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Timber Talk 7/6/15

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Monday, July 6, 2015

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Provides 60-Day Extension on "Hardwood Check-Off” Comment Period
We learned last week that the USDA has extended the comment period on the Hardwood Check-Off by 60 days, through September 7, 2015. This is welcome news for those wishing to provide comment as a number had expressed concern that the initial period of approximately one month did not provide adequate time to fully review the revised order and develop comments. Those wishing to see the comments already filed for the latest revised order or wishing to file comments of their own can do so on the website. You can read all the documents and get information on the order here.

OWIN (Ohio Wood Industry Network) Summer Meeting and Gathering
Time to Register!

The meeting is only a couple weeks away, on July 22-23, 2015 in Marietta. Come on Wednesday afternoon for a leisurely ride on the Valley Gem Sternwheeler down the Ohio River. There will be a reception with drinks and food to go along with the sound of a churning paddle wheel and the feel of an Ohio River breeze as we enjoy our river ride. The next day will feature golf at the Marietta Country Club and sporting clays at Hilltop Sports in Whipple. Register now! As always those wishing to support the events with a sponsorship can do so and the assistance would be most welcome. You can register at the link or contact Gayla or Pam by phone at 614-497-9580. .

OFA Agrees to Sign-on to The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015 (HR 2647)
The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015 (HR 2647) was introduced in the House by Cong. Bruce Westerman (R-AR). In brief, the bill would provide federal forest land managers tools to streamline bureaucratic procedures with planning forest management projects and get more accomplished on the ground. With the increasing threat to forest lands from wildfires and invasive pests, it becomes ever more critical to use forest management to reduce the risks, increase the health of the forests, and produce valuable forest products for the nation. The bill was referred to two House committees, the Natural Resources Committee and the Agriculture Committee and was passed by both. It now will go to the House for full passage. To encourage the House membership to pass the legislation, a coalition of state and national forestry and forest product associations have co-signed a letter that will be sent to all members of Congress. A total of 58 organizations have signed-on. OFA will reach out to members of the Ohio delegation to make sure they are aware of our support for the bill.

Ohio Senators Portman and Brown Co-Sign Letter to USDA/EPA/Energy Supporting Biomass as Carbon Neutral
In a show of strong bi-partisan support, 44 Senators (26 Republican, 18 Democrat) co-signed a letter to the administrators of the US Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Energy supporting biomass as a carbon neutral fuel source.  The carbon neutrality of biomass has become a big issue as the administration develops carbon emissions rules.  Some interests are claiming that biomass causes more serious carbon loads than traditional fossil fuels while a coalition of forestry interests strongly argue that biomass produced from sustainable forest management is carbon neutral and good for the environment.  Carbon neutrality of biomass is supported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Energy Information Administration as well as a group of 100 nationally recognized forest scientists from 80 universities who fully comprehensively reviewed the best science and research available to support the position. OFA thanks both Senator Portman and Senator Brown for their support in this effort.

Attorney General DeWine Files Suit Against US EPA WOTUS Rules
Last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that he had filed suit against the US Environmental Protection Agency’s new rules vastly expanding the definition of the "Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The new rules could have significant impact on farming and forestry and could increase regulation of activities dealing with drains, ditches, and other constructed runs that have water only when it rains. The Clean Water Act is supposed to govern "navigable waters” but many are arguing that EPA has vastly exceeded a reasonable interpretation of navigable waters. OFA contacted the Attorney General to thank him for the support and last week the Ohio Farm Bureau commended the AG for his action.

Ohio Budget Signed By Governor
The legislature has essentially wrapped up business for the summer and last week Governor Kasich signed the Biennium Budget (HB 64) with a variety of vetoes on specific items. The Columbus Dispatch gives an interesting summary of the budget highlights and how all of us may be affected in some way.

Wood Supply Research Institute Notes
Last week, OFA participated in a conference call with the staff from the Wood Supply Research Institute (WSRI) to discuss opportunities for increasing outreach and awareness with WSRI. WSRI is a joint venture among loggers, manufacturers, consuming mills, educators and forest landowners to fund and carry out research on increasing the efficiency of the nation’s wood-supply system. Here is a brief statement from an article on WSRI: "The Wood Supply Research Institute (WSRI) was founded in 1999 when a group of wood consuming mill representatives and loggers met to establish a way to resolve wood supply business issues on a third party research basis. Sixteen years later, WSRI is a non-profit 501-C-3 organization whose member’s annual dues have funded twenty- four Research Projects that have the potential of improving the bottom line for wood supply chain partners (forest owners, loggers, and wood consuming mills) by billions of dollars.” The OFA Logging Standards Council joined WSRI within the last 2 years. The following is a run-down of the research completed by WSRI (a click on the link will provide a brief summary of the findings of each project:

"Truth About Trees” PLT Workshop at Vinton Furnace Forest a Success!
On June 10-11, 2015, Project Learning Tree – Ohio held a 2-day workshop at the Vinton Furnace State Forest to highlight Ohio’s forest products and work around a theme of "Truth About Trees.” Truth About Trees is an educational component developed by the Hardwood Forest Foundation to help our youth understand where wood comes from and the important part forestry plays in their lives. This year, with a sponsorship from the Ohio Forestry Association Foundation, PLT conducted this workshop to provide important information to teachers about the role of forests and the value of wood products. Twenty six teachers from around southern Ohio participated in the event and coordinator Greg Smith, from the Division of Forestry advised that there were 11 Ag/FFA teachers in the group, which is the largest FFA component he has had. As part of the OFA Foundation sponsorship, each teacher was provided a Truth About Trees teacher’s kit for each to take back and use in his or her classroom. The OFA Foundation has plans to conduct two other similar programs this year, one in SE Ohio and one in NE Ohio.

Hocking College Graduate Looking for Employment
If you may be in the market for a technically trained forestry graduate, see the resume for Tyler Middaugh. Tyler is just now graduating from Hocking College but has some experience as a forestry technician intern at the Vinton Furnace State Experimental Forest. Tyler’s resume will be posted at the OFA Career Center under the Membership drop down on the website.

Coming Events
  • Ohio Society of American Foresters Summer Meeting, July 8-9, 2015, Cambridge, Ohio. The Ohio SAF Summer Meeting will feature reforestation reclamation of strip mine sites and will include a tour of a number of tree planting projects. You can find an agenda and register on-line.
  • OWIN Summer Meeting, July 22-23, 2015, Marietta, Ohio.
  • Forest Heritage Festival, August 8, 2015, Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds.
  • Ohio Tree Farm of the Year Tour, September 19, 2015, Sycamore Hills Tree Farm, Harrison County.
  • Paul Bunyan Show, October 2-4, 2015, Guernsey County Fairgrounds.

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