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Timber Talk 10/28/13

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, October 28, 2013

New Loggers’ Chapter in Northwest Ohio to Start with 5 Companies!
Last week, OFA hosted a charter meeting of a new Northwest Ohio Loggers’ Chapter in Findlay. Over the last year, a small group of logging contractors have been talking with OFA about starting a new chapter, as there has never been one in that area of the state. A meeting about a year ago with several of the contractors indicated there was interest in starting one. To that end, a charter meeting was held on October 22 and representative from 5 companies showed up to discuss what it would take to start a chapter. Following good discussion, the group decided to move ahead with a new chapter. The group elected officers, talked about meeting dates, and discussed possible meeting locations. It was a good organizational meeting and showed promise for the new group. Elected officers include first-time Chairman Bill Metzger (Metzger Logging), Vice-Chairman Tom Bartman (Care Caskets), and Secretary-Treasurer Keith Byerman (Northern Hardwood and Veneer). Also at the meeting was John Shulte (Shulte’s Logging) and Chip Reed (Reed Logging).

BMP and Chainsaw Training at Scioto Trail State Forest
Last week OFA hosted a Best Management Practices class on October 24th and a CSAW Level 1 class on October 25th at Scioto Trail State Forest. The BMP class was co-taught by Dave Apsley of OSU Ext., Jeff Jenkins of Glatfelter and Bob Mulligan of ODNR Division of Soil & Water Resources. The class was well attended with seventeen participants comprised of loggers and a few SWCD employees. The diverse audience allowed for excellent discussion throughout the day. The CSAW Level 1 class was taught by Ryan Redoutey of Redoutey Logging and the class was very well attended with nineteen participants. If anyone is interested in taking a CSAW level 1 course classes are being offered November 8th and 9th in Seneca County and November 15th and 16th at Maumee State Forest. Spots are still open in all of the classes call OFA to register.

Ohio Statehouse News

State Controlling Board Approves Medicaid Expansion - By now, you’re aware that the Ohio Controlling Board (composed of Ohio Senate and House members and approves all state spending) approved the spending for an expanded Ohio Medicaid Program. That action left a number of interest groups elated, while others were furious and poised to take legal action against the decision. A group of House GOP lawmakers including: Rep. John Becker (R-Union Twp.), Rep. Ron Hood (R-Ashville), Rep. Matt Lynch (R-Chagrin Falls), Rep. Ron Maag (R-Lebanon), Rep. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) and Rep. Ron Young (R-Leroy) , signed a letter of protest against the Controlling Board option and are filing a lawsuit with the Supreme Court against the action. The representatives are joined by several pro-life organizations in Ohio. The lawsuit is not filed against the Medicaid expansion but rather on whether the administration has the authority to expand the program like it did without first getting legislative approval.

Medicaid Expansion Leads to Senate Republican Plan to Cut Taxes with Savings/Medicaid Overhaul Will Still be Considered - The approved Medicaid expansion is supposed to save Ohio $400 million per year. As a result, Senate Republicans would like to use that savings to complement the personal income tax cut included in the last biennium budget. The plan by the Republicans would reduce income tax rates by another 4% beyond the 10% rate cut over 3 years already approved in the budget, which would then be a 13% cut in 2014 and the full 14% in 2015. Finally, it appears that even though the expansion was approved through the Controlling Board there is still interest to further reform the Medicaid program to make it more efficient and cost effective. But that timetable is slowed down in light of the recent actions.

Ohio House Unveils New Bill on Municipal Tax Simplification - After an earlier attempt to pass legislation streamlining the laws on municipal tax collections, the House GOP unveiled a new proposal to streamline and simplify the state’s municipal tax system that has the support of business interests. It remains to be seen whether groups representing municipalities will view it the same. HB 5, Municipal Tax Collections, according to key sponsors Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) and Rep. Michael Henne (R-Clayton), is reported to be the result of compromises between the business coalition and the Ohio Municipal league. The purpose of the legislation is to streamline tax collections for the 600 plus municipal corporations in the state of Ohio and create a simpler, fairer, and more predictable municipal tax system. Members of the Municipal Tax Reform Coalition including the Ohio Society of CPAs, NFIB/Ohio and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce praised the proposal while the Ohio Municipal League remains skeptical and wants further study. Their biggest concern is that the collective proposal will result in lower municipal tax collections.

House Set to Start Hearing on Green Energy Overhaul - The House Public Utilities Committee heard introductory testimony for HB 302, Energy Sources, which is companion legislation to SB 58 which proposes revisions to the state green energy law. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Peter Staugberg (R-Cincinnati) who is chairman of the Public Utilities Committee. The chairman argued that the law needs to be changed as no one expected decreased demand for energy 5-years after SB 221 was passed as well as no one was predicting the impact of the natural gas boom on energy supplies and prices. The bill proposes several things:

  • eliminate the in-state mandate for half of Ohio's required renewable energy;
  • alter the 3% cost cap for renewable energy;
  • allow hydropower from Canada to qualify toward the renewable energy standards;
  • allow more power-saving upgrades to be counted toward EE standards;
  • allow large industrial customers to more easily opt-out of EE programs;
  • implement a new cost cap on how much utilities could spend annually on those programs.

Oak and Poplar Demand Expected Strong Through Year’s End
As a follow-up to the notes from the Hardwood Leader, here is a brief statement from Hardwood Publishing on the optimistic outlook through the end of the year for oak and poplar demand.

Emerald Ash Borer Could Become a Problem in Europe
It appears that the nasty pest wreaking havoc with American ash has been found in European ash near Moscow and there is concern it will eventually spread across Europe. In a BBC News Science and Environment article, scientists have identified a growing problem with Emerald Ash Borer near Moscow that is exhibiting the same characteristics that it did when the pest hit North America near Detroit. It appears to be moving much faster than the natural spread rate, due to vehicle transport, much the same as it has done in the U.S., where it is now found in 19 states.

Ohio Development Services Agency - Export Assistance Program
The Ohio Development Services Agency operates an Export Assistance Program and offers International Trade Assistance Centers (ITAC) where exporters can receive free, in-depth, and confidential consultation from international trade specialists to help develop trade strategies. There are a number of ITAC offices throughout the state where businesses can go for assistance. The OSU South Centers facility in Piketon is the location of the SE Ohio ITAC. You can get more information about the program and services here.

Social Cost of Carbon – Concern from Manufacturing Sectors
According to information from AF&PA, the Department of Energy (DOE) apparently used the "Social Cost of Carbon” in a benefit-cost analysis of a proposed rule setting energy conservation standards for metal halide lamps. A coalition of trade interests that include AF&PA, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others, provided feedback to DOE saying that the use of this methodology for an environmental assessment by any government agency sets a very bad precedent that could be used to increase greenhouse gas regulation. The particular concern is that the methodology is premature and has not received appropriate review. Here is a document on the official feedback provided by the coalition of trade interests.

Lunch ‘n Learn Tech Session on GIS and Forestry at Cabela’s October 29
Laser Technology, Inc. and Precision Laser and Instrument have teamed up to offer a free lunch ‘n learn tech session on GIS and Forestry at Cabela’s outdoor store at the Columbus Polaris complex on October 29 from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm . The session will offer attendees training on mapping technology, use of laser range finders, and integration of the technology with software solutions. There is no cost and attendees will be offered lunch. You can go on-line to get more information on registration. Registration can take place by emailing your name, organization, phone number, and email address to The address at Cabela’s is 1650 Gemini Place, Columbus, Ohio 43240.

Upcoming Events

  • Lumber Grading Short Course/Walnut Grading One-Day Course – November 4-8 – Taylor Lumber, McDerott, Ohio – registration fee $225 for members and $300 for non-members. Registration is very light at this time. If we do not reach a minimum of 12 by Wednesday, it will be necessary to cancel the course.
  • Chainsaw Level 1 – November 8 – Tiffin, Ohio
  • Chainsaw Level 1 – November 9 – Tiffin, Ohio
  • Chainsaw Level 1 – November 16, Swanton, Ohio
  • CChainsaw Level 1 – November 17, Swanton, Ohio

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