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Weekly New 7/23/12 and 7/30/12

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, July 30, 2012
Ohio Forestry 

Weekly News 7.23.12 & 7.30.12
                  Due to the OWIN Summer meeting last week, the
                    reports for 7.23 and 7.30 have been combined.


In this edition:

  • Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) Transitional Work Grants Now Available - The Ohio BWC announced that it is now taking applications from employers for a new grant program to assist employers with developing transitional work programs that return employees to work or keep them working in some capacity following an injury. The grants provide funds to help employers design programs for their employees to get them back to work as soon as possible. The 3-1 matching grants are available to companies with more than 11 employees, although BWC will directly assist smaller companies with plans. For companies with 11-49 employees, the maximum grant amount is $2,900; with 50-199 employees, $5,200; and more than 200 employees, $6,300. One catch – employers are required to hire a BWC-accredited transitional work developer. The BWC website has information on the whole transitional work program.
  • Hardwood Leader Notes - The following are notes from the August issue of the Hardwood Leader, from Hardwood Publishing.
    1. Due to a robust export market and steady domestic market along with strong demand for industrial timber, some in the industry are concerned that supply could become a problem this fall and winter. Once housing starts to break out of its slump, demand could become significantly out of balance with supply.
    3. May hardwood lumber exports hit 121 million BF, the highest in 6 years. Germany and the United Kingdom have significantly increased imports of American hardwoods. Lumber exports to China were over 46 MMBF, a monthly record. Turkey and Pakistan both have emerging export markets for US hardwoods.
    5. May showed a sharp jump in hardwood lumber imports to the US with a 23% increase from Canada. Chinese shipments of solid hardwood flooring to the US set a 4-year record, with the majority being prefinished.
    7. The June CPI remained mostly unchanged due to declining energy prices and increasing food and other service prices.
    9. US residential furniture factory shipments in April posted a 7% increase from the same the same period in 2011.
    11. US consumer confidence has fallen for the 4th consecutive month while China’s second quarter growth was the lowest in 3 years.
    13. Single family starts, permits, and home sales were all up in May over April; sales were strong in the northeast with declines in the Midwest and west.
    15. The 12 month trend in single-family home sales is up but inconsistent.
    17. 30-year fixed rate mortgages are at all-time lows; economists believe the elections will help keep rates low due to the inherent uncertainty of election cycles.
    19. US manufacturing employment slowed in the second quarter 2012 after gains in the first quarter; durable wood products manufacturing employment dropped sharply from Feb. - June, 2012 negating gains from the previous 7 months.
    21. Wood component manufacturing is beginning to pick up again after a drastic fall during the last few years. According to the Wood Components Manufacturers Association, employment is increasing in 2012 and expected to continue in 2013 driven by housing increases and increased demand for cabinets, millwork, flooring, and stairs.   
  • Electric Rate News - This past week, PUCO approved First Energy’s electric security plan (ESP) which will run through May 2016 and will continue to base electricity prices on a series of 4 competitive auctions through the plan period. The plan will "blend” probable higher auction prices with current lower prices over the period of the ESP that according to PUCO will provide more stable prices to consumers. During the period of the ESP distribution rates will remain frozen. In other news, the current excessively high temperatures have resulted in extremely high electric usage. Electric utilities in the eastern US fired up reserve plants to meet the energy demand. The wholesale price of electricity skyrocketed to nearly $800 per megawatt-hour, which is nearly 20 times the usual cost. In addition, "demand response” programs kicked in on Tuesday, July 17 for many participating companies who were ordered to power down for a period of time. Under demand response programs, companies receive monthly payments year round for agreeing to power down during rare periods of excessive demand. A number of OFA manufacturers participate in demand response programs. Here is an article from the Columbus Dispatch that talks about the recent action.
  • New ALB Find Outside Quarantine Area - The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced last week that it has found the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) in Stonelick Township of Clermont County, which is outside and to the north of the previous quarantine area in Tate Township. ODA believes that this new location was the result of firewood movement in 2010 prior to the quarantine. You can read more about the announcement in this ODA news release.
  • USDA Looking for Tree Climber - In related news, the USDA is looking for a tree climber to assist with ALB eradication efforts in Clermont County. You can read a job description on the USA jobs website. The job is full time – term limited for 13 months to 4 years. It will pay approximately $18 - $21 per hour.
  • Earth First! Shuts Down Marcellus Drilling Site on Pennsylvania State Forest - The Pennsylvania Forest Products Association reported recently that Earth First! shut down a Marcellus gas drilling site for a 12-hour period during a protest. Following the July 4 holiday, about 100 Earth First! protesters took part in rigging tree sitters and constructing a debris barrier to block road access to a drilling site on Moshannon State Forest in Pennsylvania. The tree sitters and protesters were removed from the site by local police and enforcement personnel. The following weekend Earth First! organized an event in Ohio near
  • NEOFA July Newsletter - Here is the Northeast Ohio Forestry Association July 2012 Newsletter. The Newsletter has information on plans for a special daytrip on August 11, 2012 to Mercer, Pennsylvania to visit the Tree Farm of George Freeman who has planted American chestnut trees for several years, in cooperation with the American Chestnut Foundation. The newsletter has all the details of the trip and includes information for other activities while there. The newsletter also has information on the May meeting, a chainsaw training update, NEOFA-organized EQIP project on the Pugh Farm near Hartville, an explanation of trees and the water cycle and the current drought, and other articles on tree topping and insects.
  • Nation’s Largest Biomass Power Plant Goes On-line in Texas - Last week, the Southern Company announced that the nation’s largest biomass power plant has started operating in northeast Texas and will be fueled primarily by traditional "wood waste.” The 100 megawatt facility will consume wood-based biomass fuels consisting of sawmill and other wood manufacturing waste, forest waste, and pre-commercial thinnings. The article on the plant does not indicate the amount of wood needed annually to operate the facility at capacity.
  • State Forest Open Houses - The ODNR Division of Forestry will host a series of 3 Open Houses from July 24 to August 1 to go over annual work plans. You can find more information about the open houses on the DOF website.
  • OWIN Summer Meeting - We had a very successful OWIN Summer Meeting this past week July 25-26 in Marietta. This is the third year in a row that the meeting was held here.
    • On Wednesday, July 25, following an OFA Board meeting in the morning, a group toured the Globe Metallurgical plant in Beverly, Ohio. This was a fascinating (and hot!) tour of the facility for everyone to see how the facility makes metallurgical and chemical-grade silicon metal and silicon-based specialty alloys. These products then are used in a wide range of industrial and consumer products such as silicone compounds, aluminum, solar cells, automotive parts, semiconductors, and so on. Interestingly, the facility uses 225 tons of wood chips a day, 365 days per year. The wood is used to create the necessary structure and carbon mix for the smelting process.
    • Following the tour, a large group again enjoyed a relaxing reception on the Valley Gem Sternwheeler as it spent a leisurely 2 hours on the Ohio River. As we left dock to start the cruise, our group was treated to the simultaneous launching of the American Queen Steamboat which had been docked overnight outside the Lafayette Hotel.
    • On Thursday, attendees enjoyed a day of either golf at Lakeside Golf Course or clay shooting at Hilltop Sports. All made it through the very warm day before thunderstorms hit in late afternoon and enjoyed an awards banquet before heading home.
    • Many sincere thanks are due to all who sponsored activities over the two days. The following is our sponsor list:
      • Globe Tour Bus – Superior Hardwoods of Ohio, Inc.
      • Valley Gem Riverboat / Reception – Industrial Timber and Lumber Co., Yoder Lumber Company, Inc, Haessly Hardwood Lumber Co.
      • Golf and Clay Shoot Reception and Dinner - Glatfelter, Salamanca Lumber Company
      • Golf and Clay Shoot Beverages – Ohio Valley Veneer, Inc.
      • Golf Hole Sponsors: Armstrong Hardwood Flooring, Associated Hardwoods, Berlin Lumber, LLC, Brenneman Lumber Co., Buckeye Resources, Columbus Equipment Co., DJM Hardwoods and Veneer, Eagle Hardwood, Inc., Glatfelter, Gutchess Lumber Co., Haessly Hardwood Lumber Co., Hummel Group, Inc., Interforest Lumber, ISK Biocides, Inc., Mullican Flooring, Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Ohio Valley Veneer, Inc., Ray H. Miller dba McKay Hardwoods, Rudd Equipment Co., Superior Hardwoods of Ohio, Inc., Troyer Lumber LLC, Trumbull County Hardwood Ltd., and United Hardwoods.
      • Clay Station Sponsors: American Lumber Co., Berlin Lumber, LLC, Brenneman Lumber Co., Cantwell Machinery Co., Columbia Flooring, Columbus Equipment Co., Glatfelter, H. Dewey Thompson Financial Svc. Ltd, Hummel Group, Inc., Interforest Lumber, ISK Biocides, Inc., Ray H. Miller Logging dba McKay Hardwoods, Rolling Ridge Woods Ltd., and S&J Lumber Co.,
  • Legislative & Policy
    • Forest Road Actions - This past Thursday the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee scheduled a mark-up on HR 2541, The Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act. This act deals with logging roads and making sure that roads continued to be considered as non-point sources of pollution by the US EPA. Congressman Bob Gibbs and Congresswoman Jean Schmidt are on the T&I Committee. Cong. Gibbs has already agreed to co-sponsor this legislation, but Cong. Schmidt has not yet done so. OFA worked last week to get her sponsorship on the bill, which currently has 61 bi-partisan sponsors. OFA will continue to seek her sponsorship.
    • Lacey Act Amendment Vote Cancelled - The House Republican leadership last week cancelled plans for a vote on HR 3210, the RELIEF Act (The Retailers and Entertainers Lacey Implementation and Enforcement Act). This is a controversial bill that proposed changes to the Lacey Act affecting the importation of illegally harvested wood. On the surface it aims to protect American wood manufacturing, but many forest products interests believe that it will weaken the Lacey Act and lead to unintended consequences. OFA had taken a position with many others in the industry against the proposed bill. Here is a recent article from The Tennessean as well as a statement from the National Hardwood Flooring Association that explains the issue and concerns.
    • Farm Bill Stalled - The drought across the US has reportedly caused the House to abandon efforts to pass the new 5-year Farm Bill before recessing in August. Farm interests would like to see the bill passed before fall elections as the new bill re-tools the farm commodity programs into a risk management program which would kick in with the severe growing conditions 2012 have produced. Te current bill is set to expire in September.
    • Republican Polling Group Says Ohioans Opposed to Kasich Oil and Gas Severance Tax Plan -  Magellan Strategies found that Ohioans were leery of the governor’s proposed tax hike on the oil and gas industry.
        • Although the proposed tax funds would be used to lower income taxes, nearly 3 in 4 believe that the increased severance tax would get passed on to the public.
        • One out of 2 thought the best way to fund an income tax cut is to lower spending.
        • The poll found that Ohioans in general don’t support tax hikes on small business energy entrepreneurs, farmers, and landowners.
        • The poll also found that local tax levies are opposed 65% to 26%
    • Ohio Pending Single-Family Home Sales Rose in June for the 14th Consecutive Month - The Ohio Association of Realtors is reporting continued growth in Ohio single family home sales. Pending sales for June 2012 were 16.5% higher than June 2011.
    • Ohio House 21st Century Manufacturing Task Force to Hold Local Business Forums - A bipartisan panel of Ohio House representatives will host a series of local business forums from August 9 to November 15 around Ohio to look at ways to improve Ohio’s competitiveness. The sessions will start with a tour of the host facility at 10 AM and will be followed by presentations from 1:30 to 5:00 PM. The following are dates and locations: August 9, Timken Company, Canton; September 27, Owens-Illinois, Maumee; October 11, Pentaflex, Springfield; October 18, DuPont, Circleville; November 15, Worthington Industries, Columbus. The forums are open to businesses and the public and there will be presentations from business experts and time for public comments.
  • Chillicothe VA Hospital Unveils New Biomass Boiler System - Here is an article from the Chillicothe Gazette that describes the wood fired combined heat and power (CHP) system recently installed at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Chillicothe. It has been in the works for several years and on a couple occasions, the engineer had reached out to OFA for information on wood sources.
  • Oberlin College Biomass Proposal - At the same time this system was announced, OFA was contacted last week about a potential similar facility development at Oberlin College.  AFS Energy Systems is an energy contractor for Oberlin College in Lorain County.  AFS is working on plans to develop a wood-fired system at the school and is in the process of sourcing wood for the facility.  OFA has been asked if any member companies may be interested in looking at the project.  Any contractor or company interested in information on this can contact the OFA office for more information.
  • Watch Out for West Nile Virus - The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has confirmed Ohio’s first case of West Nile Virus in Clermont County this past week. ODH has been monitoring for the presence of the virus and has found 374 mosquito pools with the virus so far this year, a sharp increase from the same period in 2002 when West Nile Virus caused 31 fatalities in Ohio. This year is stacking up to be a bad one for West Nile Virus infections. You can read a summary of suggested actions to take to prevent infections.
  • Brief, Thought-Provoking Article on Selling the Value of Wood to the Public…and How We Miss the Mark - Here is a brief, but very good article on why the public doesn’t readily buy our arguments on the value of wood as a "green” product.  The author makes the point that those in the wood industry are making the wrong arguments at the wrong time when trying to sell the benefits of wood.  The author argues that the public will not hear our environmental message until they can first "trust” the industry and identify with it.  To make his points, he uses the example of the "insurance gecko” that GEICO uses for marketing.  I have often wondered about that advertising and its effectiveness.  But it makes more sense when you read the article and understand how it plays out in marketing schemes.
  • SOFA August Newsletter - Attached is the August newsletter of the Southern Ohio Forestland Association.  Included in the newsletter is information on the July 12 general meeting which involved a presentation by Randy Sanders on milling your own logs, notes from Chairman Wayne Oney, tick concerns, Asian Longhorned beetle finds, and upcoming events on August 10 at the Vinton Furnace Forest on Measuring Trees and August 11 at the Wayne and Benita Tree Farm to get ready for the Tree Farm of the Year Tour.
  • Upcoming Events
    • Lumber Grading Short Course / Walnut Grading Short Course, August 20-24, 2012. This is a reminder that you can still register for a 4-day Lumber grading short course as well as a 1-day Walnut Grading Short Course to be held the week of August 24. The course will be held at the Yoder Lumber Co. Buckhorn mill. You can register for both or either of the two courses. You can register on-line at the OFA website. Or you can call the OFA office at 614-497-9580 to register.
    • Lumberman’s Outing, September 5, 2012, The Pines Golf Course, Orrville, and Lost Bird Sporting Clays, Fredericksburg. Now that the OWIN Summer Meeting has concluded, you can make plans for the fall Lumberman’s Outing. This event in the past has been a charity fund raiser, but this year, the charity benefit is very close to home. Proceeds of the event will go to the Lumberman’s Benevolent Fund through the Charm Share ‘N Care. The proceeds will benefit the Dan Raber family and the Laverne Raber family. Dan and Laverne, members of OFA and the wood community were lost earlier this year. Your participation in the outing will benefit their families. Make plans now to attend and participate in some way. You can register at the OFA website.
    • OFA Paul Bunyan Show, October 5-7, 2012, Guernsey County Fairgrounds.



If you'd rather not receive information of this kind from us, please forward this e-mail to OFARemove@Offinger.comor mail your removal request to: Ohio Forestry Association, 1100-H Brandywine Blvd, Zanesville OH USA 43701-7303. You also may fax your removal request to 614-497-9581, or request removal by calling 888-38-TREES.
                  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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