MFPC Newsletter January/February 2016

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A strategy begins to emerge

Legislative leaders, MFPC Board speak face to face

MFPC certainly achieved its goal last week of helping legislative leaders better understand the Maine’s forest products industry, but also gained an unexpected bonus. During the panel discussion at the Jan. 26th board meeting, a strategy started to emerge, along with a sense of purpose and both short- and long-term actions that could strengthen Maine’s forest economy.

The conference room was crowded with more than 40 members and four legislative leaders — Senate President Mike Thibodeau, House Speaker Mark Eves, House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe and House Assistant Minority Leader Ellie Espling. House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, an attorney, sent his regrets because he had to be court.

“I thought it was great that the leadership was here to listen to us and spend as much time as they did right in the middle of the session,” said Gordon Gamble of Wagner Forest Management. “The panel was very diverse and brought out all aspects of the industry. I thought it was great.” Read more.

The other side of the story

Reception brightens mood for legislators

Rep. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop, Rep. Beth Turner, R-Burlington, Jim Robbins Sr., MFPC Board, Rep. Catherine Nadeau, D-Winslow.
Rep. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop, Rep. Beth Turner, R-Burlington, Jim Robbins Sr., MFPC Board, Rep. Catherine Nadeau, D-Winslow.

This year’s reception Jan. 26th  may have been the most lively one ever. The MFPC conference room was packed and the noise level was high as legislators and MFPC members enjoyed great food, good company and the chance to talk informally.

“There are two sides to every story and this is where we get the chance to hear that other side,” said Rep. Catherine Nadeau, D-Winslow. “You have to lighten the mood with a little bit of humor. It makes things go so much smoother.”

MFPC Board member Jim Robbins Sr. was in complete agreement with Nadeau’s comments. “I think it’s very important that the leaders in our industry get to meet with legislators so that they can hear our side of the story,” Robbins said. “And I appreciate them coming to listen to it. I wish everybody had her attitude.” See more photos.

Lightening the burden

Federal NLEB rule goes into effect Feb. 16

On January 14, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service published its much-awaited Final 4(d) Rule, outlining allowable “incidental takes” of the threatened Northern Long-Eared Bat, superseding the Interim Final 4(d) Rule (IFR) published last summer.  The Final 4(d) Rule will go into effect on February 16, 2016.  Please note FWS’s on-line information resource. Generally, the Final 4(d) Rule appears to lighten the regulatory burden on forestry activities, and on other non-forestry activities involving tree removal, compared to the more burdensome terms of the IFR, although significant and potentially troubling restrictions remain. Read more.

2016 NERCOFE workshop

Get updates on budworm, invasives and bat regulations

The 2016 NERCOFE workshop will be focused on “Bats, Bugs and Things in the Forest” on March 14 and 15, 2016 at the Wells Conference Center, University of Maine. Included on the agenda are updates on spruce budworm, invasive plants and the northern long-eared bat regulations. The deadline for registration is Feb. 29. More information.

Northeast pulpwood market

Challenges and uncertainty on wood prices

If you’re interested in wood prices in the Northeast — and who isn’t– you’ll probably want to read the new blog by Eric Kingsley of Innovative Natural Resource Solutions. Kinglsey writes that “in the thirteen-month period from November 2014 through December 2015, Maine lost markets for about 2 million green tons of pulpwood and mill chips. In a state where the total pulpwood use was 8.1 million green tons in 2014, that’s a big deal. With mill closures in Bucksport, Old Town and a capacity reduction at Verso’s Androscoggin mill in Jay, the state and the Northeast region have suffered real market losses. It was only a matter of time before these losses would affect fiber pricing, and it appears that time has finally come.” Read more.

‘Plywood on steriods’

UMaine grad student evaluates cross-laminated lumber

For his master’s project, Nicholas Willey is collaborating with university wood scientists and engineers to evaluate the performance of cross-laminated timber (CLT) made from solid-sawn and composite lumber from trees that grow in Maine and the northeastern U.S. CLT, an alternative to stone and concrete, is used to build homes and mid-rise commercial buildings in Europe and Canada. Since CLT was recently incorporated in the International Building Code, it can be used in building construction in the U.S., providing it meets manufacturing standards.Read more.

2016 Outstanding Tree Farmer

Pine Tree Camp also is dedicated to forest stewardship  
By Tami Burke, Pine Tree Society
“They chose a good name and they have the pine trees to back it up.”  That’s how Andrew Shultz, landowner outreach forester for the Maine Forest Service describes the Tree Farm at Pine Tree Camp. Pine Tree Camp, a project of the Pine Tree Society, was selected by the Maine Tree Farm Committee as the state’s Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year for 2016. Read more.
Dean Pepper
Dean Pepper

Twice honored

Pepper has a share in Pine Tree Camp award

Praise for loggers, some of the hardest workers anywhere, comes far too seldom. So it’s especially heartening to see a young logger honored twice in the past six month. MFPC chose Dean Pepper of Fayette as Maine’s Outstanding Logger at last fall’s annual meeting and now he’s also sharing in the Pine Tree Camp’s award as the state’s Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year for 2016. The camp also has been nominated for the American Tree Farm System’s national award. Read more.

 Logs for scouts

White pine logs needed for dining hall

The Pine Tree Council is working with the Pentagon’s Innovative Readiness Training program to train our servicemen and women while they renovate our Scout camps. An impressive accomplishment of this partnership is a new 10,000 square foot dining hall for Scouts, volunteers and the community. It’s time to go vertical with construction and we need lumber to make that happen! Donating logs is easy. Call Jeff Hall at Hancock Lumber, 207-329-9128. More information.