Posted By John Dorka,
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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2014 OFA Annual Meeting Recap
The 2014 OFA Annual Meeting is now in the books. It achieved its goals of focusing on legislative involvement and providing information on the theme of "Regulations Impacting the Ohio Forest Products Industry.” The first day of the meeting involved a joint session with the Ohio Society of American Foresters (OSAF), reminiscent of times in the past when both organizations hooked up to partner on a joint meeting. The OSAF as well as the Association of Consulting Foresters assisted with sponsorship of the Legislative Reception which took place at the end of the day’s session.
- Legislative Reception/Timber Theft Proposal. The two-day meeting featured a legislative reception at the Ohio Statehouse on the evening of March 5 and was very well attended by OFA members. Although many legislators had RSVP’d to attend, when the legislative session for the week had been cancelled earlier, it appeared that attendance was less than anticipated. The legislators who attended were greeted with excellent discussion from the members. A key topic of discussion prior to the reception was the Timber Theft Legislative Proposal which has been drafted by Rep. Ross McGregor from Springfield. Rep. McGregor was not able to join us at the meeting to discuss the proposal but he was able to attend the legislative reception. Rep. McGregor advised that he is in the process of re-drafting his proposal, taking into account all the comments he had received from interested parties. When asked about what would be included, he advised that "no interested party will be completely happy with the re-write” but he did modify the proposal based on all the comments. He assured OFA that we would receive a copy of the re-write as soon as it is available. He further indicated that he still intends to submit a bill before this session is over.
- General Session Presentations. There were a number of excellent presentations provided by our slate of speakers. The Keynote Address was provided by Rep. Dave Hall (R-Millersburg) who chairs the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, one of the largest and most important committees in the Ohio House of Representatives. He gave an outstanding address to the membership and provided updates on some key legislation of interest to forestry and the forest products industry. He also indicated an openness for him and his committee to visit various wood products facilities throughout the state as an important way to learn about what we do. David Caldwell from the Hardwood Market Report gave us a Hardwood Market Update and provided valuable information on where the market is at and has been and made provided some key thoughts on where the market will be in the near term. For those interested who did not make the meeting, Dave’s PowerPoint presentation is available online. Dave Adkins from the Ohio Department of Agriculture gave us an Update on Ohio Invasive Species affecting trees, most notably Thousand Cankers Disease, Asian Longhorned Beetle, Gypsy Moth, Emerald Ash Borer and Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. We received some key insights (with a noted comical flair) from Stephen Ogle on changes with OSHA under the current administration and how to deal with on-sight inspections. The session activities ended with a rousing discussion on the USDA "Hardwood Check-Off” proposal with presentations from Dean Alanko from Alleghany Wood Products and Larry Evans from Industrial Timber and Lumber. Each gave a differing view on the proposal, with Dean hitting the need for hardwood promotion very hard while Larry gave a very analytical review of what is included in the proposal. Their session was followed up with a many questions and comments about the proposal and what it could mean to the Hardwood Industry. You can take a look at Larry Evan’s presentation, which he titled "What’s In The Box?” on the OFA website.
- Awards Luncheon. The Awards Luncheon featured special award presentations to several key forestry recipients. The 2014 Ohio Outstanding Logger of the Year award was presented to DeNoon Lumber, and there to receive the award was Billy DeNoon along with Clint Carpenter and Jeremy Bernhart, two of his key employees involved in their logging operations. DeNoon Lumber was recognized for their long-term leadership and positive impact they have shown with outstanding logging practices in eastern Ohio. The company is a most deserving recipient. Also recognized for an OFA Director’s Award were Walt and Donna Lange, two people who have given decades of volunteer commitment to both the Ohio Forestry Association and to forestry in general, particularly for their educational efforts and work with the Ohio Tree Farm Committee. Finally, the 2014 Ohio Tree Farm of the Year Award was presented to the Dave Coldwell family for the work they have done with the Coldwell Family Tree Farm. Dave was there with a number of members from his family to receive the award and made some heartfelt comments about what it means to be the recipient of the award. His sons Jed and Jared gave a nice presentation on the Coldwell Family Tree Farm.
- Tree Farm Silent Auction/Card Raffle. The Ohio Tree Farm Committee brought back its silent auction and card raffle to the OFA Annual Meeting this year after a one year hiatus. Many people were very generous with numerous donations for the silent auction and the awards luncheon card raffle gave away two very nice framed prints. Together the auction and raffle raised $2,470. Proceeds from the auction will go toward Ohio Tree Farm Program education and outreach activities.
- Thanks to Our Sponsors and Exhibitors. OFA is thankful to the companies and individuals who help sponsor the Annual Meeting and those that exhibit. Thanks again to the following:
- Ames True Temper
- Association of Consulting Foresters
- Brenneman Lumber
- Columbia Flooring
- Corley Manufacturing
- Hummel Group
- Industrial Timber & Lumber
- Ohio Society of American Foresters
- Ohio Tree Farm Committee
- Rudd Equipment
- Tiverton Timber
- Yoder Lumber Company
Statehouse News Items.
With schedules cancelled last week, there was not much activity around the Statehouse, but here are a couple brief items:
- State Personal Income Tax Receipts Surge. State Budget Director Tim Keen reported that February personal income tax receipts surged last month and now stands at 5.4% above expectations for the first 8 months of the state fiscal year. He advised that everyone needs to remain cautious about expectations for the remainder of the year as new tax formula from the last budget overhaul continue to play out. Also showing strong signs for February were receipts from the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) which posted its best month of the fiscal year. CAT receipts had been lagging behind expectations to the point that some believed there needed to be adjustments in the Mid-Biennium Review, but the sudden change now gives lawmakers reason to take a closer look. Overall tax receipts for February were 3% above estimates and amounted to $1.118 billion.
- Ohio Jobless Rate Declines. The Department of Jobs and Family Services reports that Ohio’s January Jobless Rate was 6.9%, down from 7.1% in December of 2013. Non-farm wage and salary employment increased by 16,700 jobs to a state total of 5,285,600. There are a total of 395,000 unemployed Ohioans. In January, 2013, Ohio’s unemployment rate was 7.3%.
Washington State Supreme Court Rules Project Burning Biomass is Carbon Neutral.
In a ruling on a proposed Washington State proposed co-generation facility, the state Supreme Court ruled that the biomass burned in the facility was "carbon neutral” and as a result the project did not require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The project would take place at the Port Townsend Paper Corporation which is a draft pulp and paper mill that currently burns biomass to produce steam. The company wants to build a cogeneration facility that will produce energy for the facility and produce electricity that will be sold to the power company for use in the grid. The state had ruled that no EIS was required, but the decision was challenged by environmental groups. The State Supreme Court ruled that the project, which displaced fossil fuels, in fact leads to lower emissions through burning biomass and is "carbon neutral.” You can read more about the decision in a brief article on the This is Your Land website.
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