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Timber Talk 9/26/14

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Monday, September 29, 2014

CAUV Advisory Committee Meets; Woodland Value Determinations Discussed
Last week, the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) Program Advisory Committee held its annual review hearing to take input on 2015 agricultural property value determinations under the CAUV program. Hearing participation is by invitation only and not a general public hearing, with OFA invited to participate. As many who have property enrolled in CAUV know, tax valuations have been increasing sharply over the last several years, due to a number of factors including sharply rising ag commodity prices and declining capitalization rates. For example, in 2012, the all-soils average CAUV/acre value was $719. For 2015, the average will be $1685, an increase of 134% in 3 years. The woodland value determination is a perverse calculation based on crop valuation minus the cost of clearing the land of trees. The formula was developed when the program was authorized in the 1970s and remains unchanged. Even more, the deduction for land clearing is the same now ($500/acre) as when the program was created. OFA argued that the cost is woefully outdated and should be increased to reflect more current rates (OFA members report that land clearing rates can run from $3,000 - $6,000 per acre). Furthermore, OFA believes that because of the quickly rising rates in forestland values, there is anecdotal evidence that farmers are now removing forest land to put into agriculture production. The Tax Commissioner’s representative took issue with this claim, but post-meeting feedback from many participants indicated that there is indication that forest land is being removed, and it may be due to the rapidly increasingly tax rates on CAUV woodlands. The Tax Commissioner agreed to review the woodland removal costs for possible increase in rates.

Columbus Dispatch Ohio State Forest Timber Sales Article
Last week, the Columbus Dispatch ran an article about timber sales on state forest lands. The primary focus appears to be the increased harvest level and income from state forests, which according to the article is a cause for some concern from environmental groups. OFA prepared and submitted this response but to date it has not been printed by the Dispatch.

Lawmakers Want Limits On Requiring Homeowners To Connect To Public Sewers
Last week, the Joint Agency on Rule Review (JCARR) passed some contentious new statewide rules from the Department of Health requiring that homes hook up to new sewer systems even if they have working septic systems. Some legislators voiced concerns about this requirement and that some homeowners may be required by local ordinances to hook into new sewer systems even with good functioning septic systems. Some legislators talked about trying to get a new law that would exempt homeowners under certain circumstances. Rep. Ross McGregor (R-Springfield) has talked about introducing an amendment to HB 490, the mid-biennium review measure dealing with environmental issues, that would create specific exemptions. Some local governments currently require homeowners within a certain distance of a sanitary sewer line to connect to it, regardless of whether or not they have a properly functioning septic system.

Editorial: EPA must focus on forest fact versus fiction
Here is a brief but well-written editorial statement from David Garman, principal and managing partner from Decker Garman Sullivan LLC, an energy, technology, and environment consulting firm. Mr. Garman was formerly Assistant Secretary and Under Secretary of Energy from 2001-2007. Mr. Garman makes a strong argument about the value of American forests, most of which is privately owned, and the value they can play in renewable energy development. It is unclear where EPA will go with its rules governing whether woody biomass can be considered as an effective "carbon neutral” energy source helping to limit the production of greenhouse gases, or whether as environmental groups are currently arguing, that biomass causes more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels. The statement is on The Hill Congressional Blog. The writer references an article in the Society of American Foresters Journal of Forestry Forest Carbon Accounting Considerations in US Bioenergy Policy which you can download and review. You can read a brief review of that article on the Forest Business Network website.

Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF) 2013 Impact Report
The Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF) is a business loan fund that provides business financing to small businesses in the Appalachian Region, including the Appalachian Region of Ohio. NCIF recently released its 2013 Impact Report highlighting key accomplishments last year. Noted in the report is work that it has done with the loggers and loaning money for equipment upgrades. Last year it assisted the South Carolina Timber Producers Association with expanding the Southern Loggers Cooperative network of fuel depots in that state. The Southern Loggers Cooperative has built a depot in Ohio near the Glatfelter mill in Chillicothe. NCIF, represented by Dave McCann from Washington County, will exhibit at the Paul Bunyan Show.

Southern Ohio Forestland Association (SOFA) September Newsletter
is a copy of the September Newsletter for SOFA. Find out about the recent Pond Clinic at Barbara Key’s Tree Farm, upcoming events, especially the Second Friday workshops at the Vinton Furnace State Forest in Vinton County.

Upcoming Events:

  • Paul Bunyan Show, October 3-5, 2014, Guernsey County Fairgrounds. It’s this weekend. Everyone is welcome for the 58th Paul Bunyan Show. This is the 9th year at the Guernsey County Fairgrounds. The grounds will be full with equipment exhibitors with the annual array of competitions and education sessions.

  • Legislative Fundraising Reception, October 7, 2014, Law Offices of Eastman and Smith, Columbus. OFA is co-hosting with the Ohio Aggregates and Industrial Minerals Association (OAIMA) a legislative fundraising reception for the Senate Republican Leadership Team on October 7, 2014 from 5:00 – 6:30 pm. See this flyer for details.

  • Master Logger Training:

  • BMP Training, October 23, 2014, Scioto Trail State Forest

  • Chainsaw Level 1, October 24, 2014, Scioto Trail State Forest

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