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Timber Talk 1/13/14

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, January 13, 2014

Proposed Timber Theft Legislation
OFA attended an interested parties meeting last week concerning proposed timber theft legislation by Rep. Ross McGregor (R-Springfield). At the holidays, OFA received a copy of the proposed legislation and was subsequently invited to attend an interested parties meeting requested by Rep. McGregor. Others at the meeting included Rep. Bill Hayes (R-Harrison Twp.) who represents Coshocton, Perry and part of Licking County; representatives from the ODNR-Division of Forestry; Attorney General’s office; County Prosecutor’s Association, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Association of Consulting Foresters, Ohio Society of American Foresters, and Glatfelter. A bullet summary of the original proposal as well as the actual legislative language can be found here. At this point, Rep. McGregor has asked for those attending the interested parties meeting to submit comments to him by the January 17. OFA is reviewing the proposal now and preparing comments. Please let me know if you have comments or feedback as there is a short time to respond.

 "Hardwood Checkoff” Public Comment Period to Close January 13, 2014
The public comment period on the Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, ended today (January 13, 2014). During the 60 day comment period, I had heard from a number of OFA members about the proposal, some with questions wanting more information and others with strong feelings, many opposed to the proposal. A total of 581 comments were submitted on-line and presumably others were provided via fax or mail. You can go on-line and see the comments submitted. It is my understanding that USDA will review the comments for possible revisions. On the same website, you can find the full order as put out by USDA and can look at it here. Once that is completed, the rules say that the program becomes effective following a referendum of manufacturers affected by the proposal. The referendum must take place within the next 5 years and every 7 years thereafter. The proposal would become effective if it is approved by a majority of hardwood and hardwood plywood manufacturers who represent a majority of the volume of hardwood lumber represented in the referendum.

OFA Talks With BWC About CSAW Training
This past week, OFA met with staff from the Ohio BWC about the CSAW Training Program. BWC is interested in offering some basic chainsaw safety training through its comprehensive training program. To that end, BWC contacted OFA to see what is offered and whether our program can offer training opportunities for private and public workers covered by Ohio Workers’ Compensation. BWC asked OFA for more detail on what is offered or what can be offered through alternative formats, and we will continue discussion over the next several months to determine possible training opportunities.

BWC "Free” Safety Congress, March 25-27, 2014
Registration is now open for the Ohio BWC Safety Congress to take place at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on March 25-27, 2014. BWC is offering 175 educational sessions on a host of worker safety concerns. Registration for the event is free. Those interested in seeing what sessions are offered or for registering on-line, you can go to the BWC website.

Public Review of SFI Proposed 2015-2019 Requirements
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is seeking public comment for a 60 day period ending March 6, 2014 for its proposed 2015-2019 Requirement. These requirement revisions were developed from comments from over 10,000 stakeholders in a first 60-day comment period that ran from June to August 2013. The draft new Standard includes new performance measures to conserve biodiversity in fiber sourcing; limit conversion of one forest type to another; bolster awareness and respect for Indigenous Peoples rights; and expand the definition of "controversial sources,” which are not allowed in SFI-labeled products. If you want to view a summary of the enhancements added to the standard, or if you want to submit comments, you can do so by going to the SFI website.

ODNR Division of Wildlife Recommend De-listing Bobcats from Ohio’s Threatened Species List
The Division of Wildlife believes that the number of bobcats in Ohio has steadily climbed to the point that it now believes it can be removed from Ohio’s list of threatened species. It was first placed on the endangered species list in 1974 and numbers climbed the point that in 2012, the species was placed on the threatened list. DOW now believes the numbers mean it no longer needs a special protected status. Even if the bobcat is delisted, it will still be protected from hunting or trapping.

2014 OFA Annual Meeting, March 5-6, Columbus Sheraton Hotel on Capitol Square
If you haven’t already received information, you should shortly receive registration materials for the OFA Annual Meeting on March 5-6. You can get information and register on-line now on the OFA website. The theme is "Regulations Impacting the Ohio Forest Industry” and with the proposed timber theft legislation that we just learned about, the meeting is shaping up to be particularly important. The legislative reception the first day will give us the chance to weigh in on this and other issues affecting the industry and the landowners. We have invited Governor Kasich to provide the keynote address to start the meeting day on Thursday, March 6. We will also have presenters talking about a number of issues that will or could affect us in forestry, including presentations on the hardwood market, tax implications for the business and individual from Obamacare, invasive species, current OSHA regulations affecting sawmills, and the status of the Farm Bill. We’ll recognize the Tree Farmer of the Year and other OFA Awardees at the Awards Luncheon and once again, the Tree Farm Committee is hosting a silent auction. If you have something to donate, please bring it to the meeting or you can contact Gayla at OFA for special arrangements. We look forward to seeing you at the meeting. For those wishing to stay overnight at the Sheraton, special room registration for the meeting is open until Wednesday, February 12, after which rates go up.

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