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Timber Talk

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Wednesday, May 16, 2018

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 contains an interesting article on bed linens made with 70% birch fiber. See the complete newsletter at:

OFA Attends International Biomass Conference – Myself, and a handful of other OFA members, attended the 2018 International Biomass Conference & Expo in Atlanta, GA, April 16-18. This conference brought together interested parties, equipment and service providers, as well as over 100 speakers, from all over the country and the globe to learn and see the latest and greatest in the biomass industry sector. The first day of the event was the Biomass Carbonization and Torrefaction Summit, followed by 2 days of everything relating to biomass. My reason for attending was to learn more about the various components of this business so that I can be helpful to our members that are looking at projects to use Ohio’s overabundance of wood residuals.

The Biomass Torrefaction and Carbonization Summit centered around the manufacture and use of torrefied carbon pellets and biochar, as well as the research for developing markets for the various products developed from these processes.

The Biomass Conference and Expo, after a few opening speakers, was broken into 4 tracks: Pellets and Densified Biomass; Biomass Power and Thermal; Biomass & Waste-to-Energy; Advanced Biofuels and Biobased Chemicals. For the most part, I attended the sessions on Pellets and Densified Biomass, but crossed over to some of the other sessions that I thought were pertinent to our members interests.

I had several takeaways from the conference.

There is a lot of interest and equipment for manufacturing torrefied carbon and biochar, but very few developed markets.

There is still a lot of research being done on the many potential uses for biochar.

Wood vinegar, one of the potential byproducts from biochar production, can be a challenge because of its odor, but it does have uses.

“Black” pellets (densified, torrefied carbon), rival coal for BTU’s, use, and storage & handling characteristics, but doesn’t yet compete on a cost basis.

Using biomass in any of its forms for electricity production has constraints;

  1. Has a hard time competing straight up with coal or natural gas
  2. Most cost effective production uses steam for other purposes and runs electric generation off steam back-pressure
  3. Works best at polar extremes of size: small plant with combined heat and power with low wood cost, or; very large facility taking advantage of scale
  4. Almost imperative to be in a state with a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RFS) with access to Renewable Energy Credits (REC). In other words, it needs to be subsidized.
  5. Most likely scenarios are in states with RFS that has deadline to eliminate coal and has access to REC’s.

Very important in any of these projects to have contracts for your products up-front before getting deep into financing

There are some grants available to help with projects

It helps with financing to partner with larger, known entities for off-taking your products

Get help with financing, permitting, design, etc.

This was a very good conference. Anyone looking at getting into any of these lines of business should plan on attending the next one. I hope that some of my learning will be put to go use in the near future.

Northeast Ohio Forestry Association (NEOFA) NewsletterHere is the May 2018 edition of the NEOFA newsletter. It contains a recap of their April 27th banquet and auction, and previews their May 17th meeting that will feature Steve Ohman with a presentation on the Art and Collecting of Bonsai Trees.

Fact Sheets for Forestry Herbicide Sprayers – OSU Extension has recently released three fact sheets related to forestry herbicide sprayers and their use. These include boom sprayers, backpack sprayers, and hand can sprayers. The following fact sheets can be found on Ohioline at the related links.

Calibrating Boom Sprayers for Forestry Herbicide Application -

How Much Chemical Product Do I Need to Add to My Sprayer Tank? -

Proper Calibration and Operation of Backpack and Hand Can Sprayers -

3 Ohio Mussels Being Evaluated For Possible Endangered Species Act Protection – One of the key components in Ohio’s Master Logging Company Program is the training and use of Best Management Practices for Logging to reduce or eliminate soil movement into streams and other bodies of water. The importance of these practices, and their consistent use by loggers, is never more important than when Ohio’s aquatic species are under review for inclusion for protection within the Endangered Species Act. Following is information recently received by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service on 3 species of mussels being reviewed for this possible protection.

We want to make you aware the Asheville Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  has begun the process that culminates in the decision of whether three mussels warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. The mussels are:

  • Longsolid (Fusconaia subrotunda) – Currently found in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Round hickorynut (Obovaria subrotunda) – Currently found in Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
  • Purple Lilliput (Toxolasma lividum) – Currently found in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Virginia.

Although this timeline is tentative, we expect to spend the summer gathering and analyzing data on the current status of these mussels, as well as threats that could impact its future – positively or negatively. This will be followed in the fall by the completion and review of what we call a Species Status Assessment – a document that captures all the pertinent information on which we base our decision whether or not Endangered Species Act protection is warranted. That decision is expected late 2018-early 2019. If we conclude listing is not warranted, the process will end. If we conclude listing is warranted, then we will propose adding one or more of the mussels to the endangered species list, and consider the need for designated critical habitat. Those proposals would be open for public comment before a final decision is made.

These three mussels were part of a petition from a coalition of organizations to place 404 plants and animals on the federal threatened and endangered species list.

If you have any information concerning the status of these three mussels, or any threats they may face, we invite you to contact Mr. Andrew Henderson of our staff at 828/258-3939, Ext. 227;


Gene Editing May Help Improve The “Chocolate Tree” – Cutting edge research is being used to edit genes of the cacao tree to improve its resistance to diseases. The article at the following link, published this week in the Morning Ag Clips Newsletter, explains this research. Could this be a precursor to helping other tree species?

Pennsylvania Forestry Association (PFA) May 2018 e-Newsletter – For those of you on Ohio’s eastern border, you may be interested in some of the information in the PFA May 2018 e-newsletter. This issue highlights their recent 2018 Conservation Dinner and efforts to slow the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly.

Flood Damage Forces Closure of Leith Run Recreation Area – The Wayne National Forest recently announced the closure of the Leith Run Recreation Area campground due to damage caused during the late-winter, early-spring flooding that took place this year. Read the details in the news release.

3-Day Walnut Lumber Grading Class

May 22 - 24, 2018, 8:00am-4:30pm


Ohio State University South Centers
1864 Shyville Rd
Piketon, OH 45661 

Fee(s): NHLA members and Ohio Forestry Association Members $300, Non-Members $450

Description:  This seminar is designed to teach Walnut lumber grading. This is the only species that will be discussed.

Instructor: Tom Byers, NHLA National Inspector. Questions regarding this course should be directed to Becky Miller at 901-399-7569 or

To register call or email:  Becky Miller at 901-399-7569 or

Available hotels:

*Ameristay Inn, 800 W Emmitt Ave, Waverly, OH.
*Comfort Inn, 7525 US-23, Piketon, OH. 

Other Upcoming Events:

  • SRVLC Meeting – 5/17/18 – 7:00 PM – Wakefield, Ohio
  • Lumber Grading Short Course – 6/4 – 6/7/2018 – Yoder Lumber Company
  • 2018 Camp Canopy – 6/10 – 6/15/18 – Camp Muskingum, Carroll County

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