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Timber Talk 2/16/15

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2015 OFA Annual Meeting Recap
The 2015 OFA Annual Meeting is in the books. From a variety of comments received during and after the annual meeting last week, it appears that many thought it was a success and many found it a worthwhile event.

This year’s theme, The Changing Business Climate for Ohio Forestry and the Hardwood Industry, was addressed by a number of presenters, starting with keynote speaker Rep. Al Landis (R-Dover) from the 98th District in Tuscarawas and Holmes Counties. There were also timely presentations from David Caldwell with the Hardwood Market Report, John M. Lawrence discussing the latest on the Affordable Care Act, Pat Rita from Orion Advocates in Washington DC talking about a number of federal issues including the Northern Long Eared Bat, and finishing with a panel discussion from various hardwood industry sectors including flooring with Gale Keener from Mullican Flooring and Gordon Kendrick, Rockland Flooring; hardwood furniture with Ernie Hershberger from Homestead Furniture and Dave Forst from Woodcraft Industries; hardwood lumber and export with Larry Evans from Industrial Timber and Lumber; and home construction with Merle Stutzman from Weaver Custom Homes.

Tour of Caretta Workspace - A large group of meeting participants traveled a short distance from the meeting location to tour Caretta Workspace in the Polaris area north of Columbus. Caretta Workspace is a home and corporate office furniture manufacturer specializing in creating beautiful workspaces that integrate Ohio sustainable hardwoods with the latest in technology. The group found the tour very enlightening and were impressed by both the manufacturing process and equipment as well as the final product. Many thanks to Larry and Andy Tracewell for their hospitality and hosting the tour.

Awards Luncheon - The Awards Luncheon annually recognizes the 2015 OFA Conservation Award Winners as well as the 2015 Ohio Tree Farmer of the Year. Recognized at this year’s event were the following:

  • Ohio Logger of the Year: R.L. Lute Logging (Ray Lute II) from Lucasville, Ohio;
  • Outstanding Individual in Government Service: Mark Wilthew, retired ODNR Service Forester;
  • Outstanding Individual in Conservation Education: Marne Tichenel, OSU Extension, Wildlife Program Specialist and OFA Camp Co-Coordinator;
  • Outstanding Logging Activist: Stanley Swierz, S.D. Swierz Consulting Forester;
  • Outstanding Individual in Industry: Ed Robbins, Ohio Valley Veneer
  • 2015 Ohio Tree Farmer of the Year: Alan Walter, Sycamore Hill Tree Farm, Harrison County;
  • Tree Farm Inspector of the Year: Jeremy Scherf, ODNR Service Forester
  • Ohio Tree Farm Committee Lifetime Achievement Award: Walt and Donna Lange, Swanton.

Thanks to the Meeting Sponsors and Exhibitors. We always appreciate the support we receive from our meeting sponsors and the exhibitors who participate.

Meeting Sponsors:

  • Industrial Timber & Lumber Co.
  • Brenneman Lumber Co.
  • Superior Hardwoods of Ohio, Inc.
  • Yoder Lumber Co., Inc.
  • Trumbull County Hardwoods Ltd.
  • Glatfelter Woodlands
  • Crownover Lumber Co., Inc.
  • Tiverton Timber Ltd.
  • Rudd Equipment Co.
  • Columbus Equipment Co.
  • Corley Mfg. Co.
  • eLimbs

Exhibitors:

  • Columbus Equipment Co.
  • Rudd Equipment Co.
  • F4 Tech
  • Corley Mfg. Co.
  • Aggcorp
  • TSI Western
  • Battle Wagon Trailer
  • Sawmill MD
  • eLimbs
  • The Hummel Group
  • National Hardwood Federation
  • Ohio Tree Farm Committee

Virginia Forest Products Association Takes Position Against Hardwood Check-off
Last week, the Virginia Forest Products Association (VFPA) notified the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service that it had changed its position from Neutral to one of Opposition toward the proposed Hardwood Checkoff Proposal. Here is a news release from the US Hardwood Lumber Industry Coalition on the change in the VFPA position. Virginia joins the Missouri Forest Products Association with taking a position opposed to the proposal. Most associations, including OFA, had taken a position of neutrality on the proposed Checkoff. Last week at the OFA Annual Meeting, there was discussion during the industry sector panel on Thursday afternoon concerning the recent action by VFPA as well as other efforts by Checkoff proponents to continue pushing for enactment of the Checkoff. During the discussion, OFA was challenged to survey OFA members who would be affected by the Checkoff fee to determine their opposition or support for the proposal. To that end, OFA is in the process of getting feedback from affected OFA members. Information from that survey will be assessed by the OFA Board for association action.

December 2014 Housing Commentary from Virginia Tech
Here
you can find the December 2014 Housing Commentary from Urs Buehlmann from the Virginia Tech Department of Sustainable Biomaterials. It contains detailed information on US housing market information including employment and income statistics. Good information.

President’s Budget Includes Large Increase for the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program
FIA is a key US Forest Service program that provides invaluable information on state forest resources and is one immensely valuable to private forestry and the forest products industry. FIA has provided periodic state reports since the early 1950s and now uses annual survey practices to constantly update data. It is a program strongly supported by forestry associations. The President’s budget includes an 18.5% increase from $70 million per year to $83 million per year proposed. OFA and other associations will watch this issue closely and work toward maintaining the increase in funding.

Income Tax Reduction Proposal Gets Nod from Senate President
Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) indicated strong support last week for the executive budget proposal to reduce income taxes and further predicted that portion of the tax plan will pass the legislature. However, other proposed tax revisions have not yet received the same endorsement. Senate President Faber indicate those changes will need a lot more discussion. Last week, Tax Commissioner Joe Testa told the House Finance and Appropriations Committee that the overall budget proposal, including a host of tax changes, was all about balance. In general, the combined tax changes will result in an estimated tax cut of $523 million over the 2 year biennium. The cuts again include a 23% reduction in personal income tax, business income tax cuts for those businesses with less than $2 million in annual gross receipts, higher exemptions for lower-income earners, a sales tax increase from 5.75% to 6.25%, an increase in tobacco taxes, and an increase in the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) from 0.26% to 0.32% while reducing the minimum tax owed, an increase in the oil and gas severance tax, means testing for higher income taxpayers, a 50% reduction in sales tax discounts for used car trade-ins, and a reduced sales tax vendor discount.

Companies Launch Cogeneration Coalition
Last week, 4 companies including General Electric, IGS Energy, Energy Systems Group and Hull & Associates created the Cogeneration Coalition to promote the use of combined heat and power (CHP). During the last session, legislators modified the state green energy law to allow cogeneration to qualify toward the Ohio energy efficiency standards. CHP in general uses natural gas to generate power for larger commercial operations while capturing the resulting heat for the customer’s use. CHP would be included in the benchmark standards required for renewable fuels in Ohio.

Proctor and Gamble to Purchase Biomass Power
Proctor and Gamble Co. (P&G) headquartered in Cincinnati announced that it will purchase steam from a new biomass power plant being built at its P&G paper mill in Albany, Georgia. The 50 megawatt power plant will burn woody biomass waste from the paper mill and provide combined heat and power for nearly the entire paper mill operation. P&G has set a company goal of getting 30% of its global power needs from renewable energy sources by 2020. You can read a brief article from the Cincinnati Enquirer online.

State Auditor Says ODNR Should Charge Higher Hunting and Fishing License Fees
Ohio Auditor Dave Yost recently released a performance audit of selected recreational programs within the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Among those was an audit of Wildlife Licenses. The auditor recommended an increase in a number of license fees and among them, suggested resident fishing licenses should increase from $19 to $23 and deer permits from $24 to $38. The auditor says that fees have not increased with inflation. ODNR says it is already following a number of the suggestions in the audit but has not indicated what it will do with recommendations on the license fee increase.

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid Found in Jackson County
The Ohio Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources announced that Hemlock Wooly Adelgid was recently found at Lake Katherine State Nature Preserve in Jackson County.

Regional Forestry Association Newsletters
Attached
you can find the February NEOFA and March ECOFA Newsletters from the regional forestry associations. Both contain information on the latest general meetings as well as upcoming events and activities.

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