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Important Notice: OFA's local 614 area code phone and fax numbers are changing! The new phone number will be 1-888-38-TREES (888-388-7337). The new fax number will be 740-452-2552. Please update your records accordingly and change any speed dials you might have set up for us. The 614 numbers will be disconnected effective May 1!
Forest Markets Weekly Newsletter
The National Association of State Foresters' Forest Markets Committee releases a Weekly Newsletter full of all things Forestry and Forest Products Industry related. Each week’s newsletter has articles about: Forest Markets, Housing, Working Forests, New Products and Technology, and Renewable Energy. This week’s newsletter includes a report on introduced legislation called “The Future Logging Career Act”, that would allow 16 and 17 year olds to work in logging operations under parental supervision. See the complete newsletter here.
Northeast Ohio Forestry Association (NEOFA) Newsletter
Here is the March 2017 edition of the NEOFA newsletter. It contains information about their next meeting topic and speaker, which will be Jeff Herrick discussing the “Young Forest Project Initiative”, and a recap of their last meeting’s program which featured auctioneer Darryl McGuire discussing the process of auctioning your timber.
Maple Syrup Festival March 25 in Montpelier, Ohio
The Williams County Fairgrounds in Montpelier, Ohio, is the location for this year’s annual Maple Syrup Festival in northwest Ohio. Joining the event this year will be the Northwest Ohio Woodland & Wildlife Family Festival and the Northwest Ohio Loggers Chapter. This event is chock full of educational sessions from many local and state education partners. And, of course, there’s always the prerequisite sausage and pancake breakfast with maple syrup. Get the details here.
Wayne National Forest Proposing Changes to Recreation Fees
The Wayne National Forest is seeking public comments on a proposal that would change recreation fees to enhance campgrounds and trails and help attract more visitors to southeast Ohio. The proposal calls for reducing trail permit fees for off-highway vehicle (OHV) users and eliminating fees for horse and mountain bike users. At the same time, it will increase camping fees at some sites, reduce some, and leave some unchanged. The “Wayne” hopes that the reduction in trail use fees will increase use of the forest trails, as that use has declined in the past 8 years. Get the details, and see how to make public comments on the issues from this news release.
East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA) Newsletter
Here is the East Central Ohio Forestry Association April 2017 Newsletter. As always, it gives reports from their previous meeting, as well as a schedule of upcoming events. This newsletter contains an account of John Morton’s presentation at the last meeting on “Young Forest Habitat: It’s Importance to Birds and Mammals with Declining Populations.”
Monthly Housing Starts Data & Commentary
Following are two links to the Virginia Tech - U.S. Forest Service housing market commentaries for January 2017. These files contain in-depth data and comments on the U.S. housing market. Part 1: Main Report, Part 2: Economic Conditions Report. The housing report is a free service of Virginia Tech, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Forest Service. The reports are intended to help gauge future business activity. We are currently reviewing the value of the housing report and investigating potential improvements. For this reason, please take this brief anonymous survey (9 questions, 5 minutes).
Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant Application Deadline is March 31, 2017
The deadline for the submission of grant applications for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is March 31, 2017. Any applicant intending to apply for the REAP grant to fund the installation of a renewable energy project or an energy efficiency improvement project must ensure the grant application package is received in the Rural Development State Office by 4:30 p.m. on March 31, 2017. The address is listed below. Any REAP grant application received after that time will be considered in the next applicable round of available funding.
The REAP grants are available on a competitive basis to rural small for-profit businesses or agricultural producers who intend to install a renewable energy system or an energy efficiency improvement project. The grant assistance is available for up to 25% of the eligible project costs. Only costs incurred after an application is received in this office are considered to be eligible project costs if the project is selected for funding.
Please remember this is a highly competitive grant program and not all applications receive the grant funding which is requested. Applications will be assigned a score based upon the information and documentation contained within the complete application. Funding will be awarded to the highest scoring projects until the funding allocated to the Ohio Rural Development office has been exhausted. Applications which are not award funding will be notified of that decision as well.
Additionally, Rural Energy for America Program loan guarantees are available to help fund renewable energy projects or energy efficiency improvement projects. These loan guarantees can provide better rates and longer terms on loans thereby improving the cash flow and the opportunity for success. Credit worthy applicants and projects which use the loan guarantee program can greatly improve the financial viability of the project by using the REAP loan guarantees. Loan guarantees can help fund up to 75% of the eligible project cost of a renewable energy project or an energy efficiency improvement project. Loan Guarantee requests are accepted on a continual basis with funding awarded to eligible viable projects throughout the fiscal year.
Should you have any questions or need additional information on the REAP Grants or Loan Guarantees, please contact Randy Monhemius at: Randy.Monhemius@oh.usda.gov or 614-255-2424 or one of the two program specialists listed below:
Jennifer Brown, Jennifer.Brown@oh.usda.gov or 614-255-2423
Christie Hooks, Christie.Hooks@oh.usda.gov or 614-255-2397
Kentucky Forest Industry Association (KFIA) March 2017 Newsletter
For those interested to see some of the same, as well as different, issues that our forest industry members in neighboring Kentucky are dealing with, read the KFIA March newsletter, including information on their April 2017 Annual Meeting with the theme “Money Does Grow on Trees”. Thanks to former OFA president, Rob McCarthy for forwarding us this information.
“Hardwood Leader” Reports Hardwood Market Improvements for January & February
As reported in the “Big Picture” column of the April 2017 Hardwood Leader publication: Domestic hardwood demand improved at the end of Feb, with distribution yards and cabinet manufacturers reporting strong sales. Increased demand coincided with several positive economic indicators, including consumer confidence reaching a 15-year high in Feb. The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates this week, largely due to the better-than-expected first jobs report under President Trump. Construction and manufacturing jobs were among the biggest gainers in Feb, while wages rose at their fastest pace since the Great Recession. U.S. existing home sales started strong in 2017, and single-family starts in Jan were the best in a decade. Permits also point to strong spring and summer construction. The battle over repealing and replacing Obamacare has tapered talk of tax cuts, perhaps until fall, or later. President Trump’s proposed FY 2018 budget is also expected to be a battle, with several agencies, including the EPA, facing steep cuts to offset a $54 billion increase in military spending. Exports in Jan proved the Dec slowdown was temporary, as shipments were up 18% year-over-year. China accounted for 56% of total exports in Jan, and volumes were 22% ahead of last year’s pace. Red Oak exports set a record in Jan, while only Hard Maple exports were smaller year-over-year.
National Firewood Workshop – April 27, 2017 – Statesville, NC
The National Firewood Workshop, sponsored by the Wood Education and Resource Center of Princeton, WV, is considered by many to be the best supporting educational and networking event of 2017 for the split firewood industry. The focus of this one day workshop is to promote profitable operation of firewood businesses by gathering the top professionals in the firewood industry and sharing information on how to better operate a firewood business to grow sales and profitability. Topics will include updates from supporting firewood industry associations, latest information on problem insects and firewood quarantines, decision making for small, medium and large sized firewood processors, kiln drying equipment and air seasoning methods, marketing, firewood business owners report on their successes and less than successful decisions, sourcing logs in rural and urban environments, wood stove design and emission issues update, business management and strategy to grow sales and profitability, firewood marketing segment reports (green split, kiln dried bundles, kiln dried split, kindling, restaurants, etc.), firewood add on business options for arborists and loggers. Firewood processor manufacturers and dealers will be on site demonstrating their equipment. There may also be a firewood dry kiln on site. They are encouraging any business involved in the firewood and forest products industries to set up an information table to promote their businesses. There is no charge for a business to promote itself with an information table or by giving equipment demonstrations. Over 150 participants are expected.
The workshop starts at 9 am and runs to 4:30 pm with a long lunch break for demonstrations. There will be a buffet lunch with North Carolina BBQ pork and chicken. The cost is $30 per person. This workshop is also sponsored by the Wood Products Extension Department and Harry Watt is the contact person, cell phone 704-880-3067, email email@example.com, website http://outreach.cnr.ncsu.edu/ncwood/nfw2017.php. The location is the Iredell County Agricultural Center located at 444 Bristol Road, Statesville, NC 28677 and is just off Interstates 40 and 77. Online registration can be found at https://forestry.ces.ncsu.ed/events. See the brochure for all the details.
- 2017 Ohio Botanical Symposium – 3/24/17 – Villa Milano Banquet & Conference Center, Columbus, Ohio
- Maple Syrup Festival – 3/25/17 - Montpelier, Ohio
- BMP 8 Hour Class – 3/30/17 – 8:00 AM, Bloomingdale, Ohio
- CSAW Level 1 Class - 3/30/17 – 8:00 AM, Bloomingdale, Ohio
- White Oak Conference – 4/4/17 – 1:00 PM, Embassy Suites, 1801 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY
- SEOLC Meeting – 4/12/17 – 7:00 PM, Jackson, Ohio
- ECOLC Meeting – 4/17/17 – 7:00 PM, Millersburg, Ohio
- MVLC Meeting – 4/19/17 – 7:00 PM, McConnelsville, Ohio
- SRVLC Meeting – 4/20/17 – 7:00 PM, Wakefield, Ohio
- SVLC Meeting – 4/20/17 – 5:30 PM, Bergholz, Ohio