March 2, 2013

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One Tree Growth bill voted down, another tabled

The pace at the legislature is slowly picking up…and more and more bills are getting printed. We are around 700 bills printed so far with approximately 1,000 still yet to be drafted. We still await the ACF merger language.

The Tax Committee held hearings Monday on two tree growth bills, LD 400 and 492 (insert bill titles here).  The Council strongly opposed LD 400 which would require wood harvested off of tree growth enrolled land to be harvested by Maine workers and processed within Maine. Read more…

‘Great, challenging statements’ made  at Conservation Recreation Forum at MFPC  

The Maine Conservation Recreation Forum was a forum in the true sense – an opportunity for a very lively debate on everything from “amenities” in the Maine woods, to “foraging” on private property, to alewives in the St. Croix.

“I think it’s good to get industry and environmental groups and government agencies all in the same room to bat ideas back and forth,” said Jim Robbins of Robbins Lumber. “Even if we don’t agree on everything. It doesn’t hurt to hear the other side.”

The forum was co-sponsored by MFPC and the Maine Conservation Alliance and funded by a grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund. The featured speaker was Carolann Ouellette, Maine director of tourism, who led a very lively discussion as she presented statistics about “Maine’s Outdoor Recreation Economy – Past, Present, and Future.” Her presentation, which included research on tourism in the Maine woods, travel trends and marketing strategies, provoked many questions and much debate. Read more…

MLEA to address growing need for loggers

By Joel Swanton, Northeast Region Manager, Forest Resources Associatio.

There is growing concern in Maine, and throughout North America, that there will be insufficient qualified labor to meet the future harvesting and transportation needs of our industry. The Maine Logger Training and Education Alliance (MLEA) met this week to review the results of last fall’s  Logger Training Survey, which found that 73 percent of contractors surveyed stated that there is a need for an equipment operator-training program in Maine.

The Comprehensive Harvesting Operator Training Initiative, proposed in 2012 by Northern Maine interests to address this need, is awaiting the results of a grant application for funding.

MLEA members also agreed to develop a proposal for a video to be used as a recruitment tool to attract new forest workers, focusing on changing the image of loggers.

Members also heard that on May 14-15, the University of Maine-Fort Kent will be hosting a two-day Business Management Training seminar for logging contractors, focusing on financing, record keeping, operational analysis, and harvest business planning. Registration information will be available soon. The seminar can be repeated in other locations if there is interest.

Screen shotMFPC new website up and running
If you haven’t visited the MFPC website in a while, we hope you’ll take a look and tell us what you think — all comments and suggestions are appreciated. We’re still working to update content and add more.We’d also like to invite all members to send us events, articles, photos and their opinions on forestry issues. Our goal is to make our website a kind of community newspaper to exchange information of interest to all in the Maine forest products industry.So your help and advice would be much appreciated. Please send your ideas and opinions to Roberta Scruggs, communications director.
UPDATE: Strauch’s back on policy call

Executive director Patrick Strauch took part in Friday’s teleconference on legislative efforts Friday, saying the rehab of his broken leg is going well. He is in contact with MFPC staff and hopes to return as soon as he is more mobile.