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Timber Talk

Posted By Denise Foster, Tuesday, May 19, 2020

OFA Cancels July Summer Golf, Clay Shoot,
and Networking Outing

Due to continuing concerns with large crowds in small places and the COVID-19 pandemic, the OFA Board has made the decision to cancel this year’s late-July Summer Outing. We realize that the most important part of that event is not the golfing and clay shooting, but rather the opportunity to have a sit down with friends and colleagues at a dinner or reception to network on the industry’s current issues. Since crowds of 80-100 people in a small area are not recommended yet, we felt we had no choice but to cancel this summer’s event. We regret having to cancel this event, but felt that it was in the best interest of the health of our membership.


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 report from AHEC entitled “DEMONSTRATING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF U.S. HARDWOOD PRODUCTS”.  See the complete newsletter.


Former Representative Andy Thompson Dies of
Apparent Heart Attack

Andy was a friend of the forest products industry from the Marietta area. Following is the report that came out Wednesday, May 13, in the Gongwer Reports.

Andy Thompson, a former member of the Ohio House from Marietta, has died of an apparent heart attack.

Mr. Thompson, a Republican, represented portions of southeast Ohio for four terms, focusing on issues related to the Appalachian region.

"Andy was a strong advocate for the people of Appalachia and was passionate for his work serving the citizens of Ohio," House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) said in a memo announcing the death to colleagues.

After leaving the legislature at the end of 2018, he was named Director of Development, Eastern Ohio at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.

He is survived by his wife, Jade, and three grown children. His family founded Bird Watcher's Digest, and he served as its publisher until 2018.


Issues/Advocacy Updates on Trucking
Hours of Service Rules

The following update on federal regulations related to trucking Hours of Service (HOS) rules is provided to us by the Forest Resource Association.

Hours of Service Final Rule

On May 14, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule that changes the Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations. The FMCSA stated that the rule will increase safety on America’s roadways by updating existing regulations for commercial vehicle drivers. The changes will become effective 120-days following the publication of the rule in the Federal Register, which will likely be next week.  

Although the rule does not change the amount of drive time, which remains at 11-hours, it does make the following changes that will benefit the wood supply chain. The final rule:

  • Lengthens the on-duty time from 12-14 hours and increases the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 to 150 air-miles for the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers (including logging). Drivers under the short-haul exemption are not required to keep records of duty status.
  • Extends the adverse driving conditions exception by two hours over the maximum window during which driving is permitted. This will allow drivers to extend their drive-time window and their time on-duty by two hours if they encounter adverse conditions such as weather or traffic congestion.
  • Provides greater flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after eight hours of consecutive driving and allowing the suspension in driving time to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty status.

FRA submitted comments on the proposed rule in October 2019 and has been actively involved in the two-year process to improve the HOS Regulations.

FMCSA Extends COVID-19 HOS Exemption

The FMCSA has issued another extension to its suspension of HOS for commercial vehicles in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In a May 13 notice, FMCSA announced that the exemption will now expire on June 14, 2020. The loads covered under the exemption include food and paper products and precursor raw materials to manufacture those products.


Forest Loss Slows Globally

On a global scale, deforestation continued to take place at a pace of around 10 million hectares a year for the past 5 years, quite a large sum, but it is actually down from 12 million hectares per year over the previous 5 year period. Read about this and other interesting global forest statistics in this article. 


Pennsylvania Forestry Association (PFA)
May 2020 Newsletter

For those of you on Ohio’s eastern border, you may be interested in some of the information in the PFA May 2020 newsletter. This edition gives a PA Tree Farm update, lists Forestry Happenings During the Pandemic, and gives information on other available education webinars.



Reducing Amputation Hazards Webinar

The Ohio Bureau of Workers Comp is hosting a webinar on this topic on Thursday, May 21,2020 from 1:30 – 2:30 pm. ). The webinar will outline the safe operation, servicing, and/or maintenance of machinery and equipment. This webinar will be instructed by Laura Mattimoe, a Safety & Health Consultant with BWC’s OSHA On-Site Program. Additional information, including registration instructions, can be found in the flyer. For more information or assistance when registering, contact BWC’s Kaylee Blevings at Kaylee.b.1@bwc.state.oh.us



AHMI Announces July 2020 Annual Meeting

The American Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. has announced their 2020 Annual Meeting to take place in Asheville, NC in late July. Read about their schedule of events with topics and speakers, and registration details, in the flyer.



After Mount St. Helens Erupted, Scientists
Fought to Preserve its Devastation

Here is an interesting article that looks at a couple different sides of the infamous Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption in 1980. Most notable in the article from Popular Science is the thinking that foresters and companies shouldn’t replant all the forests that were destroyed, but leave a large area of it to study what really happens naturally after something this devastating takes place.


Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs Scraps
Its Ambitious Toronto Project

A couple years ago, I saw a very ambitious presentation of Google Alphabet’s sister company, Sidewalk Labs, plan to make a “community of the future” out of a 12 acre parcel of Toronto’s waterfront area. It seemed ambitious, and maybe to-good-to-be-true at the time, and it appears it was. The proposed skyscrapers made from wood were a good selling point and of interest for our industry, but, alas, the politics of it all fell through. Read about this ambitious, and not totally off-base, project.


Photo Courtesy of Sidewalk Labs


Upcoming Events
For Details on These and Other Events

In light of the Coronavirus COVID-19 concerns, OFA cancelled all group activities in May and June. We are beginning to look at rescheduling some CSAW Training classes with PPE and Social Distancing Guidelines.  Watch this area for updates when it is socially and healthfully responsible to start rescheduling these types of activities.

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