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Weekly News 11/14/11

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, November 14, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weekly News 11/14/11

  • Hardwood Checkoff Proposal
    Some of you have may have heard much about a proposed Hardwood Checkoff Program, while others have heard little if anything. I have reported on the Hardwood Checkoff Program in past weekly reports, although it has been some time ago. Briefly, the Hardwood Check-Off, if approved, will be a fee assessed to hardwood manufacturers who make a variety of hardwood products and produce more than a pre-determined amount each year. Money generated will be put into a fund managed by an oversight commission composed of industry members. The fund will be used for hardwood promotion and will create marketing campaigns similar to others you may be familiar with, such as that for milk (Got Milk!), pork (The Other White Meat), and so on. You can get detailed information on the proposal at the Hardwood Checkoff website. The proposal is coming from a number of members in the hardwood community who have formed a Blue Ribbon Committee to study and develop the concept. It has been in development for some time, but based on the schedule shown on the website, a vote for passage among the industry may take place sometime in the spring. At the moment, the blue ribbon commission is educating the industry on what the proposal entails and how it will impact industry members. OFA will get more information to affected manufacturing members, particularly those that will most likely get a vote on the proposal.

  • Proposed AEP Distribution Rates for Manufacturing Members.
    OFA Manufacturing members in the AEP service area may not be aware that according to the latest AEP proposed rate plan with PUCO (not yet approved), users in the GS2 rate category may find their distribution rates rising substantially after the first of the year. A month or more ago I mentioned that one of our sawmill members learned that the proposed rate plan could increase their distribution rate up to 100% and ultimately raise overall use rates by more than 30%. PUCO has not yet approved the rate plan, but if it goes through unchanged, manufacturers across many industries will experience sharp rate increases without knowing it ahead of time. OFA has worked with a small coalition of trade associations to raise the awareness among the Kasich administration and to work with PUCO and AEP. The issue is complicated, but I am passing it along to OFA manufacturing members serviced by AEP to check with AEP to determine how your distribution rates will be affected. Even though you may have shopped your generation and transmission rates and gotten a good deal, distribution service is not shoppable and rates are set by AEP, according to the electric security plan approved by PUCO. OFA will continue working with the coalition to see what can be done with both PUCO and AEP to minimize or change the impact.

  • Asian Longhorned Beetle News.
    The USDA APHIS has been moving ahead with plans to start eradication tree removals in the infested area of Clermont County. However, recently local residents have raised concerns about APHIS plans to remove "un-infested" host trees in addition to the infested trees. It appears that the Science Panel, which provides expert advice and recommendations to the agency, has recommended in all eradication removals that un-infested host trees within a certain radius of infested trees should be removed. There has been an outcry against removing healthy trees by affected landowners. Last week there was a public meeting to address the issue and many landowners showed up to fight against the removals. APHIS is initiating infested tree removal this week but will wait for the completion of an environmental assessment on un-infested host trees before making a decision on removing healthy trees. The assessment will take at least 30 days to complete. Here is a brief news release from the Ohio Department of Agriculture on tree removal activities.

  • OFA Board/LSC/Tree Farm Committee Meetings.
    Last week there were the quarterly meetings for the OFA Board, Logging Standards Council, and Ohio Tree Farm Committee. All were held at the OFA office and well attended by members. The OFA Board discussed a number of items including OFA 2012 Goals, proposals for OFA member benefit programs including landowner liability insurance (tabled) and emergency life flight services (approved), policy and legislative activities, Paul Bunyan Show report, new OFA website, and the Call B4U Cut Program participation. The Logging Standards Council discussed the status of new chainsaw safety videos, 2011 BMP Monitoring, Logger of the Year nominations, OSHA company safety plans, requirements for company participation in logging chapters, and a brief property and casualty insurance market analysis. The Ohio Tree Farm Committee discussed national level activities, 2012 Tree Farmer of the Year/Inspector of the Year nominations, certification issues, committee nominations, and OFA Board nomination.

  • GARC Report.
    Here is the most recent report from the AF&PA Government Affairs Resource Committee. Topics included in the report include the latest on Senate Boiler MACT activities, truck weights in the House Transportation Reauthorization Bill, a new Green Ribbon Schools program by the USDE that promotes "tree free paper", Farm Bill priorities, tax implications of black liquor by the Super Committee, Postal Reform legislation. Waters of the US legislation and Lacey Act activities.
  • American Tree Farm System (ATFS) News: Capitol "Fly-In" Scholarships Available.
    AFTS is reporting that there are scholarships available for those Tree Farmers who want to participate in the March 13/14, 2012 "Fly-In" to Washington, DC. For information on registration and scholarship availability, Click here. In other Tree Farm activity, ATFS is urging members to contact their Congressman/woman about Farm Bill priorities and recommendations. You can make contact directly on-line by going to the ATFS website and sending a letter electronically. In other ATFS news, ATFS is sponsoring webinars on a number of issues. You can get information on the webinar series here: In the next couple weeks there will be sessions on:
    1. Leaving a Legacy for the Next Generation: Tips on Succession Planning on November 15 at 3 pm (eastern) and November 17 at 3 pm (eastern)
    2. NEW!! Ruffed Grouse Ecology and Habitat Management on December 1 at 2 pm (eastern)
  • NEOFA and ECOFA Newsletters.
    Please find the two most recent monthly newsletters from the Northeast Ohio Forestry Association (NEOFA) and the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA) at the above links. News in the NEOFA Newsletter includes covers topics such as November Meeting (11/17) on estate planning, Dave and Nancy Hively's maple syrup wins Best of Show at the annual meeting of the North American Maple Syrup Council, damaging forest insects, tree frogs, marketing timber, and seeding in your woodlot. The ECOFA Newsletter includes information on Oil and Gas seminars for landowners, BMP Workshop for landowners in December, and Black Legged Ticks found in Ohio.
  • 2012 OFA Annual Meeting.
    Get it on your calendar. The OFA Annual Meeting will be March 23-24, 2012 at the Downtown Columbus Crowne Plaza Hotel directly across from the Columbus Convention Center. A Save-the-Date card will soon be coming to the members. The theme this year is "Shale Formation Drilling – What is the Impact on Ohio Forestry?" Some of the plans on Friday, March 23 include an OWIN Tour of the Thompson Library on the OSU campus, featuring the special renovation project using Ohio hardwood harvested and processed through OFA member Superior Hardwoods. That evening there will be a block of tickets available for the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game with the Carolina Hurricanes at the Nationwide Arena directly across the street. (Let's hope the Blue Jackets are in winning big by then!) Information on ordering tickets will be coming out soon. Space is limited! If you are interested in the game, please email Gayla with the number of tickets needed so we have time to order more if necessary. On Saturday we will have feature the normal meeting format, including the Tree Farm Awards Luncheon and the Loggers Supper/Awards Banquet.

Ohio Forestry Association is managed by Offinger Management Company, a member of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), "Charter-Accredited" Association Management Company member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and a member of the Association Management Company Institute (AMC Institute).

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