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Timber Talk 7/20/15

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Monday, July 20, 2015

OWIN Summer Meeting – This is the Week!
You can register last-minute for the summer meeting if you want to attend but better hurry! The on-line registration has been discontinued, so you can call Gayla at 888-388-7337, ext. 5 to register. You can see a list of who has registered at the OFA website for the meeting.

CAUV Action
In late June, a classaction complaint was filed in the Ashtabula County Court of Common Please against the State of Ohio, claiming that the state has incorrectly collected property taxes from landowners due to improperly determined Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) rates by the Department of Taxation. OFA has reported over the last half year our work with the Department of Taxation (DT) and the Agricultural Advisory Committee to establish fair and equitable rates. OFA believes that there remain problems and issues with CAUV rate determinations, in particular with woodland valuations related to land clearing costs. Revised land clearing costs adopted by DT are still significantly too low, thus causing forest land to be valued and taxed at too high a rate. Last week, OFA was invited to a meeting to discuss potential involvement in a class action complaint on CAUV, in an action separate from the filed claim in Ashtabula County. This issue will be discussed by the OFA Board at its next meeting during the OWIN Summer Meeting gathering.

OFA Meets With OSU Business Development
Last week, OFA met with staff from OSU South Centers Business Development Program in Piketon to discuss needs and opportunities for the forest products industry. Kelly O’Bryant, Business Development Specialist and Hannah Scott, Manager of the Ohio Cooperative Development Center, met to discuss work that could be done with OFA to help wood industry business opportunities. There was particular focus on training needs within the industry as well as the hiring and retention of qualified workers.

Support Sought in House for Biomass Carbon Neutrality; OFA Supports Action Through Coalition
The on-going battle concerning woody biomass and its impact on carbon emissions continues. Forestry and industry organizations nationwide continue to support research and efforts identifying woody biomass as a carbon-neutral product. Currently, in the US House, Congressmen Reid Ribble (R-WI) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) are spearheading a letter to the US EPA, Dept. of Energy, and USDA, supporting biomass as a carbon neutral product and urging the agencies to adopt policies that reflect that position. This effort mirrors a similar one in the Senate that gathered an amazing 46 signatures, with bi-partisan support. OFA has officially signed-on as a supporting association (see list here) and will be urging Ohio’s delegation to co-sign the letter. Individuals can easily weigh-in with their Congressman through the Forest Resource Association Take Action website. An electronic letter can be sent directly to your House member by simply providing your name and address on-line and using the sample letter. If you prefer you can change the letter or use something entirely different. But it only takes a minute to send this and Congress prefers receiving electronic mail.

Cong. Gibbs (R-Lakeview) Introduces Correct Safety Analysis Act of 2015, HR 3093
Ohio Congressman Bob Gibbs lastweek introduced the Correct the Safety Analysis Act of 2015, a bill that is aimed at improving compliance and safety rating systems for commercial haulers. The bill would reform the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rating system as Cong. Gibbs believes it is causing harm to the private sector.

RockTenn Merges With MeadWestvaco; Re-Named WestRock
Earlier this year, MeadWestvaco announced that it had purchased and merged with RockTenn (an OFA member company), forming a large packaging company with a combined net sales of almost $ 16 billion. The new company name is WestRock.

F&W Forestry Report
F&W is a large, international forestry consulting firm headquartered in Georgia. It publishes a quarterly report on market conditions, forestry issues, and other items pertinent to industry concerns. You can read the Summer 2015 Forestry Report at the link. The report has information on the latest actions by US EPA to re-define "Waters of the US” that could impact many land management activities, information about Congressional action on retention of favorable federal timber tax provisions currently in law, as well as the repeal of the federal estate tax which has a profound impact on loss of forest land in the US.

Report Says Power Plant Pollution Continues to Decrease
A report titled Benchmarking Air Emissions which contains results of studies of the nation’s largest electric utilities, indicates a continued decline in air emissions since regulation went into force 25 years ago. Three of the utilities, including AEP, Duke Energy, and FirstEnergy, have a particular presence in Ohio. The nation’s 100 largest utilities produce 87% of the industry’s air pollution. Among the findings, CO2 emissions have declined 12% from 2008 to 2013. The report was prepared by a consortium of groups including Bank of America, Calpine, Entergy Corp., Exelon, Public Service Enterprise Group, Ceres, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

ECOFA August Newsletter
Here is the August Newsletter of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association. Including normal business activities for the group, there is particular information on the upcoming Ohio Tree Farm Field Day on September 19 on the Sycamore Hill Tree Farm in Scio in Harrison County.

Coming Events
    • 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.
    • Tree Diagnostic Workshop, Friday, August 14, 2015, OSU – Mansfield Campus. Get information on common and not-so-common tree problems from OSU Extension Specialists in this all-day session (9 am – 3 pm), sponsored by the Ohio Woodland Stewards Program. There is a $35 cost and pre-registration is required. You can register on line at the Woodland Stewards Website. A flyer for the session is here.
    • Ohio Tree Farm of the Year Tour, September 19, 2015, Sycamore Hill Tree Farm, Harrison County.
    • Paul Bunyan Show, October 2-4, 2015, Guernsey County Fairgrounds.

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