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Timber Talk 10/26/15

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Monday, October 26, 2015

WestRock Closing Follow-up
The announcement just over a week ago that the WestRock mill in Coshocton would immediately stop purchasing wood and would soon cease operation caught many by surprise, with fall-out still taking place. Finding alternative buyers for the considerable amount of wood the facility purchased is very difficult if not impossible for producers. Some have found alternatives, but many are without options. There have been reports of cancelled equipment purchases, stalled timber sales, and lay-offs as a result. Not good news. But there are some efforts taking place to create new markets and outlets for the wood, as several opportunities are being discussed and looked at. OFA is working with a couple of these to provide information and assist with industry contacts and meetings. We will continue doing all we can to assist in the hopes of developing new opportunities. OFA is also working with the state Economic Development people to create awareness and seek whatever assistance the state can offer in this unusual time.
New 1,100 MW Natural Gas Fired Electric Generating Facility Planned for Columbiana County
Last week, South Field Energy LLC announced plans to build a new electric generating facility in Columbiana County, one fired by natural gas. This is the company’s second facility in northeastern Ohio, which is currently building a 700 MW facility near Carrollton. The new project will take about 3 years to build and create about 550 construction jobs. The facility will eventually employ 25 full-time staff.
Muskingum River Woodland Interest Group (MRWIG) October Newsletter
Here is the latest newsletter from MRWIG. Of particular note is the inclusion of the thank-you letter from a recent OFA Forestry and Wildlife Conservation camp attendee. MRWIG helped Chelsie Kotlar from Sherrodsville, Ohio attend the camp with a scholarship. She notes that she went from a reluctant attendee prior to the camp to one that now wants to major in Forestry and Wildlife in college. This is just another example of the many positive camp experiences students find when they attend the camp.
Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (STRRA) News
The STRRA, or the Highway Bill (HR 3763), just passed out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is expected to move to the House floor for vote the first week of November. Many are hoping that the Safe Trucking Act, HR 3488, sponsored by Cong. Reid Ribble (R-WI) will be added as an amendment to the Highway Bill, and it appears that it could be up for vote as an amendment at the same time. To that end, OFA has participated with a number of state and national associations, businesses, and other groups to promote and lobby for the Safe Trucking Act. The Highway Bill represents a very good opportunity to see weight reform become enacted. You can read a summary of the highlights of STRRA here, as well as a more comprehensive breakdown of the entire Highway bill.
Rural Energy for America Renewable Energy Grant Program Due Date Reminder
Randy Monhemius, Business Program Specialist with the USDA, Rural Development, is reminding everyone that November 2, 2015 is the deadline for Rural Energy for America Program grant applications for those requesting less than $20,000. This program is for small businesses and agricultural producers to help them install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. Grant money can pay for up to 25% of project costs. Ohio businesses can contact Randy at 614-255-2424 or Christie Hooks at 614-255-2397 if there are any questions.
Back to the Future on Biomass Energy
With all the hype lately about the "Back to the Future” date finally getting here, the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) provides a timely "tongue-in-cheek”take on the disaster of woody biomass as a renewable energy that environmentalists predicted 30 years ago. It’s a take that hasn’t come true and NAFO points that out in the link above. Today, there are still those arguing against the carbon neutrality of biomass as it relates to the climate action plans, and that using biomass will lead to massive deforestation and other loss of forests. NAFO takes aim at those wrong ideas.
"Truth About Trees” Teacher Materials Used in Grade School Field Day
Over the last year, the OFA Foundation wanted to promote the "Truth About Trees” message from Hardwood Forest Foundation through several Project Learning Tree seminars around the state. As many know, PLT "trains the trainer” by providing grade school teachers tools and skills to teach natural resource awareness to their students. The OFA Foundation sponsors the PLT workshop and makes "Truth About Trees” Teacher Kits available to every teacher and natural resourced educator who attends the sessions. In June, there was a two-day event held at the Vinton Furnace State Forest which highlighted forestry and forest products as the primary theme of the session. The 30 attendees visited the Superior Hardwoods of Ohio sawmill in McArthur as part of their session. Recently, two of the attendees from River View Local Schools participated in a 2nd Grade Farm Day and as part of that session, the Agriculture Education Department covered a wide array of farm topics, including a forestry session, during which they used Truth About Trees materials.
Upcoming Events
Master Logger Training:
Best Management Practices - October 29, 2015, Scioto Trail State Forest
Training needed for Master Logger Certification. The day-long training requires pre-registration. Lunch is provided. CSAW Level 1 - October 30, 2015, Scioto Trail State Forest
Chainsaw training for Master Logger Certification. Pre-registration required. Lunch is provided.
Ohio Woodland Stewards: Winter Tree Workshops
October 30, 2015, Geauga County
November 6, 2015, Butler County
The Ohio Woodland Steward Program is hosting Winter Tree Workshops in northeast and southwest Ohio to help participants identify Ohio trees in the winter. Both are full day workshops which require registration, and a fee of $35. OFA Annual Meeting - March 9-10, 2015, Dublin Embassy Suites. Get it on your calendar!

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