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Timber Talk

Posted By Denise Foster, Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Guidance on Ohio’s “Stay at Home Order”
and Your Individual Business

As you are most likely aware, on Sunday, March 22, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued a “stay-at-home” order, effectively ordering people in “non-essential” jobs to stay at home, with a few exceptions.

In issuing the order, the Governor is using the following guidance document, "MEMORANDUM ON IDENTIFICATION OF ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS DURING COVID-19 RESPONSE", released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 19 ,2020, to determine the criteria for Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.

According to that document, Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce includes "Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products".

America needs our industry to continue producing the paper-based products used daily by all Americans as well as in the medical field. We need packaging materials to ship these and many other important products in. We need pallets to ship all these packaged products to those in need around the country. These are just a few of the essential critical infrastructure items that the forest products industry in Ohio supplies.

The bottom line is that the forest products industry and its workforce have been declared as “essential” to the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to keep America running.

As an individual business, it is ultimately your decision as to whether or not to continue operating. If you do keep operating, please be sure to follow all “social distancing” guidelines, as outlined in the ODH Stay at Home document.

A Letter of Guidance for the Forest Products Industry
from Ohio Division of Forestry Chief, Dan Balser,
Concerning Recent “Stay at Home Order”


To Ohio’s Forest Products Industry:

I am reaching out to you with this guidance in light of the Ohio Department of Health’s Stay at Home Order issued today.  I have attached it for your consideration and encourage you to read it. I hope it will help you answer questions that you may have. With the exception of persons engaged in essential work or activity, Dr. Amy Acton has ordered every resident of the State of Ohio to stay in their home from 11:59 pm on March 23 to 11:59 pm on April 6.  

The order authorizes individuals to leave their residence to perform work deemed essential such as to offer, provide, operate, maintain and repair essential infrastructure and for work in agriculture.  The order is intended to be broadly defined, and for purposes of Ohio’s forest products industry this would include timber harvesting and manufacturing of wood products.  Specifically, the order references the United States Department of Homeland Security guidance document on identifying critical infrastructure workers during the COVID-19 response.  This document specifically mentions “Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to, timber, paper, and other wood products” as critical to the nation’s response. Further, the division will allow any active or planned harvest on state forests to continue under the normal conditions of the contract.

Also, in accordance with the order, the forest products industry must comply with the social distancing requirements and the COVID-19 checklist specified in the order.  I emphasize this to minimize exposure of industry employees and our staff to the COVID-19 virus.

As I communicated previously, the Division has taken steps, based on the recommendations of health experts and directives from Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health, to ensure that we are protecting the health, safety and welfare of our employees and Ohio citizens. Many of our employees are working remotely during this time. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this temporary arrangement. It is the Division of Forestry’s goal for these changes to minimally affect business operations.


Daniel Balser, Chief
ODNR, Division of Forestry

Forest Markets Weekly Newsletters

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. Multiple articles in this week’s newsletter discusses business conditions and the Coronavirus issues.  See the complete newsletter.

E.B. Miller Memorial Scholarship Application Deadline April 15

The deadline for applications for the Ohio Forestry Association Foundation’s E.B. Miller Memorial Scholarship is April 15, 2020. If you know a student that is going into, or is currently enrolled in, a course of study in a natural resources field, have them fill put an application for this worthwhile scholarship. The application form is here, or can be found on the OFA website.

From The Hardwood Leader – The Big Picture

Following is “The Big Picture” from the April 2020 Hardwood Leader, produced and distributed by Hardwood Publishing Inc. This “Big Picture” summary discusses issues surrounding the COVIC-19 outbreak, constrained lumber production, and low interest rates.

China says it is getting back to normal, and our translator in Shanghai confirms people are moving about again. Yet the world is on lockdown and normal activities have ground to a halt. So, what to predict? Absent the virus, the hardwood lumber market outlook would be as good as it has been in two years. Production is low, Chinese tariffs have been lifted, and sales are picking up. Domestic demand would be at least as strong as last year. Then again, absent the virus, China may not have lifted the tariffs and things would be just so-so. Whatever we forecast today will be wrong 30 days from now, as sure as was our forecast 30 days ago that Red Oak prices would take a hit from Chinese buyers refusing containers at the ports. We couldn’t anticipate China would lift tariffs any more than we can predict the next sudden shift in the pandemic or government responses to it.

The best guess is that domestic and international trade will be sharply subdued for at least the next month. Fortunately, lumber production continues to be constrained by log availability, which will help prevent runaway inventories. On the upside, strip flooring sales have bumped up ahead of the spring housing boom, which is getting an extra boost from low mortgage rates.

CareWorks Comp Announces On-Site Seminar Cancellations - Ohio Industrial Commission Also Suspending In-Person Hearings

Important Update Regarding Statewide Seminars and Industrial Commission Hearings

In response to statewide implementation of Coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention measures, CareWorks Comp is canceling all upcoming on-site statewide seminars that were scheduled in 3 locations this May. We have chosen to cancel the seminars for two very important reasons – the health and safety of our clients and the health and safety of our colleagues.

If you have already registered for one of the seminars, a CareWorks Comp colleague will be in touch with you in the very near future to discuss your options, including upcoming alternative training and education opportunities. We are committed to maintaining all services critical to the welfare and success of our clients.

Ohio Industrial Commission Suspending In-Person Hearings

The Ohio Industrial Commission announced yesterday that all workers’ compensation hearings will be suspended from Monday, March 16 to Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

Beginning Wednesday, March 18, the Commission will begin conducting hearings by telephone for the following issues: permanent total disability, temporary total disability or the termination of temporary total disability, wage loss, allowance and additional allowance. All other hearing issues will be continued.

CareWorks Comp will keep you updated on the status of hearings as the Ohio Industrial Commission makes them available. If you have any questions regarding seminars or Industrial Commission hearings, please contact CareWorks Comp at 1-800-837-3200.

2020 – A Day in the Woods
Tentative Program Schedule

Dave Apsley from OSU Extension has released the tentative schedule for this year’s “A Day in the Woods” program. These sessions are a great place for woodland owners and outdoor enthusiasts to explore a wide variety of interesting topics, while doing so in some of the most beautiful areas of Ohio. Subjects include things like Tree Identification, both summer and winter varieties, Legal Issues for woodland owners, From Trees to Lumber, Breeding Birds, Tools and Equipment for Managing your Woodlands, and much more. See the tentative schedule, subject to change.

American Loggers Council Update

Dave Duren, from the Texas Logging Council, recently wrote an “As We See It" article for the American Loggers Council, entitled “Dancing With a Gorilla”. It discusses how the problem with unregistered trucks and unlicensed and uninsured truck drivers, still exist in our wood fiber transportation system. Read Dave’s full dialogue in this article.

Dovetail Partners March “The Outlook” Newsletter

The March issue of Dovetail Partners “The Outlook” newsletter discusses the “Circular Economy”. See the complete newsletter for these and other interesting articles.  "The Outlook" is the monthly e-newsletter of Dovetail Partners, Inc, a 501c3 non-profit corporation.

Dozer “Carry-All” Transports Hay and
Straw Bales Through the Woods

OFA member Ryan Redoutey, of Redoutey Logging in McDermott, Ohio, recently constructed a “Carry-All” device that easily slips onto the blade of a bulldozer and provides a transport platform to move items like straw, seed, and fertilizer into hard-to-reach areas of a logging job to do BMP work. The Forest Resource Association has distributed the information on this easy-to-build innovative product in Technical Release 20-R-04. See the complete write-up on this piece of equipment, including pictures.

Dozer “carry-all” is approx. 8 ft. long x 4 ft. wide x 2.5 ft. high


The WORK SAFE article, reprinted from the February 2020 edition of the Northern Logger and Timber Processor magazine, gives example of fatalities and injuries that happened at job sites and on the road, that could easily have been avoided. Use these examples to keep yourself, your coworkers, and your employees safe, so that everyone can go home to their families at the end of the day in the same condition that they left in the morning. This edition has a safety sectioned geared specifically around landowners entering a logging site.


The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation has set up a webpage with Frequently Asked Questions concerning the Coronavirus COVID-19. You can access this important information now. 

Upcoming Events
For Details on These and Other Events

In light of the Coronavirus COVID-19 concerns, OFA has cancelled all group activities in March and April, including CSAW Training classes, and is encouraging all the Loggers Chapters to do likewise. Watch this area for updates when it is socially and healthfully responsible to start rescheduling these types of activities.

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