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Timber Talk 9/11/17

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Friday, September 15, 2017
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Important Notice: OFA's 614 area code phone and fax numbers have changed! The new phone number is 1-888-38-TREES (888-388-7337). The new fax number is 740-452-2552. Please update your records accordingly and change any speed dials you might have set up for us.

What is OFA doing for You?
I need to begin this article by saying that it appears that since I have been the Executive Director of OFA (19 months), I have not done a good job of keeping the general OFA membership informed of the many advocacy issues that we are in fact working on daily to help loggers, forest landowners, and everyone in the forest products industry. I sincerely apologize for that. As the result of a couple recent conversations that I have had with some OFA members about this, I will be producing a monthly “Issues & Advocacy” update in the Timber Talk Newsletter. This first writing will highlight some of the areas we are working in. I will be more detailed in some of the future editions on specific issues. Following is a break down into Localized, Statewide, National and Miscellaneous concerns.

Local

  • Road use issues for loggers and sawmills have been popping up in various counties. We have met with County Engineering departments in 3 Ohio counties (Coshocton, Portage, Trumbull) in the past several months to work on road use, permit, and bonding issues. We are currently actively involved with situations in Portage and Trumbull counties.
  • Municipal Anti-Harvesting Ordinances – Earlier this year, OFA participated in a meeting in Cuyahoga County with Division of Forestry personnel and members of the local county and municipality governmental systems, to discuss anti-harvesting ordinances that have been enacted in some municipalities in NE Ohio. We continue to stay tuned to this situation and will become more involved if the situation warrants.
  • Mohican Memorial State Forest – We have provided a letter of support for the proposed changes to the current management plan of the Mohican Memorial State Forest that will benefit both the forest, and the industry. We have also contacted local forest industry partners asking them to support these positive changes.
  • Dry-Kiln Cooperative – OFA and some of its members, along with the OSU South Centers, the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth, and others, have been working on a potential Dry-Kiln Co-Op in southern Ohio that would boost dry kilning capacity in that area for both large and small industry lumber producers. This project has been steadily moving forward for several months now and is getting closer to a final decision on whether or not it will happen. Stay tuned!

Statewide

We have spent a lot of time and effort in addressing the issues with forest landowner taxes through the CAUV and OFTL programs.

  • CAUV: We sit on the state’s Agricultural Advisory Committee to the Department of Tax Equalization which administers the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) tax program. With the help of a couple OFA members, we were able to provide data to the Department of Tax Equalization indicating that they need to make adjustments to the CAUV formula, which would significantly benefit forest landowners in this program. The Department of Tax Equalization has refused at this point to change the formula. We will continue to push for change in this program. We have been successful in getting the Department of Tax Equalization to address specific counties which we have identified as not properly administering the Woodland Tax Tables. If you have concerns with your county, please contact me.
  • OFTL: We have supported rule changes to the Ohio Forest Tax Law (OFTL) program, proposed by the Ohio Division of Forestry, that will make this program’s rules more user friendly for forest landowners in the program. We have also been in meetings and discussions with Ohio legislators on changing the tax rate for this program to make it a more attractive alternative for forest landowners over the CAUV program. Any tax reductions have been a hard sell in Ohio this year due to the State’s budget issues. We continue to work on this process.
  • Ohio Division of Forestry (DOF) Budget: During the state budgeting process this past spring and summer, we contacted and met with various state legislators to express our concerns with the FY 2018 budget cuts that were proposed, and eventually enacted, to the General Revenue Fund (GRF) budget for DOF. The DOF is a very active and important partner with OFA.
  • Wood Markets: Markets for residual wood materials have been a big problem in Ohio, especially since the closure of the WestRock paper mill in late 2015. We have been continually monitoring this situation and have been actively involved with a few groups that are looking at projects including: Biodiesel production, Biochar production, and Electricity generation. There have also been discussions with folks about Wood Pellets and Wood Fireplace Bricks. We also provided data for an entity looking at landing a Fibreboard mill in Ohio. That project ended up locating in another state. Most of these projects are very high capital intensive projects, and so it is taking a long time to get any of them online. We are looking under every rock to find markets for our member’s products, and will keep you updated on any positive developments on this front.
  • Industry Recognized Certificates for Schools: The Ohio Department of Education recently accepted OFA’s CSAW Level 1 and 2, and the Best Management Practices for Logging in Ohio, as Industry Recognized Certificates for Schools. OFA has been working on this process for over 2 years. This may help encourage more students to look at logging as a viable career, and give logging employers more already training job applicants to consider hiring.

National

There are several national level issues that can affect the forest products industry. On most of these issues, OFA has been actively advocating for our members in a variety of ways. In some cases, we meet with our national legislators’ offices. In some, we call these offices and voice our opinions and concerns. In others, we send letters of support for various legislation and acts of congress, or sign onto letters of support coming from a larger contingent of industry allies. Sometimes we do all of these on a given topic. Following are some of the national issues that we have been supporting and advocating for.

  • Future Careers in Logging Act: This Act will allow for 16 and 17 year old minors to operate certain pieces of mechanized logging equipment under the direct supervision of a parent. This could help stem the decline of our logging force.
  • Right-To-Haul Act: This Act would allow for loads to be hauled on the Interstate Highway System at the same weight limits allowed on state highways.
  •  Forests in The Farm Bill Coalition: OFA is part of this coalition that is trying to make sure that all the programs that are supported through the U.S. Department of Agriculture get addressed with proper funding in the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill.
  • Resilient Federal Forests Act: This Act would give the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management better tools to manage our forests, especially during times of catastrophic events such as wildfires, insect devastation, disease, hurricanes, etc.
  • Wildfire Funding: We are supporting legislation that would not require firefighting costs to be a total drain on US Forest Service budgets, taking away from their ability to provide forest management services, educational programs, and other important functions.
  • Working Forests Caucus: We have encouraged Ohio’s US Legislators to join this caucus at the federal level. This caucus was formed to advocate for working forests across the United States
  • Carbon Neutrality for Biomass: OFA has worked with the American Forest & Pulp Association (AF&PA) and other allies to get congress to pass legislation recognizing forest biomass as carbon neutral so that it can be promoted as a better alternative for the environment to many other fuel sources. Congress adopted legislation in May 2017 directing agencies (most notably EPA) to provide recognition of the carbon neutrality of forest-derived bioenergy. Work is still being done here to make sure that this legislation is permanent.
  • Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS): A recent decision was made by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to review and revise the definition of the Waters of the U.S., known as the WOTUS regulations. OFA has been active in supporting this review and revision along with partners across the country. This rule could create major issues for the logging industry if it is not corrected.
  • Point Source Pollution for Logging Roads: A recent victory that we have had on this issue relates to the BMP training through OFA’s Master Logging Company Program. Because of the amount and quality of BMP training and inspections that are voluntarily being implemented by Ohio and other states across the country, the U.S. EPA decided not to pursue additional Point Source Pollution designations for logging roads.
  • H-2B Worker Visa Program: This program supports many of the folks that come to the U.S. from other countries on a temporary work visa to work on tree planting crews and other intermittent jobs, but has recently bumped up against worker visa limits. On September 6, 2017 it was announced that an Agricultural Guestworker Act is slated to be introduced that would allow portions of forestry related work to be included in the new H-2C provisions.

Miscellaneous

We also are active participants in many committees across the state that work on logging and forestry issues, including: Ohio Tree Farm Committee, Agricultural Advisory Committee to the Ohio Department of Taxation, Ohio Woodland Stewards, Ohio Forestry Advisory Committee, Ohio Forest Stewardship Program, Sustainable Forestry Initiative State Implementation Committee, and others.

If at any time you have a question about one of these subjects, or have other issues that you would like OFA to assist with, please do not hesitate to contact myself or someone else at the OFA office.

Brad Perkins – OFA Executive Director


Master Logger Recertification
Master Loggers that are coming up for recertification may obtain all requirements at the one day recertification class being held at the Paul Bunyan Show. Register here.


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 has a couple interesting articles on “Free-Range Trees” labeling on food products, and on a millennial with a passion for logging. See this week’s complete newsletter here.


Ohio Tree Farm of the Year Tour – October 21, 2017 – Hepatica Falls Tree Farm
Be sure to put this date on your calendar! Randy and Koral Clum, Ohio’s most recent Tree Farmers of the Year, will be hosting a tour of their Tree Farm in Harrison County. They picked a Saturday when Ohio State is not playing football so that no one could use that as an excuse not to attend. There will be several professional foresters on hand to give interpretive tours of the property, and plenty of other fun outdoor activities taking place. Check out the flyer for details on location, times, parking, property facts, etc. See you there!


How To Deal With Dying Ash Trees On Your Property
Professionals from ODNR Division of Forestry, OSU Extension, and the Harrison, Jefferson, and Belmont County  SWCD’s will be conducting evening workshops to help landowners learn what they can do with the dead and dying ash trees, as a result of the Emerald Ash Borer, that are  quickly becoming a safety issue in peoples yards and other areas. The workshops will be held on the following dates: Harrison County - September 27 at 5:30 PM at the Puskarich Library; Jefferson County - October 18 at 6:00 PM at the Eastern Gateway Community College; Belmont County -  October 24 at 6:00 PM at the Barnesville Library Annex. See the flyers for more details and registration information.


Pennsylvania Forestry Association (PFA) September e-Newsletter
For those of you on Ohio’s eastern border, you may be interested in some of the information in the PFA September 2017 newsletter. Of special interest might be the quarantines that have been put in place, and recently expanded, in areas of northwestern PA for the Spotted Lanternfly.


Welcome New OFA Members!
The Ohio Forestry Association would like to welcome the following new association members that came on board in August of this year. New Members, please don’t hesitate to contact myself or anyone else at OFA to let us know if we are meeting your needs and expectations.

Contractors

  • Tony Robinson, Robinson Contracting of Bartlett, Ohio
  • Chris Owings, Owings Logging of Chillicothe, Ohio

Individuals

  • Brad Breisch of Heavy Timber Truss & Frame, St. Clairsville, Ohio

Secondary Manufacturers

  • Mark Knisley, Mark Knisley Logging of Bainbridge, Ohio

Suppliers

  • Charlie Denallo, Erichar LLC of Port Clinton, Ohio
  • Johnny Thompson, Landmark Spatial Solutions of Starkville, MS
  • Anthony Sebastiani, CUTit Industrial Oils of Austintown, Ohio

Southern Ohio Forestland Newsletter (SOFA) for September
SOFA has put out their September 2017 newsletter. Read all about their activities, their upcoming events schedule, and more.


Other Upcoming Events:

  • ECOLC Meeting – 9/18/17 – 7:00 PM – Millersburg, Ohio
  • Farm Science Review – 9/19-21/17 – London, Ohio
  • MRWIG Field Day – 9/23/17 -10:00 AM – McGee Farm, Philo, Ohio
  • Lumber Grading/Yield Analysis Short Course - OSU South Centers, Piketon - 10/2-10/6/17
  • Master Logger Re-Certification - Guernsey County Fairgrounds/Paul Bunyan Show - 10/6/17
  • Paul Bunyan Show – 10/6–8/17 – Guernsey County Fairgrounds

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