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OFA Annual Meeting
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The 2020 Ohio Forestry Association and Ohio Tree Farm Annual Meeting was held at the Marriott University Area in Columbus, Ohio on March 4-5, 2020. The meeting was well attended and we feel it was a success.

The meeting began on Wednesday evening with a reception held at the Jack Nicklaus Museum. Attendees enjoyed a variety of refreshments while networking with their peers. All attendees were invited to take a self guided tour of the museum. Trophies, photographs and various mementos from Jack's unparalleled 18 major championships and 100 worldwide professional victories were all on display.

The meeting continued on Thursday morning. There was a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Lumbermen and attendees were encouraged to peruse the offerings up for sale at the Ohio Tree Farm Committee Silent Auction as well as visit with our great lineup of industry exhibitors. 

Our first presentation of the day was our Keynote address by Dana Lee Cole of the Hardwood Federation and Tom Inman of the American Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc. They discussed the Real American Hardwood Promotion, a timely marketing campaign for the Appalachian Hardwood Industry. The goal of the Real American Hardwood Promotion is to raise public awareness to the benefits of real American hardwood. You may view the entire presentation here.

The next presentation came from Steve Gray, Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Assistant Director Gray gave the attendees an update on ODNR activities and direction as it relates to forestry and wildlife. See the full presentation here.

Next up, ODNR, Division of Forestry, Chief, Dan Balser gave everyone an update on the programs and activities of the Division of Forestry. Chief Balser talked about the vision of the Division of Forestry, state forest action plan, forest health and state forest land management before answering questions from the audience. Chief Balser's full report can be found here.

The final presentation of the morning was about *811 Regulations for Ohio. It was presented by representatives from Marathon Petroleum and Ohio 811. Attendees were given information about the dangers of digging or logging near underground utility and pipelines and the importance of dialing 811 before any type of excavation. Check out the *811 presentation here.

Following the morning sessions the group broke for lunch and the annual presentation of OFA's conservation awards, Ohio Forestry Hall of Farm Award, Logger of the Year Award and Tree Farmer and Tree Farm Inspector of the Year awards. Incoming President, Tom Brown, of Brown Forest Products was introduced to the guests and outgoing President, Adam Conway of Superior Hardwoods of Ohio was recognized and presented with an Ohio wooden clock as a token of thanks for his service to OFA and it's members. Welcome Tom and thank you Adam for all of your hard work.

The first award of the day was the Logger of the Year Award. The award was presented to Keith Sickles of Sickles and Sons Logging. Sickles and Son Logging is a true family business that is having a positive impact on the image of the logging industry and a positive impact on the community in which they live. Congratulations Keith!

Next, Executive Director of OFA, Brad Perkins presented the Hall of Fame award to Gary Kaster. Gary is a SAF certified professional forester who has practiced for more than 43 years. He was President of OFA in 1999, served as Chairman of the Forestry Advisory Committee for two consecutive terms and was enshrined in the Ohio Division of Forestry's Forest of Honor this past fall. Congratulations Gary!

Next up was the presentation of the Outstanding Individual In Conservation Education Award. This award was presented to Bob Nelson. In 1963 Bob worked with the superintendent of Unioto School District in Ross County Ohio to create a conservation camp for 6th grade students to learn about forestry, soil and water quality, wildlife, and general conservation and outdoor principals. Since starting the camp 57 years ago, Bob has volunteered every year in some capacity, Bob was also a former President of the Ohio Forestry Association. Congratulations Bob!

The winner of the Outstanding Logging Activist Award was presented to Bill Metzger of Metzger's Logging in St. Mary's Ohio. Bill helped to establish, and has presided over the Northwest Ohio Loggers Chapter since its inception. He is considered by most to be the backbone of that organization. Bill guided the establishment of the Woodland Stewardship Association and oversaw the creation of it's website. Bill has participated in more forestry field days than the service forester in his area can remember. Additionally he has assisted with tree plantings and has reached out to local and state agencies to promote the same. Congratulations Bill!

The recipient of the Outstanding Individual in Government Service Award was Jason Van Houton. Jason is an ODNR Service Forester serving Licking, Franklin, Madison, and Pickaway counties. Jason has made significant contributions to OFA's programs and partnerships. Specifically he helped coordinate a statewide update to the Timber Product Output report produced through the USDA's forest inventory and analysis program. Jason also annually serves as a BMP inspector in support of the Master Logger Program and has trained other foresters on being inspectors. He currently serves as an area chair for the state Tree Farm Committee. Congratulations Jason!

The Outstanding Individual in Private Service award was presented to Paul Helser of Helser Woodland Management. Paul is a consulting forester whose business is rooted in central Ohio. He has been a contributor to forestry education for landowners, youth and professionals in the industry by involving himself in Tree Farm tours, Environthons, forester trainings, Camp Canopy and various other workshops. He has also been involved in the local chapter of the Association of Consulting Foresters. Congratulations Paul!

Trent Yoder of Yoder Lumber was the recipient of the Outstanding Individual in Industry award. Trent has been a big supporter of the forest products community for many years. He was involved in the Forest Heritage Festival for many years and is a past Chairman of the Forest Heritage Festival Committee. He has provided facilities for OFA to hold NHLA Lumber Grading Short Courses and coordinates the availability of lumber and classroom areas for these classes. He has acted as technical advisor to the OSU South Centers on a project to determine the viability of a dry-kiln cooperative in southern Ohio. He has been a supporter of the Paul Bunyan Show and assists OFA in many other endeavors when asked. Most recently he offered assistance in producing the award plaques that were presented at the meeting. Congratulations Trent!

Next up, Alan Walter, Ohio Tree Farm Committee Vice-Chair took the stage to present the 2020 Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year Award. This year's Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year goes to Jim and Randy Brammer of the Brammer Family Tree Farm in Salineville, Ohio which is located in Columbiana County. The Br ammer family has been in the Ohio Tree Farm program since 1992. Congratulations to the Brammer Family!  Be sure to watch for information on their Tree Farm Tour to be held on August 29, 2020.

The Ohio Tree Farm Committee also recognized several 50 year Tree Farmers who were in attendance: Steve Stone, Mike McConnell, Bob Davis, John and Janet Price, John Parkinson and Tom Painter. Several past Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year were also recognized.

L a s t but not least The Ohio Tree Farm Com mittee recognized   
Greg Smith for hi
s excellent editorial leadership i n producing the
Ohio Woodland Journal. Greg will  be retiring from the ODNR this year with over 37 years of service and he has served as editor of the magazine for the past 10 years. Congratulations Greg.

Following lunch attendees split into two groups. Sessions geared
towards industry topics and landowner topics ran concurrently.

The first industry topic of the afternoon was presented by Matt Bumgardner of the USDA Forest Service. Matt updated attendees on hardwood trade and consumption trends for the US and specifically Ohio. He presented an overview of the hardwood industry in Ohio, regionally and nationally. He also spoke about the impacts of housing and domestic markets as well as export trends. See Matt's report here.

Meanwhile in the landowner sessions, Attorney and Tree Farmer Jim Savage along with Mark Rickey of the Division of Forestry talked to tree farmers about timber trespass and theft bringing everyone up to date on the current happenings in this subject. Check out the full presentation for some tips on protecting your timber.

The next industry session was presented by Andy Johnson of the Hardwood Market Report. Andy discussed current market conditions with attendees. He shared his insights on what the future holds for the hardwood industry.

The next landowner topic concerned restoration of the American Chestnut. The presenter was Sara Fitzsimmons of the American Chestnut Foundation. There has been a lot of work done to create an American chestnut that is blight free. There have been some recent adjustments in this regard and Sara updated the attendees about the current status of restoring the American chestnut to the American landscape.You can view Sara's presentation here.

Tiffany Smith of Mayer|Brown, LLP spoke to attendees about America's trade policy under President Trump. See Tiffany's presentation here.

The next landowner topic was presented by Dave Apsley, Natural Resources specialists for the Ohio State University Extension. Dave spoke to attendees about tree harvest as part of managing woodlands and explained how to decide if it is time for a harvest. See Dave's presentation here

The final industry topic for the day was presented by Mike Snow of the American Hardwood Export Council. Mike discussed current and future markets for American Hardwoods. See Mike's presentation here. 

And last up for the landowner topics was Gary Kaster, Forest and Carbon Project Services, LLC and Cassie Ridenour, Ohio Tree Farmer. Gary and Cassie talked with attendees about climate change and carbon sequestration starting with the basics. See their presentation here.

The day concluded with our annual President's Reception held at the Marriott. OFA would like to thank everyone who attended, exhibited and sponsored this important event. A list of exhibitors and sponsors can be seen below.

Exhibitor List

Bol Designs
Columbus Equipment Co.
Eagle Machinery & Supply, Inc.
Fumigation Service & Supply, Inc.
ISK Biocides, Inc.
Marathon Pipe Line
Murphy Tractor & Equipment Company
Nyle Dry Kilns
ODNR Division of Forestry
Ohio ACF
Ohio Forestry Association, Inc.
Ohio Tree Farm Committee
Ohio Wood Products
Ricer Equipment Co.
Rudd Equipment Co.
Sawmill MD
U-C Coatings

2020 Annual Meeting Sponsors














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