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Weekly News 6/25/12

Posted By John Dorka, Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Weekly News 6/24/12

In this issue:

  • Ohio House 21st Century Manufacturing Task Force - Early last
    week, House Speaker Bill Batchelder announced the creation of a
    legislative panel charged with strengthening interaction between
    policy makers and manufacturers while focusing on increasing the
    competitiveness of Ohio manufacturing. The Task Force will conduct
    5 public hearings throughout Ohio. The hearings will focus on
    identifying resources to help manufacturers while identifying
    impediments and future challenges and opportunities. Rep.
    Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) will be chairman of the task force
    which will include 5 Republicans and 4 Democrats. The
    schedule for hearing locations is not yet available.
  • Farm Bill Action - On Thursday, the US Senate passed the
    Farm Bill. A number of Forestry Programs, at times targeted
    for elimination in Congressional discussions, were maintained
    for funding especially the forestry components of the EQIP
    (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) and WHIP (Wildlife
    Habitat Incentives Program). Here is an article from the American
    Forest Foundation
    that generally describes the benefits to forestry
    programs which have a good return on investment. The Farm Bill,
    at over 1,000 pages and nearly $100 billion in total spending,
    still sustained major budget reduction when farm commodity
    programs saw historic payment limit reforms, with changes to
    the crop insurance programs becoming the new farm safety
    nets. At the same time, a significant part of the Farm Bill contains
    food and nutrition programs such as food stamps which amount
    to 80% of the Farm Bill budget. The House will now take up the
    bill, and the battle lines are drawn for even more contentious debate.
  • Breaking News! US Supreme Court to Review the Logging
    Road Case -
    OFA just learned that the US Supreme Court has
    decided to review the case filed by the National Environmental
    Defense Fund against the State of Oregon regulatory requirement
    on logging roads. OFA co-signed an amicus brief prepared and
    submitted by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) in appeal of the
    Ninth Circuit Court decision requiring NPDES permits on logging
    roads. PLF advised OFA and other co-signers that it will immediately
    begin developing strategy on arguing the merits of the amicus brief.

  • American Made Has Wood Market Appeal - Here is an article
    from the Woodworking Network
    that talks about more consumers
    placing value on buying products that are domestically produced,
    and this is playing out with wood products manufacturers. The author
    notes that at the most recent High Point Market furniture show in
    April, the number of exhibitors in the Made in America pavilion
    doubled. The media is picking up on the value of American made
    products in the US economy and the American public is responding.
    Let’s hope it continues.
  • Notes from the Hardwood Leader - The following are some notes
    gleaned from the Hardwood Leader by Hardwood Publishing:

    • Chinese demand for American hardwoods will grow this year
      as credit is eased which should bolster housing.
    • The loss of logging capacity has not had major impact on the
      hardwood market at current levels of production but the loss
      could cause impacts in years ahead as the industry attempts
      to raise production.
    • US crude oil production topped 6 million barrels per day for
      the first time in 14 years with forecasts for sizable gas and
      diesel prices this summer.
    • In April, US hardwood lumber exports reached a 5.5 year
      high at 115 million BF. Many export markets are expected
      to hold steady. Mexican markets are expected to rise this
      summer as more wood manufacturing moves back to North
      America from Asia.
    • US residential furniture factory shipments for March hit a 4-year
      high, with the first quarter 2012 almost 11% higher than first
      quarter 2011. US wood household furniture shipments are
      showing an annual gain of 2.3%.
    • New home sales in April increased to match rising new home
      starts, with strong gains in the Midwest and West and a
      loss in the south. The average prices of new homes rose
      4.3% in the first quarter 2012 over the same period in 2011.
    • Single family home starts increased 20% Q1 over the same
      period a year ago, and sales of existing single-family homes
      increased to a near 2-year high in January 2012.
    • The inventory of unsold homes at the end of April rose by more
      than 200,000 units which experts believe that many are once
      again putting their homes on the market due to improving
      sales conditions.
    • The national average for 30-year fixed rates fell to 3.67% in
      early June.
    • The 4-week moving average on unemployment claims rose in
      early June.
    • The US employment in durable wood products manufacturing
      fell in May to the second lowest level since the decline started
      in 2006.

  • Workers Comp News from CCI - Here is a news release from
    CareWorks Consultants, Inc. (CCI) on the deadline to enroll in the
    BWC Safety Council Rebate Incentive Program for the 2012 policy
    year. This incentive program can provide employers an opportunity
    to earn up to an additional 4% reduction on workers comp premiums
    by meeting the incentive program meeting attendance and reporting
    targets as well as by reducing workplace injuries. Companies
    enrolled in group safety programs such as the OFA Safety Program
    can still be eligible to "stack” these savings on top of the group rate
    reductions. To be eligible, companies must join one of the 80 Safety
    Councils around Ohio by July 31, 2012. Another news release has
    information on CCI’s safety partner, RiskControl 360, and the
    consulting services it offers to assist companies with ways they
    can save money through workplace safety efforts. The news
    release has contact information.
  • Wood Education and Research Center (WERC) Update - You can
    find the June 21 WERC Update on-online. This report contains
    information on a new publication on Manufacturing and Marketing
    Eastern Hardwood Lumber Produced by Thin Kerf Band Mills
    , written
    by Dan Cassens, Professor of Wood Products, Purdue University. You
    can also find an analysis of the Impact of Increasing Energy Costs on
    the Hardwood Lumber Manufacturing Industry.
    There is information
    on related activities and upcoming workshops as well as an
    Update on the Housing Market by Urs Buehlmann, Virginia Tech
    and an Update on Wood Markets by Dan Deckard of the Minnesota
    Division of Forestry.
  • July Newsletters from ECOFA and SOFA - Here are the July
    Newsletters of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA)
    and the Southern Ohio Forestland Association (SOFA). The ECOFA
    Newsletter contains news on the recent Board and General meeting
    with a presentation from Ron Carlton from Carlton Tree Farm, Field Day
    News of the tour of the Waggy Tree Farm, upcoming Field Days, and
    other workshops and events. The SOFA Newsletter has information
    on the most recent general meeting which featured presentations from
    DOF Foresters on "Non-native Invasive Species.” There is also information
    on the July 12 meeting which will feature a presentation from Randy
    Sanders on "Milling a Log,” notes from Chairman Wayne Oney, an
    article on the impact of Estate Taxes on Tree Farmers, and some
    notes on wolf trees. See the newsletters for dates of upcoming events.
  • Upcoming Events:

    1. OWIN Summer Meeting - July 25-26, 2012 - Marietta, OH;
      Visit our website for details and to register or watch your mail for
      the printed brochure soon. Those interested in sponsoring a golf
      hole or a clay station should contact Gayla, 888-388-7337.

    2. Lumber Grading Short Course - August 20-23, 2012 - Yoder
      Lumber, Millersburg. OH. You may register here or watch your
      mail for the printed registration brochure.

    3. Walnut Grading Short Course - August 24, 2012, Yoder
      Lumber, Millersburg, OH. You may register here or watch
      your mail for the printed registration brochure. Space is limited to
      15 attendees.

    4. Lumberman's Outing - September 5, 2012 - Details and
      registration material coming soon. All proceeds will benefit
      the Lumberman's Benevolent Fund and the families of Daniel
      lRaber and Laverne Raber.

    5. Paul Bunyan Show - October 5-7, 2012 - Guernsey County
      Fairgrounds, Cambridge, OH.

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