Posted By John Dorka,
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
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Weekly News 6/24/12
In this issue:
- Ohio House 21st Century Manufacturing Task Force - Early last
week, House Speaker Bill Batchelder announced the creation of a
legislative panel charged with strengthening interaction between
policy makers and manufacturers while focusing on increasing the
competitiveness of Ohio manufacturing. The Task Force will conduct
5 public hearings throughout Ohio. The hearings will focus on
identifying resources to help manufacturers while identifying
impediments and future challenges and opportunities. Rep.
Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) will be chairman of the task force
which will include 5 Republicans and 4 Democrats. The
schedule for hearing locations is not yet available.
- Farm Bill Action - On Thursday, the US Senate passed the
Farm Bill. A number of Forestry Programs, at times targeted
for elimination in Congressional discussions, were maintained
for funding especially the forestry components of the EQIP
(Environmental Quality Incentives Program) and WHIP (Wildlife
Habitat Incentives Program). Here is an article from the American
Forest Foundation that generally describes the benefits to forestry
programs which have a good return on investment. The Farm Bill,
at over 1,000 pages and nearly $100 billion in total spending,
still sustained major budget reduction when farm commodity
programs saw historic payment limit reforms, with changes to
the crop insurance programs becoming the new farm safety
nets. At the same time, a significant part of the Farm Bill contains
food and nutrition programs such as food stamps which amount
to 80% of the Farm Bill budget. The House will now take up the
bill, and the battle lines are drawn for even more contentious debate.
- Breaking News! US Supreme Court to Review the Logging
Road Case - OFA just learned that the US Supreme Court has
decided to review the case filed by the National Environmental
Defense Fund against the State of Oregon regulatory requirement
on logging roads. OFA co-signed an amicus brief prepared and
submitted by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) in appeal of the
Ninth Circuit Court decision requiring NPDES permits on logging
roads. PLF advised OFA and other co-signers that it will immediately
begin developing strategy on arguing the merits of the amicus brief.
- American Made Has Wood Market Appeal - Here is an article
from the Woodworking Network that talks about more consumers
placing value on buying products that are domestically produced,
and this is playing out with wood products manufacturers. The author
notes that at the most recent High Point Market furniture show in
April, the number of exhibitors in the Made in America pavilion
doubled. The media is picking up on the value of American made
products in the US economy and the American public is responding.
Let’s hope it continues.
- Notes from the Hardwood Leader - The following are some notes
gleaned from the Hardwood Leader by Hardwood Publishing:
- Chinese demand for American hardwoods will grow this year
as credit is eased which should bolster housing.
- The loss of logging capacity has not had major impact on the
hardwood market at current levels of production but the loss
could cause impacts in years ahead as the industry attempts
to raise production.
- US crude oil production topped 6 million barrels per day for
the first time in 14 years with forecasts for sizable gas and
diesel prices this summer.
- In April, US hardwood lumber exports reached a 5.5 year
high at 115 million BF. Many export markets are expected
to hold steady. Mexican markets are expected to rise this
summer as more wood manufacturing moves back to North
America from Asia.
- US residential furniture factory shipments for March hit a 4-year
high, with the first quarter 2012 almost 11% higher than first
quarter 2011. US wood household furniture shipments are
showing an annual gain of 2.3%.
- New home sales in April increased to match rising new home
starts, with strong gains in the Midwest and West and a
loss in the south. The average prices of new homes rose
4.3% in the first quarter 2012 over the same period in 2011.
- Single family home starts increased 20% Q1 over the same
period a year ago, and sales of existing single-family homes
increased to a near 2-year high in January 2012.
- The inventory of unsold homes at the end of April rose by more
than 200,000 units which experts believe that many are once
again putting their homes on the market due to improving
- The national average for 30-year fixed rates fell to 3.67% in
- The 4-week moving average on unemployment claims rose in
- The US employment in durable wood products manufacturing
fell in May to the second lowest level since the decline started
- Workers Comp News from CCI - Here is a news release from
CareWorks Consultants, Inc. (CCI) on the deadline to enroll in the
BWC Safety Council Rebate Incentive Program for the 2012 policy
year. This incentive program can provide employers an opportunity
to earn up to an additional 4% reduction on workers comp premiums
by meeting the incentive program meeting attendance and reporting
targets as well as by reducing workplace injuries. Companies
enrolled in group safety programs such as the OFA Safety Program
can still be eligible to "stack” these savings on top of the group rate
reductions. To be eligible, companies must join one of the 80 Safety
Councils around Ohio by July 31, 2012. Another news release has
information on CCI’s safety partner, RiskControl 360, and the
consulting services it offers to assist companies with ways they
can save money through workplace safety efforts. The news
release has contact information.
- Ongoing Forest Certification Battle - As the USGBC considers
revising the LEED standards once again, the arguments among
the forest certification standards persist. Here are several articles
on the green building issue that you may find interesting.
- LEED Refuses to Change Rating While American Forests
- Are "Green" Building Standards Like LEED Based on Forest
Science? Written by Todd Myers, Environmental Directory of
the Washington Policy Director who maintains that the standards
may be based more on politics than science.
- The Maturation of the Green Building Industry. Written by Jerry
Spivak of the Urban Land Institute, the article talks about the
expanding green building industry and cites the "wood wars”
on the battle between primarily SFI and FSC certification.
- Green Building: Major Overhaul of LEED Rating System Won’t
Happen in 2012. This article points out that USGBC has decided
to pull back on revising its LEED standards in 2012 and will wait
until next year. In addition to the timber industry concerns over
the forest certification protocol, the chemical industry also
has raised major concerns over how new LEED standards will
discriminate against many products today like vinyl siding
and foam insulation that are heavily used in building construction.
- Wood Education and Research Center (WERC) Update - You can
find the June 21 WERC Update on-online. This report contains
information on a new publication on Manufacturing and Marketing
Eastern Hardwood Lumber Produced by Thin Kerf Band Mills, written
by Dan Cassens, Professor of Wood Products, Purdue University. You
can also find an analysis of the Impact of Increasing Energy Costs on
the Hardwood Lumber Manufacturing Industry. There is information
on related activities and upcoming workshops as well as an
Update on the Housing Market by Urs Buehlmann, Virginia Tech
and an Update on Wood Markets by Dan Deckard of the Minnesota
Division of Forestry.
- July Newsletters from ECOFA and SOFA - Here are the July
Newsletters of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA)
and the Southern Ohio Forestland Association (SOFA). The ECOFA
Newsletter contains news on the recent Board and General meeting
with a presentation from Ron Carlton from Carlton Tree Farm, Field Day
News of the tour of the Waggy Tree Farm, upcoming Field Days, and
other workshops and events. The SOFA Newsletter has information
on the most recent general meeting which featured presentations from
DOF Foresters on "Non-native Invasive Species.” There is also information
on the July 12 meeting which will feature a presentation from Randy
Sanders on "Milling a Log,” notes from Chairman Wayne Oney, an
article on the impact of Estate Taxes on Tree Farmers, and some
notes on wolf trees. See the newsletters for dates of upcoming events.
- OWIN Summer Meeting - July 25-26, 2012 - Marietta, OH;
Visit our website for details and to register or watch your mail for
the printed brochure soon. Those interested in sponsoring a golf
hole or a clay station should contact Gayla, 888-388-7337.
- Lumber Grading Short Course - August 20-23, 2012 - Yoder
Lumber, Millersburg. OH. You may register here or watch your
mail for the printed registration brochure.
- Walnut Grading Short Course - August 24, 2012, Yoder
Lumber, Millersburg, OH. You may register here or watch
your mail for the printed registration brochure. Space is limited to
- Lumberman's Outing - September 5, 2012 - Details and
registration material coming soon. All proceeds will benefit
the Lumberman's Benevolent Fund and the families of Daniel
lRaber and Laverne Raber.
- Paul Bunyan Show - October 5-7, 2012 - Guernsey County
Fairgrounds, Cambridge, OH.
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