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Timber Talk 12/21/15

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Export Assistance and Opportunities
The Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) offers export assistance and grants to Ohio businesses to increase Ohio exports and create jobs. Here is some information that may be of help to forest product manufacturers exporting wood products or who may be interested in getting into exporting:

  • International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE). ODSA and the U.S. Small Business Administration fund the IMAGE grant program which will provide 50% reimbursement for up to $10,000 per year in qualifying costs incurred promoting Ohio products in international markets. You can find information on the program at the Export Assistance website.
  • Ohio Export Internship Program. If you are interested in starting or expanding export opportunities and are willing to take on students who have taken export-focused coursework, ODSA offers grants to cover 50% of the interns wages (up to $3,600 reimbursement) during employment periods from May-August 2016. Information on the Ohio Export Internship Program can be found at the link.
  • China Trade Mission, May 7-14, 2016. ODSA is partnering with the Great Lakes Council of Governors to host a multi-sector trade mission to China in May, 2016. You can see a flyerfor the mission here. A host of sectors are included in the mission.
  • Export Compliance Series. If you are interested in learning more about navigating export laws, you can attend a series of 4 seminars (3 remain, introductory course too place in November) in Columbus on various dates from January to May, 2016. Information on specifics of the courses and how to apply can again be found on the ODSA website.

2016 Kiln-Drying Workshop, January 11-14, 2015, Syracuse University
The State University of New York (SUNY) at Syracuse, NY is hosting the 2016 Kiln Drying Workshop for wood manufacturing professionals. Registrations can be taken on-line and if you hurry, you can get the early registration (before December 21, 2015) of $475.00. It is $525.00 after that date. The workshop will provide information for both novice and experienced wood dryers. Click on the link for registration and travel information.

Ohio Avian Flu Concerns Subside
Within the last year, Ohio was preparing for a possible outbreak of Avian Flu and the potential impact on fowl production in the state. Ohio is the country’s #2 state for egg production with more than 50 million chickens and turkeys in the state. In preparation for a possible outbreak that could require the destruction of millions of chickens and turkeys, Ohio was looking into the potential need for massive amounts of sawdust, sawmill residue, and other wood mulch to use as composting material for millions of carcasses. OFA responded to requests for information on the availability of woody materials. At the moment, the threat appears to have subsided. One action taken by the Ohio Department of Agriculture was the issuing of a state order prohibiting bird shows at county fairs and other expositions. ODA Director Dave Daniels recently rescinded the orderannounced in a news release last week.

Ohio Legislature to Reconvene January 20, 2016
The Ohio House and Senate Calendar was released last week, and the legislative session will start on January 20, 2015 and run through the end of May, with some possible days in June. With election year in 2016, the legislature will have divided attention on state matters. Here is the Joint Session Schedule.

Ohio Energy News
A couple news items on state energy issues:

  • Poll Says Nearly 3 of 4 Ohioans Favor Renewable Energy Tax Incentives. A renewable energy organization says that in a poll it recently conducted that more than 70% of Ohioans support continuing tax incentives for renewable energy. Support was bi-partisan with majority responders from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents favoring the incentives.
  • 2015 Ohio Shale Production Exceeds 2014. Even with the year not quite over, ODNR indicates that Ohio shale production surpassed that in 2014. In 2014, Ohio shale wells produced 15 million barrels of oil and 513 Mcf of gas. The Q3 2015 production alone exceeded all of the production in 2014. ODNR said that production came from 1,087 wells.

GAO Says U.S. EPA Violated Federal Law with "Covert Propaganda” on Waters of the US Rules (WOTUS)
Last week, a report from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) said that the U.S EPA used Twitter postings in "covert propaganda” efforts urging support for its WOTUS rules. You may recall that OFA and many other state and national forestry organizations have been strongly opposed to US. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers proposed definitions for "navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. Now it has been confirmed that EPA violated federal law urging the passage of the rule. Congress has been working to legislatively stop EPA from moving ahead with the rule.

2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill
No doubt you’ve heard about Congress agreeing on an Omnibus Appropriations Bill that funds the federal government for 2016 and also extends several tax provisions that expired or were about to expire. The bill should get voted on this week and sent to the President for signing. Among the items in the bill:

  • The bill ends the 40-year ban on exporting crude oil;
  • There is $75 million for the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program, $5 million above 2015 levels;
  • A special provision allowing 129,000 pound trucks on the Interstate in Idaho as long as the truck configuration is bridge formula compliant (language to allow twin 33 foot long trucks on federal Interstates was not included in the final bill). The bill made the Maine and Vermont pilot truck weight provisions permanent and opened sections of highway in Wisconsin and Michigan to 6-axle load configurations;
  • Requires USDOT to finish the section 3801 (Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight) study within 60 days of enactment;
  • Delays "Cadillac Tax” on employer health plans from scheduled start of 2018 to 2020
  • 2 year extension (through 2016) of the biomass renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC);
  • Does NOT contain any riders on the Waters of the US rule or on carbon neutrality of biomass.
  • The "tax extenders” bill:
  • Permanently extends the R&D credit;
  • 5 year extension (through 2019) of bonus depreciation (with an additional year for certain property with a longer production period)
  • 50-percent bonus depreciation would be renewed for 2015, 2016, and 2017, and reduced to 40-percent in 2018 and 30-percent in 2019
  • 2 year extension (through 2016) of the cellulosic biofuels producer credit
  • Provides that C corporation timber gains are subject to a new tax rate of 23.8 percent (effective for tax year 2016) – NOTE: this is the "TREE Act”.

OSU Extension: Ohio Woodland, Water, Wildlife Newsletter, Winter 2015/2016
Here is the latest newsletter from OSU Extension and the Woodland Stewards Program. A newsletter designed for woodland owners and those interested in management of Ohio private woodlands, it has information on the American Forest Foundation’s "My Land Plan” which helps landowners develop their own woodland management plan; tips for woodland owners thinking of selling timber; and other items like feeding birds and wildlife alternatives for decorating Christmas Trees. See the events calendar at the end of the newsletter.

2016 OFA Annual Meeting, march 9-10, 2016, Dublin Embassy Suites

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