Posted By Gayla Fleming,
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
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Public Comments for Hardwood Check-Off Accepted Through September 7, 2015
This is a reminder that the USDA is accepting public comments on the supplemental order for the Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research, and Information Order ("Hardwood Check-Off”) through Labor Day, September 7, 2015. Those wishing to file comments can do so by either filing on line or submitting comments through regular mail. To submit comments on-line, go to the Regulations.gov. This link will take you to the Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion Order. Click on the "Comment Now!” button and then fill in the information accordingly. Your comments will be posted with your name and anyone visiting the site can see the. Here is the note on the site that provides guidance on making a comment, particularly if you do so by regular mail: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments on the Internet at http://www.regulations.govor to the Promotion and Economics Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1406-S, Stop 0244, Washington, DC 20250- 0244; facsimile: (202) 205-2800. All comments should reference the docket number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available for public inspection, including the name and address if provided, in the above office during regular business hours or can be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov.
Landowners Appeal Woodland Valuations Under CAUV
A group of landowners with woodlands enrolled under the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) Program have filed an appeal with the State Board of Tax Appeals against the Ohio Tax Commissioner’s latest determination of woodland values under CAUV. A copy of the suit can be found here.It is very long due to the inclusion of the list of the state CAUV values for all Ohio soil types. Very briefly, the appeal focuses on one element of woodland value determinations – the cost of land clearing. CAUV woodland value determinations are based on soil productivity values less the cost to clear the woodlands and put them into crop production. Until this year, the Tax Commissioner used a land clearing average cost of $500/acre but raised it to $1,000/acre with the latest figures. The landowner group contests that the $1,000/acre figure remains far below current values ($3,350/acre according to the appeal). The group is appealing the Tax Commissioner determination. Go to page 18 to see a summary of the relief sought through the appeal. NOTE: If any woodland owner enrolled under CAUV would like to become part of the appeal, you can do so with a payment of $300 plus $1/acre for each acre of enrolled woodland. Contact OFA if you have questions or might be interested with participating.
Ohio Logger Killed in Logging Accident
A logger from Athens County was killed last week in a logging accident. According to reports, the skidder operator was trying to winch logs up a hill. In the process the skidder rolled over when it moved sideways on a hill. The operator was thrown from the skidder and was then caught under the skidder. There was an article in the Athens Messenger on the accident. Our regrets and condolences to the family who suffered the loss and to the logging company, Randy Tompkins Logging, an OFA member and Master Logging Company. It is another reminder of the risks and dangers involved in the logging business.
BWC Group Rating Safety Accountability/Local Government BWC Rates to be Cut
This information is particularly for OFA members who participate in the Workers Compensation OFA Group Rating Program that is administered by third-party administrator CareWorks Consultants, Inc. (CCI). Please see the Group-Rating Safety Accountability Letter to participating employers. It summarizes the responsibilities of all the parties involved in the group process, including the employer (you), group sponsor (OFA), the third-party administrator (CCI), and the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation. In other news, BWC Director Steve Buehrer announced that local governments could have their rates cut 9% if approved by the BWC Board at its September meeting. The Director indicates that with other cuts, the total local government rates have been reduced 26.5% since 2011. The new rates would be effective January 1, 2016.
CTP Truck Weight Reform
The Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP) is endorsing new legislation that will soon be introduced on reforming truck weight limits, increasing the GVW to 91,000# with the addition of a 6th axle. Many recall that truck weight reform has been talked about for quite some time and the push had been to increase GVW to 97,000#. For a number of reasons, CTP is now promoting a revised approach of a more modest increase. The legislation will be introduced by Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI).This Fact Sheet prepared by CTP explains the new approach and provides a full summary of the advantages and benefits to truck weight reform. It is an issue that if passed at the federal level could have long-term and profound impacts on weight issues across the country and in the states. CTP is asking associations, industry, and members to contract Congressional reps to let them you support the legislation and to ask them to support the same. You can contact your Representative to have them support the legislation.
Consolidation Hits the U.S. Wood Pellet Manufacturing Sector
A recent report by FutureMetrics LLC on the U.S. wood pellet manufacturing sector indicates consolidation within this sector is likely in the future, particularly as oil prices weaken, forcing reduction in wood pellet pricing. According to the report, there are 121 pellet manufacturing plants in the U.S (2 in Ohio) that produce more than 15,000 tons per year. Half of these produce less than 60,000 tons per year, and 3 out of 4 produce under 100,000 tons per year. It appears that the breakeven cost per unit of energy is at $230 per ton retail price of pellets and $37 per barrel of oil ($1.95/gal. heating oil). FutureMetrics believes that more consolidation of the pellet manufacturing in the U.S. will take place.
Study: Biofuel Use Saved 589 Million Tons of Carbon Emissions Over the Past Decade
According to a recent study completed by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, in place for 10 years and signed by President George Bush, was intended to cut America’s reliance on foreign oil and reduce carbon emissions. According to the BIO report, over the 10 year period, the U.S. use of biofuels displaced 1.9 billion barrels of foreign oil and reduced carbon emissions by 589.3 million metric tons, the equivalent of removing 124 million cars from the road over the 10 year period. This report comes out as concerns over biomass consideration in the Clean Power Plan continue to loom. According to BIO, the new plan would significantly affect the use of biofuels in the future and cut short the gains in carbon emissions reductions.
ODNR Releases Oil and Gas Production Figures
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources released oil and gas production rates for the 2015 second quarter. Horizontal shale well produced 5,578,255 barrels of oil and 221,860,169 Mcf (221 billion cubic feet) of natural gas during the 3-month period. These are record breaking numbers for the last 100 years of Ohio history. In spite of the changing prices in the oil and gas markets, Ohio production has increased. The first half of 2015 is showing an increase of 126% on oil and 160% on gas from the same time in 2014. The report also indicates there are 1,020 wells drilled with 978 of them reporting production. The remaining 42 show no production as they await pipeline infrastructure development
Indiana Training Schedule
Dan Cassens from Purdue University is offering a series of specialized industry training for Indiana Hardwood Lumber Association members. Dan sent OFA the list of classes and offered them to OFA members to attend. Here is the list of 6 classes that run from late September through mid-November. Most of the classes deal with the manufacture and sale of hardwood lumber. You can find more information on the IHLA website.
- Lumberman’s Outing, September 9, 2015, The Pines Golf Course, Orrville, and Lost Bird Sporting Clays, Fredericksburg. The Lumberman’s Outing this year will donate proceeds to the Rob McCarthy Family as they deal with costs associated with family health issues. Last week, Rob’s wife Martha lost her long-time battle with cancer, and we extend our sincerest sympathy and condolences to Rob and his children.
- Ohio Tree Farm of the Year Tour, September 19, 2015, Sycamore Hill Tree Farm, Harrison County. Hereis a flyer on the Tree Farm Tour with information on presentations and activities for the day. There are numerous presentations on landowner management activities. Of special note is that there will be information on past and present oil and gas activities in that part of the state. The Sycamore Hill Tree Farm recently had a horizontal, Utica Shale well drilled on the property and visitors will get the chance to see first-hand what kind of "footprint” the well produces in a forested landscape. The agenda promises to offer a great day for all who attend. Please note that the planners would appreciate an "RSVP” if you plan to attend.
- Southeast Ohio Tree Care Conference, Wednesday, September 30, 2015, Athens, Ohio. This is a tree care conference designed primarily for tree care in community settings. But there are a couple presentations that may be of interest to those interested in forest tree care as well. Dr. Joanne Rebbeck, researcher with the U.S. Forest Service in Delaware, Ohio will talk about biocontrol for Ailanthus and possible future opportunities to control this invasive pest. (See a Columbus Dispatch article about the work Dr. Rebbeck is doing to control Ailanthus with a fungus.) There is also a presentation on Saving Ohio’s Pollinators by Diane Kahal-Berman, an Engineer with the Ohio Department of Transportation. The one-day workshop has a $23 registration fee which includes lunch. The workshop will be at the ODNR headquarters in Athens.
- Paul Bunyan Show, October 2-4, 2015, Guernsey County Fairgrounds
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