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Timber Talk 1/10/18

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Wednesday, January 10, 2018
 To view previous issues advance pages with buttons at the bottom of this page.

OFA 2017 Year in Review
As with last year, I thought I would use this week’s Timber Talk as a place to review OFA’s 2017 year by updating our membership on what we have done and where we are headed. In this writing, I will focus on the things we were, are, or will be involved in. In the coming weeks, I will be putting together a more detailed report for the membership that will include more business detail such as; the financial standing of the Ohio Forestry Association, Inc. and the Ohio Forestry Association Foundation; membership numbers; numbers of people trained; numbers of Master Logging Companies; attendance numbers for events such as the Paul Bunyan Show and the Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp; etc. That document will look very similar to what we sent out to the membership last year around this same time.

OFA Staff and Office Changes
For the past 10 years, the Ohio Forestry Association has used Offinger Management Company to manage our events, accounting processes, IT, HR, and office locations. This worked very well for our association. In October of 2017, Offinger Management announced that they were closing their doors at the end of January 2018. After reviewing our options, we made the decision to go back to operating as a stand-alone association. We have hired Gayla Fleming and Denise (Brosie) Foster, effective February 1, 2018. Many of you will recognize these two as the Offinger Management employees that have been OFA’s key account managers for the past 10 years. We are blessed to be able to bring them on board as OFA employees. We have also leased office space in downtown Zanesville, and will be moving in there at the end of January. Our phone number will remain the same. Our fax number will change. We will be sending out more detailed information on our new office location and fax number later this month. This transition should appear seamless to our membership. Please welcome Gayla and Denise on board when you next see or talk to them. Hopefully, that will be at the upcoming OFA Annual Meeting!

Advocacy Issues
One of the main focal points of the OFA staff deals with advocacy for a wide range of issues that are important to, and can affect the livelihoods of our members. These include Local, State, and National issues. Since I have been including a detailed monthly update on these areas of advocacy in the Timber Talk Newsletter for the past 4 months, I will not repeat those details here. However, these updates can be reviewed by clicking the arrows at the bottom of this post and viewing the newsletters for; January 2, 2018, November 27, 2017, October 31, 2017, and September 11, 2017. 

A short list would include:

  • Local
    • Road Use Issues
    • Municipal Anti-Harvesting Ordinances
    • Dry-Kiln Cooperative
    • Mohican Memorial Forest Plan
  • State
    • CAUV and OFTL
    • Ohio Division of Forestry Budget
    • Wood Markets
    • Industry Recognized Credentials for Schools
    • Auxiliary Container Bill
  • National
    • Future Careers in Logging Act
    • Right to Haul Act
    • Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition
    • Resilient Federal Forests Act
    • Wildfire Funding
    • Working Forests Caucuses
    • Carbon Neutrality for Biomass
    • Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS)
    • Point Source Pollution for Logging Roads
    • H-2B Worker Visa Program; H-2C Agricultural Guest Worker Program
    • Tax Reform Legislation

We also are active participants in many committees across the state that work on logging and forestry issues, including: Ohio Tree Farm Committee, Agricultural Advisory Committee to the Ohio Department of Taxation, Ohio Woodland Stewards, Ohio Forestry Advisory Committee, Ohio Forest Stewardship Program, Sustainable Forestry Initiative State Implementation Committee, and others.

If at any time you have a question about one of these subjects, or have other issues that you would like OFA to assist with, please do not hesitate to contact myself or someone else at the OFA office.

Master Logging Company Program
This program remains one of OFA’s strengths. The success of voluntary programs across the country, like the Ohio Master Logging Company Program, were instrumental this year in thwarting proposed legislation aimed at regulating logging roads as a potential point-source pollution area. Our Chainsaw Safety Awareness that Works (CSAW) training continues to be requested by parties outside the typical logger stream. Earlier this year, we provided two 5-day training classes for the Franklin County Engineers Department, training 31 employees in everything from Chainsaw Felling and Safety, to Small Chipper Operations, Bucket Truck Operations, and Ropes and Rigging. These types of training requests have required us to add additional trainers to our core of approved trainers. We are also continuing to streamline the data management of this program, as well as build on other logger training opportunities.

Paul Bunyan Show
The 2017 Paul Bunyan Show was even bigger than last year’s great show. We had a record number of exhibitors and the attendance was just a fraction off the Cambridge show location record of just over 14,000 attendees. It rained on Thursday, and Sunday afternoon, but the rest of the weekend was warm and dry. The exhibitors indicated to us that people were buying their products, which is the best indicator of a successful show. Once again, I would like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers that help make this show successful. It could not be done without you!

Industry Recognized Credentials for Schools
After nearly 3 years of working with the Ohio Department of Education, our CSAW Level 1 and 2 training classes, and our Best Management Practices for Loggers in Ohio training, have been recognized as Industry Credentials that high school students can earn while still in school. We feel this training not only can help the students get jobs in the forest products industry when they graduate, but also gives employers a better pool of people to choose from. We have recently started working with a school in the Loudonville area to start this process.

Wood Markets in Ohio
We are still engaging with entrepreneurs that are trying to get different wood fiber consuming projects up and running here in Ohio. The magic bullet to solve the problem of excess wood residuals in the state has not been found yet. It appears that it is going to take longer than anticipated to solve this problem, and may well come down to a lot of small projects adding up to enough volume use to make a significant difference. We will continue to assist however we can to benefit OFA’s industry members, forest land owners, and the Ohio forest products industry in general, to find more markets for wood products and by-products. 

Timber Talk Newsletter
As I work on the newsletter each week, I always hope that I am putting content into it that is in informative and/or useful to many of you that read it. Some weeks it is easy because there is a lot of information coming to my attention. Other times I must try to write content myself, and I apologize for my lack of editorial skill. As always, I don’t want to put something out that isn’t useful, so please feel free to let me know if the information that I include is worthwhile, not what you really want to see, or if you would like to contribute something.

The Ohio Forestry Association Foundation (OFAF)
The OFAF continues to support the educational aspects of the Ohio Forestry Associations activities. Tree Farm and now “Camp Canopy” are two of the things that fall under their umbrella. They also provide college scholarships for one or more deserving students. The Lumberman’s Outing also goes through the OFAF, and provides monetary assistance to a member of the forest products industry that is in need.

  • Tree Farm Program -  OFA continues to be a sponsor of the Ohio Tree Fam Program, along with the Ohio Division of Forestry. We provide accounting services for their organization, assist with their meeting scheduling, sit on their Tree Farm Committee, and contribute articles for the Ohio Woodland Journal. We enjoy having the Tree Farm Program as a large part of our annual OFA winter meeting and running the education activities at the Paul Bunyan Show. These are just a few of the areas that our two groups work together in a relationship that I feel is a win-win for everyone.
  • Scholarships - This year an $1800 scholarship was awarded to Mitchell Beaverson, a multiple year awardee, and a $1000 scholarship was awarded to Katherine Reiderman. OFAF also awarded a $500 college scholarship to a Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp Student. These scholarships will continue to be a focal point in the future for OFAF.
  • Camp Canopy – Formerly known as “Forestry Camp” and more recently “Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp”, Camp Canopy was born from a marketing campaign that we entered this past year to elevate the awareness of our highly acclaimed camp and to brand it such that it resonated with today’s teens. We will be continuing to develop this marketing campaign as we go into 2018 by leveraging the tools that teens use today; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. We saw a 10% increase in attendance at the camp in 2017 over 2016, and are planning on that trend continuing with our new marketing and media strategy. We appreciate all the support we receive for our camp from OFA’s partners, and the strong commitment from the Camp Canopy Committee.
  • Lumberman’s Outing – The Lumberman’s Outing, a Golf and Clay Shooting Event, raises funds each year that are used to help a member of the forest products industry that is in need. This past year, $30,000 was used to help 3 different families. One was Roy Waldron, a long-time employee who worked for Brenneman Lumber for many years and was a longtime friend of OFA, who experienced a sudden and unexpected loss of his wife; another was for the family of Melvin Yoder, an employee at McKay-Gross Division, who lost their son Wayne to a rare form of leg cancer; and the last was Charlie McClelland, a logger and log trucker, who suffered a stroke while in Canada. If you haven’t participated in this September event in the past, please think about participating or being an event sponsor this year. This group event is making a difference in peoples’ lives.

Board of Directors – The Ohio Forestry Association, Inc., and the Ohio Forestry Association Foundation, are both blessed with strong, active Boards of Directors. We will be bringing a few new faces onto the OFA, Inc. Board at the Annual Meeting on March 1, as a few of them drop off the Board due to term limits. Please feel free to contact the Board members that you know to address any issues. I would like to thank the Board for the support and guidance that they have given me this year.

In closing, I would like to say that OFA is involved with many more things than I have taken the space to itemize today, especially through our involvement on various committees throughout the state and industry. We enjoy the working relationship that we have with all our partners in the realm of the forest products industry, and conservation education. We appreciate the support from you, the membership of OFA, and we will continually strive to bring value to your membership. Our office has an open door and open ear policy. Please do not hesitate to contact myself, John Dorka, Gayla Fleming, or Denise Foster if you have any questions or concerns.

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 has an interesting article about Organic Tree Water. See the complete newsletters here

Fire at Graf Brothers Flooring Warehouse
OFA received the following information from Graf Brothers Flooring concerning a fire on December 30, 2017 at their South Shore facility warehouse:

Graf Brothers Flooring encountered a warehouse fire on the evening of, December 30th, 2017 that completely engulfed our 75,000 square foot warehouse.  The fire was contained to the lumber storage and trimmer line.  There will be no impact to our flooring customers; we will continue to meet/exceed customer expectations for current and future flooring orders. All  lumber orders will also be processed, as quick as possible.   Our 18 kilns continue to produce over 2,000,000 feet per month.

We are very appreciative of the countless firefighters, volunteers, neighbors, friends, and family who worked tirelessly through the early morning hours. We were able to contain the fire and save the overwhelming majority of the South Shore plant. Everyone is safe and there were no injuries. Graf Brothers Flooring and Lumber will remain steadfast to our goals and will continue to do business as usual. We will rebuild and continue to be the World’s Largest Manufacturer of Rift & Quartered products! Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers during these trying times.

The Graf Family

Upcoming Events:

  • MRWIG Winter Tree ID Workshop – 1/20/18 – 10:00 AM – Blue Rock State Forest HQ (6665 Cutler Lake Road, Blue Rock, OH 43720)

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