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Timber Talk 8/19/13

Posted By John Dorka, Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) Confirmed in Ohio
The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has confirmed what had been feared, that Thousand Canker Disease of walnut is in fact in Ohio. Previously, walnut twig beetles, which carry the TCE fungus, had been found in a couple locations in Butler County. However, the fungus had not been isolated from tests. That changed recently when the fungus was confirmed. Here is a news release from ODA. OFA has been sent a copy of the draft quarantine rules for walnut products. Once these are finalized ODA will formally pass the rules which should not take effect for at least 90 days. If any OFA members has comments on the attached draft rules, particularly as they will affect the movement of walnut forest products in Ohio, please forward them to me at the first chance.

Ross County Landowner Who Shot at Logger Pleads Guilty
About a year ago, there was an incident in Ross County where a landowner shot at a logger operating equipment on adjacent property. The landowner claimed that the logger was cutting timber on his property. The shooting landowner was arrested and recently pleaded guilty to felony aggravated assault. According to a newspaper article on the case, the landowner will likely receive a sentence of "community control.” The logger involved in the incident was an OFA Master Logging Company who owned the land on which he was logging. The land in question apparently had a survey on it to confirm the location of the boundaries, but the adjacent landowner questioned the survey, to the extreme point of shooting at an employee of the logger. This was an extreme boundary dispute case that nearly resulted in disaster for an employee of the logger.

Ohio Wood Fiber Request for Biomass Energy
OFA was contacted recently by a representative from Evergreen Energy in St. Thomas, Ontario inquiring about possible wood fiber sourcing from Ohio. He is interested in wood in various forms to produce wood pellets and briquettes for burning in a large industrial power plant with a 4300 MW capacity. The plant currently burns coal from Ohio but the utility is interested in some conversion to biomass energy. The representative indicated eventually trying to acquire 2 million tons per year. This sounds very similar to the Burger Power Plant proposal with First Energy from several years ago that ended up as a non-starter. The representative asked about possible Ohio producers and is interested in one-on-one talks at some time in the future. Initially it appears that the wood source would be shipped across Lake Erie to Nanicoke from a location in NE Ohio. I will share any additional information as I receive it.

FRA Article on Kenny Adkins Logging "Logging Mat Rental”
AT the OWIN Summer Meeting, attendees toured the Glatfelter Woodyard in Piketon. While there, Kenny Adkins displayed his "wood mats” that he uses in a new business where he rents the mats for use on logging jobs in Ohio and West Virginia. The August issue of the Forest Resource Association (FRA) Newsletter contained a Technical Bulletin that described Kenny’s business in detail. Here is a copy of the article for your reading. Many thanks to FRA for their permission to share the article.

Ohio Authorities Make a Case for More Tax Code Changes
Last week, the Columbus Metropolitan Club held a forum to talk about Ohio’s recently passed budget. Office of Budget and Management Director Tim Keen and Tax Commissioner Joe Testa both spoke about recent changes to Ohio’s tax code included in the recently-passed budget. The changes were intended to shift Ohio away from reliance on income taxes and toward consumption taxes, which the administration believes is a strategy to spur economic growth. If you recall, the budget cut personal income taxes by 10% (over 3 years) and business income taxes by 50% on the first $250,000 of business income. Both administrators indicated that the Kasich Administration is may still consider further changes to the tax code in an upcoming mid-biennium review and capital budget, both of which would be presented next year. Relating to the tax change issue, there was a "field” hearing in Chillicothe last week by the House Tax Reform Study Committee which was intended to seek input from the public on additional tax reform ideas. In spite of the intent to seek new ideas on reform, the forum became an opportunity for many to voice opposition to the reform already included in the budget. The administration testified that the 8.5% personal income tax scheduled for the first year is set to take effect September 1. Other local officials testified that the cut in state sharing with local subdivisions was having major negative impacts on local operations. The Ohio Manufacturers Association urged the panel to resist changing the broad-based, low rate nature of the commercial activity tax. Selected exemptions should be avoided. Some complained that shifting taxes to consumption hurt lower and middle-income Ohioans. A number testified that income tax rates should be maintained and corporate taxes should be increased to maintain funds for "quality of life” concerns.

Ohio July Unemployment Rate Unchanged
Ohio’s unemployment rate remains unchanged at 7.2% for July despite a slight increase in the number of jobs. The number of unemployed also raised slightly to offset the increase in job numbers. The national unemployment is 7.4%. The Department of Jobs and Family Services reported that non-farm wage and salary employment increased by 5,300 to 5,210,900 with the number of unemployed rising by 3,000 to 416,000. The biggest job swings occurred in construction which lost 3,100 jobs while the leisure and hospitality industry increased by 4,500.

ODNR Sends Second Wildfire Crew to Fight Western Wildfires
As the first Division of Forestry wildfire crew returned home from fighting wildfires in Oregon last week, a second crew was deployed last week. The second crew is reportedly fighting wildfires in Northern California.

Cellulosic Ethanol Industry Faces Big Challenges
Cellulosic biofuel plants are coming on-line in America, but it appears that due to a number of factors, their future does not currently look bright. By next year, a dozen commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plants will be operating in the United States. Each plant will probably produce less than 10 million gallons per year which makes them small in scale compared to corn ethanol plants. Cellulosic biofuels were intended to be part of the national portfolio of alternative fuels commissioned under the Bush Administration to make the U.S. independent of foreign oil. But getting these plants operating has offered a number of challenges. The most significant right now is the economics are not there. The plants cannot compete without subsidy from the government as cellulosic ethanol costs more than gasoline or corn ethanol to produce. Not a good formula for success. Here is an article from the MIT Technology Review on the issue.

ECOFA Newsletter
Here is the latest Newsletter from the East Central Ohio Forestry Association. The newsletter highlights the most recent Board and General Meeting on August 7 during which Jim McCormack, Division of Wildlife non-game specialist spoke to the group; the most recent timber price report; upcoming events; and recent articles in the Farm and Dairy magazine about Ohio’s Forest Economy (next month’s speaker at the meeting) and the history of logging in the U.S.

Upcoming Events

Lumberman’s Outing, September 11, 2013. The outing is approaching quickly. This has become an annual fundraising event, with proceeds from the event this year to be donated to the Lumberman’s Benevolent Fund with the Charm Share ‘N Care. Funds will directly benefit wood industry members in need. Golf will be at The Pines Golf Course in Orrville with Clay Shooting at The Lost Bird Sporting Clays in Fredericksburg. You can register on-line at the OFA website. Those wishing to sponsor for golfing and/or clay shooting can also do so on the registration website.

Paul Bunyan Show, October 4-6, 2013, Guernsey County Fairgrounds. Get ready for the 57th running of the Paul Bunyan Show. The Guernsey County Fairgrounds will host the show for the 8th consecutive year.

Ohio Tree Farm of the Year Tour, October 12, 2013, The Lavelle Family Stonewall Coonskin Sugarbush Farm, Amesville. The weekend following the Paul Bunyan Show, make plans to attend the Annual Ohio Tree Farm of the Year Tour in eastern Athens County near Amesville. Dr. W.J. Lavelle and family will host the event which should prove to be a great fall day. Those attending will receive a special farm-made maple gift.

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