and went to college to major in criminal justice. After earning his degree, he decided the woods were where he belonged and he returned to the forest.

He began skidding wood for another company in 2003 but after eight years decided to go into business for himself. Soon he opened Johnson Timber Harvesting. The company focuses mainly on "big wood" which they harvest to be used for ties, mats, timbers, pallets, and so on.

What makes Johnson Timber Harvesting unique is the age of the crew; they could be considered the youngest crew in Washburn County, Wisconsin, which boasts a large number of forestry crews and loggers. James employs a number of young men who are just getting their start in the logging industry. "We are young, but every one of us makes this crew," said James. "Without them I wouldn't have a chance in hell. The crew makes the company not the guy with his name on it."

Johnson Timber Harvesting has three teams of machines working. They currently have two new John Deere 703J harvesters fitted with Waratah 622B heads. They like these machines because of their productivity, fuel efficiency, and their versatility. They are able to pick wood behind a feller buncher or cut off the stump leading to a higher number of trees being processed. They also run a 1979 440C John Deere Skidder.

James likes working with John Deere machines and especially enjoys working with Nortrax. "Nortrax provides great service," he said. "They go a step beyond to make sure we are taken care of."

In his spare time, James enjoys outdoor activities, such as hunting (bird, duck, and deer), open-water fishing, and ice fishing. He also enjoys spending time with his family, including eight-year-old daughter, Amalia, and four-year-old daughter, Brynlea.