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Timber Talk 11/4/13

Posted By John Dorka, Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) Rules Hearing Date Set
The Ohio Department of Agriculture has announced that it will hold a public hearing on its proposed quarantine rules to address the Thousand Cankers Disease which was found and confirmed in Butler County, Ohio. The hearing date is November 12, 2013 at 10:00 am the Ohio Department of Agriculture Bromfield Administration Building in Hearing Room 133 (Seminar B). Linked to this report is both the hearing announcement as well as the DRAFT Rules. You can also obtain the rules on-line at the Register of Ohio website. The hearing is open to the public and anyone with an interest may testify on the rules. OFA will attend and provide feedback as necessary. Any forest products industry member may testify as well. Please review the rules and let me know if there are any specific concerns that should be presented at the hearing. OFA has worked with ODA over the last year to deal with some initial concerns which have been incorporated into the final DRAFT. Please Note: Because TCD is a native pest from the western U.S., it is not regulated at the federal level by APHIS. Each affected state can and has developed its own quarantine rules and regulations, which can be quite different from others. ODA is working through a regional network of state regulatory organizations to try to develop standardization among the rules. But it remains that each state is free to establish its own regulatory approach.

Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Update
The work to eradicate ALB in Clermont County continues, as it is expected to for some time. Here is the latest update on actions taken by APHIS and other partners to eradicate the pest in that area. The pest has been detected on land managed by ODNR in the East Fork Wildlife Area and State Park. A timber harvest is being conducted and ODNR required that it be done by an OFA Master Logging Company. Beach’s Tree Selective Harvesting, a company from Cincinnati has been contracted to do the work. The company recently met all the requirements to become a Master Logging Company.


Lumber Grading Short Course Cancelled
Due to low registration, the Lumber Grading Short Course and the Walnut Grading Short Course to be held at Taylor Lumber in McDermott the week of November 4-7 were cancelled. We will review the class offering for a possible future date. We plan to continue offering a Lumber Grading Short at Yoder Lumber Co. in Millersburg in June of the year.


Gun Week at the Statehouse!
Not officially, but a slew of gun bills were heard in the Ohio House last week. Almost a dozen bills were up for consideration dealing with a variety of issues including easing concealed carry regulations, requiring background checks, and allowing silencers for hunting purposes. The bills will be heard in a number of committees and half of them will be heard in the State and Local Government Committee. Among the bills presented:

  • HB 234, Gun Silencers, sponsors Rep. John Becker (R-Union Twp.) and Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) would allow hunters to use silencers on guns while hunting game birds or other wild animals;
  • HB 203, Handgun Licenses, sponsor Rep. Terry Johnston (R-McDermott) calls for a number of changes to Ohio gun laws, including provisions that would "restore areas where the Second Amendment has been infringed”;
  • HB 231, Concealed Handgun, sponsor Rep. Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) would allow concealed carry weapons in churches, day care centers, government buildings, and private aircraft among other places;
  • HB 99, Firearm Seizures, sponsor Rep. Wes Rutherford (R-Hamilton), would establish a first-degree felony for enforcement of any new federal legislation or executive order regarding further restrictions on gun ownership or registration;
  • HB 236, Concealed Weapons, sponsor Rep. John Becker (R-Union Twp.) would allow local or state government officials with conceal-carry permits;
  • HB 119, Firearms, sponsor Rep. Tracy Heard (D-Columbus) would require that federally licensed firearms dealers perform criminal records checks for potential firearm transferees when neither the buyer nor seller is federally licensed. Licensed dealers would also have to keep records and report to authorities names of transferees who cannot legally possess firearms;
  • HB 137, Firearms, sponsor Rep. Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) would bar the transfer of firearms from those who are not federally licensed firearms dealers to other unlicensed individuals unless the transfer is conducted through a licensed dealer or state/local law enforcement agency.

Feral Hogs Added to Game List
HB 199, Feral Hogs
sponsored by Rep. Bob Hackett (R-London) and Rep. Tony Burkley (R-Paulding) sends an interesting message that shows how things can change in nature. Feral hogs have become a problem in Ohio and to address the problem, they were added to the legal list of "game quadrupeds” in Division of Wildlife statutes making them legal to hunt. In addition, HB 99 made it legal for any vehicle driver that causes the death of feral hogs to keep the carcass providing that within 24 hours of the accident, the driver reports the death to a wildlife or law enforcement officer. The law requires an investigation and assuming it was killed as reported, the driver may keep the carcass. Also added to the list of was "wild turkeys and wild boars.” Here is a very brief bill analysis.


Senate Study Panel Receives More Feedback on Ohio Tax Policy
The Senate Tax Reform Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee continues to hold hearings on ideas for better tax policy in Ohio to encourage business growth and development. There was a number who testified at a hearing last week and here are some points raised.

  • Robert Premus, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Wright State University, testified on a study he did focused on high-tech company business location decisions. Here is what he found :
    • Companies go through multi-stage reviews and the #1 factor (of 40) by far is the availability of an educated and well-trained labor force; often they locate within 50 miles of a strong university environment;
    • Another key factor is business climate, in particular regulatory consistency and tax environment as key factors;
    • He echoed some of Gov. Kasich’s tax ideas that include increasing sales tax on other services and increasing the oil and gas severance tax;
    • Businesses strongly consider tax structures as part of the decision-making but it is only one of many factors. They are also very interested in how local communities are spending tax dollars on local infrastructure investments;
  • The County Engineers Association sounded an alarm that the current tax structure is not meeting the needs of road infrastructure maintenance and development. It offered ideas on what other states are doing to address the problem, such as Oregon’s fee on vehicle miles traveled, a Virginia proposal to scrap the gas tax and replace it with an increased sales tax, and Michigan considering a hike in the license tag fee of $120 per year. He warned that the increase in use of electric cars will hurt tax gas tax collections.
  • The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) advised that if it could start from scratch, it would recommend eliminating the Commercial Activity Tax because the gross-receipts-based tax does not work well for farms with small profit margins. OFBF also urged that the CAUV property tax reduction program remain as is as farmers would be hard pressed to continue farming if they lost the property tax reduction benefits of the program.

Farm Bill Conference Committee Starts Hearings
At the end of October, the Farm Bill Conference Committee held its first meeting. Forestry was mentioned several times as key areas of priority during the upcoming discussions. The Forest Products Fairness Act was mentioned by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) for inclusion and priority in the Farm Bill. This act is intended to make sure that forest products get equal billing and consideration in the Biobased Markets Program. Forestry was also mentioned by several other members of the Conference Committee for priority consideration. Among items is the inclusion of language from the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act which would insure that silvicultural practices would maintain their exemption from Clean Water Act NPDES permitting and continue to be handled by State non-point source and BMP programs. Of course the biggest issue to be worked out in the Farm Bill is funding for the food stamp program (SNAP) which traditionally accounts for 80% of Farm Bill funding. Included on the Conference Committee are two members of Ohio’s delegation, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH, District 11 includes east Cleveland).


Exploring Exporting Seminar to be held December 3 at the OSU Endeavor Center
For those who have not been involved in the export market before, then the Southern Ohio International Trade Assistance Center (ITAC) is offering a breakfast seminar that may be of help to you. On Tuesday, December 3rd from 8:30 to 9:30 am at the OSU South Centers Endeavor Center in Piketon, there will be an "Exploring Exporting Seminar.” This seminar will focus on the "how-to” of exporting goods and services internationally. Kelly O’Bryant, Director of the OSU South Centers ITAC will be providing information on export basics, available resources for export assistance as well as showcasing the Appalachian IMAGE Grant (Ohio International Market Access Grantfor Exporters). It is a free seminar that will include breakfast for attendees. To register, contact Jennifer Warfe at (740)289-1605 or warfe.2@osu.edu. The ITAC is available to conduct market research and logistics, review export financing and education, and promote global business development. Other upcoming topics for the Breakfast Seminar Series will include: Legal Issues Regarding Exporting, Financing and Finding a Potential Market.


Project Learning Tree Workshops for the Remainder of the Year
Sue Wintering, the Ohio PLT coordinator advises that there are 3 more PLT Trainer Workshops left in 2013, all 3 in November and all 3 with spaces available for attendees. Here are the sessions:

  • November 2 Miller Conservation Farm Tiffin Conservation of Soil & Water Resources
  • November 15 Buzzard’s Roost Nature Preserve Chillicothe Sustainable Forest Management
  • November 19 Glen Helen Nature Preserve Yellow Springs Public Benefits of Ohio’s Forests

Each workshop highlights a Division of Forestry Action Plan priority, as stated at the end of each line.


Upcoming Events:

  • Tree Farm Quarterly Meeting, Nov. 7, 2013, OFA Office Columbus, 9:30 am.
  • OFA Board Meeting, November 13, 2013, OFA Office Columbus, 1 pm.
  • Logging Standards Council Meeting, November 13, 2013, OFA Office Columbus, 5 pm.
  • 2014 OFA Annual Meeting, March 5-6, 2014, Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square.

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