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Weekly News 3.12.13

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, March 18, 2013


MARCH 12, 2013

  • 2013 OFA Annual Meeting - The 2013 OFA Annual Meeting is now history but many who attended commented that it was a successful and welcome event. This year marked a significant departure in meeting arrangements, with a change from a weekend to weekday meeting, as well as other formatting changes. Held on Wednesday and Thursday (March 6 and 7) at the Columbus Sheraton Hotel on Capitol Square, the meeting featured a tour of the statehouse and legislative reception the first day followed by a series of presentations about the status of the hardwood forest products industry the following day.
  • Approximately 100 people toured the Statehouse to learn about its history and a few famous guests who have graced the halls. The group saw firsthand how historical practice and modern technology mix to deal with state legal and policy issues of day.
  • Following the tour, the group gathered in the Statehouse Museum area on the ground floor to host our State Senators and Representatives who stopped by to hear about issues important to the forest products industry and forestry representative in attendance. Based on registrations, 50 elected officials, nearly 40% of the legislature, stopped by to talk, which is a very good turn-out. OFA provided personalized, engraved, wooden name badges to each of the elected officials, and it appears that all really enjoyed and appreciated the tags. Badges were made for all senators and representatives and those that were not able to attend will receive their badges at first chance.
  • The Thursday event featured a number of presentations to highlight the question "Is the forest products industry poised for resurgence?” Presentations were kicked-off by Kevin Thieneman, President, Caterpillar Forest Products who reviewed key economic indicators for the forest products industry, during which he characterized a strengthening economic picture in the next several years, with key global economic indicators. Interestingly, he pointed out that Caterpillar’s CEO was the first to predict the economic downtown in 2008 which proved to be on-the-mark. There were also presentations from Don Taylor on behalf of the Wood Supply Research Institute (WSRI) concerning results of nationwide research on Consumer-Supplier relationships and recommendations to improve the working environment for contractors and wood buyers and from Todd Martin, Executive Director of the Southern Loggers Cooperative which recently opened up a fuel-supply depot in Chillicothe, Ohio and the opportunities for forestry and agricultural businesses to purchase below cost road and off-road diesel fuel at substantial savings. The afternoon session included a presentation by Dr. Eric McConnell, OSU Extension Forest Products Specialist on a snapshot of the "Ohio Forest Economy” which involved his study using 2010 data to characterize the economic impact of Ohio’s forest products industry. Presentations were completed with a panel discussion from representative of various sectors of Ohio’s hardwood industry. The panel representatives included: Ernest Hershberger, owner of Homestead Furniture; Tony Honeycutt, Head of Purchasing, Mullican Flooring; Gordon Kendrick, Head of Purchasing, Rockland Hardwoods; Isaiah Harville, buyer, Woodcraft; and Larry Evans, President, Industrial Timber and Lumber. All presented their insight and comments on what is happening with their industry sector and their "crystal ball” for the near future.
  • There was an Awards Luncheon this year that combined the previous Tree Farm Awards Luncheon with the Logger’s Supper presentations. The Ohio Logger of the Year, the OFA Conservation Award winners as well as the Ohio Tree Farmer of the Year were all recognized. The following were recognized as award winners:
  • Ohio Logger of the Year – Wood Logging (Chillicothe); John and Jeremy Wood awardees.
  • Outstanding Individual in Conservation Education – Mike Besonen, Glatfelter
  • Outstanding Logging Activist – Jason Good, Superior Hardwoods of Ohio.
  • Outstanding Individual in Forest Industry – Steve Brown, Glatfelter
  • 2013 Ohio Tree Farmer of the Year – Dr. W. Joseph Lavelle, Stonewall Tree Farm, Athens County.
  • The OFA Board met at the beginning of the meeting. The Executive Committee was approved and for 2013-2014 includes President Ryan Redoutey (Redoutey Logging); 1st Vice-President Rob McCarthy (ITL); 2nd Vice-President Ed Robbins (Ohio Valley Veneer); 3rd Vice-President Jeff Hoselton (Glatfelter); Treasurer Dave Bergman (retired) will continue in that position. At the awards luncheon, the gavel was handed to new President Ryan Redoutey by outgoing President Mark Cantwell (Cantwell Machinery).
  • OFA wishes to recognize and thank the sponsors who helped make this year’s meeting so successful. The sponsors include:
      • Ames True Temper
      • Brenneman Lumber Co.
      • Columbus Equipment Co.
      • eLimbs, LLC
      • Glatfelter
      • Hummel Group
      • iIndustrial Timber and Lumber Co.
      • Murphy Tractor and Equipment Co.
      • Ohio Valley Veneer, Inc.
      • Regions Timberland Group
      • Sexton's Excavating
      • Superior Hardwoods of Ohio
      • Tiverton Timber Ltd.
      • Yoder Lumber Co., Inc.

  • Ohio Legislative News. At the legislative reception, members has the chance to talk about a number of issues important to the industry and forestry and included discussions on the value of the forest products industry, timber trespass, trucking, support for the Division of Forestry, and green building standards among others.
  • Concerning the trucking issue, it had been reported to the OFA Board prior to the reception that the Ohio House had approved in the ODOT Budget Bill an increase in commercial truck GVW from 80,000# to 90,000# on state highways. After that action, OFA had been informed that there would be efforts in the Senate to amend the bill to reflect the Coalition for Transportation Productivity’s position on increasing GVW to 97,000# with a sixth axle. The OFA Board had agreed to support that change and discussed such with Senators at the reception. However, almost immediately, upon hearing that there may be action in the Senate, interests opposed to increasing truck weights, particularly among the railroads, jumped to action and began lobbying against the proposal. In fact, it had been reported at the reception that there were already radio ads by the time of the reception urging Senators not to make changes to state truck weight laws for safety reasons. In addition, there have been many contacts with Senators to the point that the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday immediately after the reception had already decided to take the House amendment out of the bill. Committee Chairwoman Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) stated that the issue was much too controversial and it should be dealt with separately. Those testifying against the weight increase were a large group of public entities including the County Engineers Association, Buckeye Sheriffs Association, County Commissioners Association, Township Trustee Association, Ohio Municipal League, Ohio Fire Chiefs Association, and the Ohio Association of Police Chiefs.
  • In other news, the Ohio EPA is making a push to take over federal authority to take primary control of the Clean Water Act programs in the state. Currently authority is handled by the Corp of Engineers for such programs as the "404” Clean Water Act Permits. OEPA Director Scott Nally told the House Finance Agriculture and Development Subcommittee that the state taking over the program would not lower the standards already in place. Further he said that 70% of the 1,400 "404” permits issued each year in Ohio relate to ODOT projects and that the state could be more responsive and efficient than the Corps of Engineers.
  • The Administrations Sales Tax Proposal has met considerable resistance from many interests as the proposal has been debated in front of the House Ways and Means Committee. However, a number of small businesses have voiced support for the proposal as the package of tax changes shows benefits for small business owners. Committee Chairman Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster) advises that in spite of the opposition, he is not ready to give up on the sales tax proposal.

  • OFA Logging Standards Council. The Logging Standards Council met last week prior to the OFA Annual Meeting for its quarterly program meeting. One of the key issues discussed was whether the LSC should honor the invitation and become a member of the Wood Supply Research Institute (WSRI). WSRI is the only national organization that conducts forest industry research and focuses on issues that deal especially with wood supply from the forests. The LSC agreed to join the WSRI for a year to assess the benefits of being a member and will review continued involvement at the end of the year of membership. WSRI was instrumental in having Don Taylor participate in this year’s OFA Annual Meeting as a presenter.

  • Upcoming Events:
  • CSAW Level 1 Training, March 16, 2013, Maumee State Forest
  • BMP Training for Master Loggers, April 4, 2013, Tappan Lake Park, Deersville, Ohio
  • CSAW Level 1 Training, April 5, 2013, Tappan Lake Park, Deersville, Ohio

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