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Timber Talk

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Monday, May 21, 2018

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 article entitle “A Billion-Dollar Fortune From Timber and Fire”. See the complete newsletter here

Farm Bill Voted Down By U. S. House of Representatives
Following is an update on the process of trying to get a new “Farm Bill” passed as provided to OFA by FRA President, Deb Hawkinson, on Friday May 18, 2018.

The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), also known as the Farm Bill, was voted down on the House floor this afternoon by a vote of 198 to 213. This legislation, authorized every 5 years, is the bedrock of our nation’s farm policy, but as we know also covers a range of other issues including forestry and biomass energy. Next steps for House consideration are unclear right now, but the vote was complicated by negotiations over immigration and a House process for addressing that issue.  

The Farm Bill as reported from the House Agriculture Committee in April covers the following areas in our space:

Federal Forest Management Reform:  H.R. 2 builds upon the federal forest management reform provisions in the omnibus spending deal forged earlier this year. The legislation would provide several new tools for the Forest Service to expedite forest management projects. Specifically, the bill authorizes a number of new “categorical exclusions” from environmental reviews that will facilitate needed project work. These new CEs are designed to:  

  • Expedite salvage operations in response to catastrophic events
  • Meet forest plan goals for early successional forests
  • Manage “hazard trees”
  • Improve or restore National Forest System lands or reduce the risk of wildfire
  • Forest restoration
  • Infrastructure-related forest management activities
  • Managing insect and disease infestation.

Timber Innovation Act: H.R. 2 includes the research provisions of the Timber Innovation Act. Specifically, the legislation directs the USDA Secretary to conduct performance-driven research and development, education, and technical assistance for the purpose of facilitating use of innovative wood products (mass timber/tall wood buildings) in wood building construction in the United States.

Biomass: The legislation includes an Energy Title which, among other things, reauthorizes USDA’s BioPreferred program. The BioPreferred program includes both a federal purchase preference for biobased products (including forest products) as well as a voluntary product labeling program. The bill also increases the authorization and expands the scope of the Community Wood Energy Program or CWEP. CWEP is a reincarnation of the old “Fuels for Schools” program and aims at accelerating deployment of wood heating systems that run on wood pellets or wood chips. In addition to funding wood heating installations, the bill would also provide grants to innovative wood products facilities—i.e., those manufacturing cross laminated timber or experimenting with lignin or nanotechnology.   

A number of amendments were processed and voted on by the full House prior to a final vote. Notable among them was an amendment that was defeated late yesterday which would have repealed the Energy Title. FRA worked with our forestry and forest products industry allies and lining up “no” votes for this amendment, known as Biggs #10. It failed 340-75.   

Other notable amendments that were approved include:

  • (Herrera Beutler/Westerman) to direct the payment of a portion of stewardship project revenues to the county in which the stewardship project occurs.
  • (Reps. Gosar/Gianforte/ Stewart) to authorize counties to be included in Good Neighbor Authority cooperative agreements and contracts in order to improve forest health and bolster watershed restoration.
  • (Gianforte)  to authorize expedited salvage operations for areas burned by wildfire to salvage dead trees and reforest to prevent re-burn, provide for the utilization of burned trees, or to provide a funding source for reforestation.  Requires a two month environmental assessment for reforestation activities and at least 75% of the burned area be reforested.
  • (Westerman / Bishop (UT) / Gosar) to require the Forest Service to consider long-term health of our nation's forests when developing collaborative management plans, and shields agency decision making from certain injunctions on sustainable forest management.
  • (Young) to exempt all National Forests in Alaska from the U.S. Forest Service Roadless Rule.
  • (Westerman) to instruct the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior to provide Congress a yearly report tabulating the metrics surrounding wildfire prevention, including the number of acres treated and agency response time.
  • (Pearce) would reauthorize the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program through 2023 and waives the requirement that proposals eligible for funding under the program prioritize ecological restoration treatments for a 10 year period.
  • (Westerman) would require environmental impact statements for certain forest management activities to only study the forest management activity in questions and the alternative of taking no action.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly.

Thank you,
Deb Hawkinson
Forest Resources Association
1901 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 303
Washington, D.C. 20006

Northeast Ohio Forestry Association (NEOFA) Newsletter
Here is the May 2018 edition of the NEOFA newsletter. It contains a recap of their April 27th banquet and auction, and previews their May 17th meeting that will feature Steve Ohman with a presentation on the Art and Collecting of Bonsai Trees.

Cleveland Tree Corps Program Pays Participants As They Learn Community Forestry

East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA) Newsletter
Here is the East Central Ohio Forestry Association June 2018 Newsletter. As always, it gives reports from their previous meeting, as well as a schedule of upcoming events. This edition recaps a presentation at their last meeting by Rick Stahn, a retired U. S. Forest Service employee, who shared history, facts, and personal experiences of his time with the Forest Service.

From The Hardwood Leader – The Big Picture
Following is “The Big Picture” from the June 2018 Hardwood Leader, produced and distributed by Hardwood Publishing Inc. This “Big Picture” summary discusses the recent disruptions in log exports to China due to their new phytosanitary rules.

In full disclosure, most of the forecasts in this issue hinge on our belief that disruptions in log exports related to China’s new phytosanitary rule—that all hardwood log shipments from the U.S. must be fumigated before departure from the U.S.—will be short-lived. We simply don’t think China will starve itself of its most abundant and sustainable supply of hardwood logs, or make them more expensive than they need to be. Either China will relent and again allow for fumigation at Asian ports, or buyers will absorb most of the added cost of doing the fumigation on U.S. shores. If we’re wrong, and log exports to China falter, the impacts will quickly ripple through the industry, since China accounts for 57% of U.S. log exports.

Sudden, major reductions in log exports—while potentially beneficial to the domestic sawmill industry in the long term—could trigger a spike iin lumber shipments to China, as buyers look to replace the lost fiber. At the same time, however, reduced competition for logs would lower prices, increase availability, and potentially lead
to lumber overproduction. Intense log competition has been a key factor restraining overproduction for at least the last year. Until some sort of final resolution is reached, log exporters should gear up to fumigate at home

Upcoming Events:

  • Lumber Grading Short Course – 6/4 – 6/7/18 – Yoder Lumber Company
  • A Day in the Woods, Breeding Birds - 6/10/18 - McArthur, Ohio
  • 2018 Camp Canopy – 6/10 – 6/15/18 – Camp Muskingum, Carroll County

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