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Timber Talk

Posted By Denise Foster, Monday, September 21, 2020


OFA Foundation Announces Open Application
Period for Conservation Education
Grant Program
September 15 – October 31, 2020

The OFA Foundation has always supported educational projects throughout Ohio. Last year, the Foundation developed a formal grant program to administer the funds they have available.  These grants will generally be small-scale grants designed to assist an organization with a project, with a maximum individual grant amount of $2,500. Applications will be accepted between September 15 and October 31 of each year, with grant awards being selected and announced by December 1 for funding to be used in the following calendar year. See complete details of the grant program, including application details and directions or see the printable application.

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 article examining the CLT manufacturing plant nearing completion in Ontario, Canada. See the complete newsletter.

Issues & Advocacy

The following updates on national level issues of concern are provided to us by our partner in Washington D.C., the Forest Resources Association.

FMCSA Proposes Pilot Program for Young Drivers

Last week, the FMCSA published a notice requesting public comments on a proposed pilot program modeled on the FRA supported DRIVE Safe Act. The comment period for the pilot program ends on November 9, 2020. To provide comments, you can do so here or go to and enter the docket number FMCSA-2018-0346-1124.

The proposed pilot program provides an opportunity for the trucking industry to connect with young drivers to address the pending driver shortage. The proposal allows a limited number of drivers from 18 to 20-years-old to operate commercial motor vehicles on the interstate. The pilot program would require drivers to meet safety and skill requirements that exceed current standards in most states. The FMCSA proposed drivers would be allowed to participate in the pilot program if they fall into two categories:

Category One: Would allow 18 to 20-year-old holders of commercial driver licenses (CDL) to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce while taking part in a 120-hour probationary period and a subsequent 280-hour probationary period under an apprenticeship program established by an employer, as introduced in the DRIVE-Safe Act.

Category Two: Would permit 19 and 20-year-old commercial drivers who have operated CMVs in intrastate commerce for a minimum of one year and 25,000 miles to participate in the younger driver CDL pilot program.

The proposed pilot program will allow the FMCSA to examine the safety, feasibility, and potential economic benefits of allowing 18 to 20-year-old drivers to operate on the interstate. FRA will be working with our allies on this issue to prepare comments in support of the program. The program is a result of the May 15, 2019, notice by FMCSA that requested comments that should be considered in developing a pilot program. Those comments assisted the agency in developing the pilot program for young drivers.

Hours of Service Changes to go into Effect on September 29

The federal rule modifying the hours of service (HOS) regulations takes effect on September 29. The new regulations aim to give greater flexibility for truck drivers by:

  • Lengthening the on-duty time from 12-14 hours and increasing 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.
  • Extending 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.
  • Providing 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 process of improving the HOS Regulations.

Note: Several highway safety advocate groups filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit seeking to invalidate the new HOS rules.  

Wildfire Prevention Bill Hearing

On September 16, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the bipartisan Wildfire Prevention bill (S.4431), Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced and co-authored. The legislation aims to reduce the risk of fire, provide timber jobs, and protect wildlife habitat. Chris French, USDA Forest Service Deputy Chief, testified on behalf of the Forest Service, stating that the Service supports the intent and goals of the bill. In his remarks on reducing wildfire threats, French said, “in places like California, it means treating 2-3 times more acres per year than our current efforts.” FRA’s statement from Deb Hawkinson on the Wildfire Prevention Bill appeared in a news release issued from Senator Daines’s office.

Operation Evergreen Celebrates 25 Years

The Ohio Christmas Tree Association has been shipping Christmas trees and ornaments to military personnel stationed overseas for 25 years. To learn more about his operation and how you can become involved, see the article from the Morning Ag Clips newsletter. 

Robert Miller of OFA Member Company,
Frank Miller Lumber, Passes Away on 9/8/2020

Frank Miller Lumber Company of Union City, Indiana announced last week that Robert Edward Miller passed away on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Robert was an owner and board member of Frank Miller Lumber for 60 years, and would have been 90 years old on November 8, 2020. See his obituary for more details on the passing of Robert Miller.

Habitat Management Strategies for
Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock

This is the name of a short course developed by the Ruffed Grouse Society designed to educate forestry and wildlife professionals about grouse and woodcock habitat on private lands. Ruffed Grouse Society biologists will present this 3-1/2 hour course, at a cost of just $25 per participant, which also offers Society of American Foresters continuing education credits for forestry professionals. See all the details on this program.

Dovetail Partners September
“The Outlook” Newsletter

The September issue of Dovetail Partners “The Outlook” newsletter discusses environmental & social responsibility labels, introduces one of their interns, and gives access to a virtual field tour exploring the role of prescribed fire in the Arrowhead region on Minnesota. 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

What’s Wrong With That?
A Look At Real Fire Hazards

BWC is hosting this webinar on Tuesday, September 22 (11 a.m. to 12 p.m.). Instructed by the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal, the webinar will include many visual examples of fire code violations from recent inspections and will focus on kitchens, exit ways, common areas, facility maintenance, and system control areas.

This webinar will be instructed by Steve Waltman, a Fire and Life Safety Educator with the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal.

Additional information, including registration instructions, can be found in the flyer.

For more information or assistance when registering, contact BWC’s Kaylee Blevings at

From The Hardwood Leader – The Big Picture

Following is “The Big Picture” from the October 2020 Hardwood Leader, produced and distributed by Hardwood Publishing Inc. This “Big Picture” summary discusses some of the positive signs showing up on the hardwood industry, including that it looks like we have passed the bottom point.

July capped a third month of rapid growth in housing starts and sales, important indicators that the economy was continuing to pull out of the COVID crash. And, by Aug, the jobs market for 25 to 64-year-olds had already recovered 55% of the jobs lost in Apr due to the pandemic shutdowns. Furniture shipments shot back up in Jun and flooring demand has been climbing since Jul, with #2&3A Com lumber prices now starting to follow. Even though consumer confidence has been slow to rebound—in contrast with consumer spending—much of that might be a function of civil unrest, rising election tension, and the failure of governments to re-open schools and so many aspects of society. Still, the delayed spring building season and record-low mortgage rates will join with the quickening economic recovery to keep homebuilding and hardwood demand strong longer this fall than is typical.

We now seem to have passed the hardwood market bottom. Industry comments are mixed, price reports are generally around prevailing rates, and some items are in stronger demand in one region than others, all indicators that markets are relatively balanced. Importantly, we are forecasting more price gains this month—and fewer price drops—than in any month since Mar, when markets were booming ahead of the pandemic disruptions.

Pennsylvania Forestry Association
(PFA) Sep 2020 Newsletter

For those of you on Ohio’s eastern border, you may be interested in some of the information in the PFA September 2020 newsletter. This edition has a message from their President, announces their symposium schedule, gives the schedule for the Women and Their Woods 2020 Virtual Educational Retreat, and much more. Announces US Collaborative
Effort to Plant 855  Million New Trees

The World Economic Forum and partners launch the first regional chapter of as part of the support for planting 1 trillion trees worldwide by 2030. 26 companies, cities and organizations across the U.S. have pledged their support for this cause. Included in this group are American Forest Foundation, Arbor Day Foundation, Bank of America, Mastercard, Microsoft, National Association of State Foresters, National Forest Foundation, Salesforce, and the cities of Detroit and Dallas. Read more about this project in the press release.

Pallet Enterprise Classifieds

Here is a recent offering of classified ads from Pallet Enterprise. These classifieds consist of machinery, lumber, job openings, etc.

A New Eco-Luxury Resort Full of Treehouses
Shaped Like Diamonds is Set to Open
in a West Virginia Forest

Peter Pichler, a Milan based architect, has designed multiple hospitality concepts that rise above the surrounding tree line. Read the interesting article about one of these resorts that is scheduled to become part of the West Virginia landscape in 2021.

Upcoming Events
For Details on These and Other Events

In light of the Coronavirus COVID-19 concerns, OFA cancelled all group activities in March, April, and May. In June, we have started rescheduling some CSAW Trainincg classes and BMP classes with PPE and Social Distancing Guidelines.  Watch this area for updates when it is socially and healthfully responsible to start rescheduling Loggers Chapter meetings and other activities.

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