Posted By Gayla Fleming,
Monday, July 13, 2015
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OWIN Summer Meeting is Almost Here!
It’s getting close. The OWIN Summer Meeting is next week, July 22-23, 2015 in Marietta. Gayla advises that there is still plenty of space to register for the various events as well as opportunity to help sponsor activities. As always you can register on-line through this Friday, or you can simply call Gayla or Pam at the OFA office, 614-497-9580. Either will get you taken care of in very short order. Hope to see many of you in Marietta!
Hardwood Check-Off News
We reported recently that the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, the agency in charge of commodity check-off programs, had extended the comment period on the revised "Hardwood Check-Off” order through September 7, 2015. Those wishing to make comments can do so until that time, and you can view all the comments that have been provided since the order was first issued on the Regulations.govwebsite. OFA has been reviewing the order and will file comments by the extended deadline. OFA is also working with a coalition of state associations that had opposed the originally submitted order.
U.S. House passes The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, HR 2647
The House of Representatives last week passed HR 2647 on a vote of 262 to 167 with 19 Democrats voting in favor of the bill. The Ohio delegation voted along party lines, with 11 Republicans voting for the bill and 4 Democrats against. OFA was part of a national coalition of associations and forestry groups who supported passage of the bill. The coalition believes that enactment of the bill will enhance management of federal forest lands and decrease bureaucracy slowing down projects. The bill now must be passed by the Senate.
OMB Argues that Biomass is Not Carbon Neutral
According to an article in Biomass Magazine, the Office of Budget and Management (OMB) recently objected to a provision in HR 2822, the Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, that indicated air emissions from forest biomass as carbon neutral. The text of the bill would require EPA to consider biomass as carbon neutral in relation to air emissions rules and regulations, and it would allow states to establish policies regarding biomass as carbon neutral. In response to the bill, OMB published a statement indicating that the Obama Administration does not hold that policy. That seems to conflict with statements coming out of USDA that indicate biomass is in fact carbon neutral.
Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP) Urges Congress to Take Action on Truck Weight Reform
With the recent release of U.S. DOT’s Comprehensive Truck Size & Weight Limits Study, CTP is urging Congress to take action and revise federal law on commercial truck GVW. The study essentially confirmed research that shows heavier commercial trucks with a 97,000# GVW and an additional axle are as safe as lighter truck weights and produce lower logistics costs, vehicle miles, and road maintenance costs. You can read the letter sent by John Runyan, Executive Director of CTP to Congress on the importance of the issue. You can also take a look at a one-page summary of the DOT Study findings to get a quick take on the results of the research review. There truly could be great benefits to allowing heavier hauls on US highways. To help get the word out on the results of the study, CTP has been sending out news releases to various media outlets. You can read one of the releases on the Transportation Topics website. If you would particularly like to let your Congressman or Congresswoman know about how you feel for the issue, you can do so easily by sending an on-line letterthrough the CTP website. It is easier and better to send on-line than by "snail mail” as security measures in Washington DC make sending hard copy mail very time-consuming and difficult. The website has a sample letter that you can quickly send. At the moment, the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works has been working on S 1647, Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act, which is a 6-year highway funding bill. The committee passed this bill last week, but it currently does not have any language for comprehensive truck weight reform on federal highways.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), a third-party verified forest certification program started as an industry-led initiative to demonstrate the sustainability of America’s forests, celebrates 20 years as a program. To that end, SFI has produced a reportof its accomplishments and growth over the 20 years. A few notable points raised in the report over the 20 years is that SFI companies have contributed over $1.5 billion in forest research during that time, an amazing amount of work. More than a quarter billion acres (259 million) of forest land worldwide are now certified according to the SFI Forest Management Standard, making SFI the largest certification standard in the world. The Ohio SFI Implementation Committee (SIC) is one of 34 state, provincial and regional SICs. A recent survey of 20,000 U.S. consumers shows that 23% recognize the SFI logo and understand its meaning. The Ohio Master Logging Company Program participates in the SFI program and training helps accomplish SFI goals. Nearly 10,000 logging and resource professionals were trained during 2014. For reference, the Ohio Division of Forestry has its state forests certified according to the SFI Forest Management Standard, as well as through the FSC standard. The report is fairly long at over 60 pages but there are a few summary pages in the beginning that highlight program accomplishments.
Lumber Grading Short Course at OSU South Centers a Success
The Pike County News Watchman wrote a nice article about the recent Lumber Grading Short Course y held at the OSU South Centers in Piketon. A total of 18 participants were in the class. This was the same short course that was offered at Yoder Lumber Co. in Millersburg in June. However, this class included an optional 1-day walnut grading course at the end of the week. Barry Kibbey, NHLA Inspector, was the instructor for the course. As part of this class and the one held in June in Millersburg, the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG) in Nelsonville provided grant funds to reimburse attendees for the cost of the class so long as participants were from the Appalachian region.
- OWIN Summer Meeting, July 22-23, 2015, Marietta, Ohio.
- Pipeline Easements and Right-of-Way Agreements, August 3, 2015, Cadiz, Ohio. OSU Extension and the Ohio Farm Bureau are co-hosting a free, evening seminar (6-8 pm) at the Puskarich Library in Cadiz, Ohio for landowners and others interested in learning more about pipeline easements and right-of-way agreements. Even though the seminar is free, sponsors ask that attendees register ahead of time. Here is a flyer on the event.
- 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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