March 8, 2013

template top


Logging is ‘a lot harder than it looks’

Chad Bamford found out something Monday that many have discovered before him: Logging is “a lot harder than it looks,” even, or perhaps especially, with high-tech equipment.

“There are so many buttons on it,” Chad said. ” But the technology they have nowadays is probably doubling production out there. It was good to get some hands-on experience. “

 Fortunately, Chad, a senior at Foster Technology Center in Farmington, didn’t have to get his first experience on equipment that cost $500,000. Thanks to Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Franklin, ReEnergy and Nortrax, students from Foster Tech, Mt. Blue High, Spruce Mountain, Rangeley and Mt. Abram had a chance to operate simulators that allowed them to get a feel for a forwarder and processor.

 “I think it’s absolutely fantastic because this has given the kids and opportunity that we couldn’t give them without help,” said Dean Merrill, Foster Tech teacher. Read more…

Continued success at the Legislature

By Patrick Strauch, Executive Director

Bill Ferdinand commented to me this week that it feels as if he is reporting in to the Godfather as I try to help manage legislative affairs from afar. I prefer to compare the situation to the old TV show Charlie’s Angel’s as Michele runs legislative issues, Sue takes care of everything in the office, and Roberta keeps you all informed. I guess that makes Pat “Bosley” (described as “a middle-aged man of average looks, especially when contrasted with the glamorous Angels.”) But I can assure you he is more than capable as your acting executive director. I’ll be in the office a few days next week so this fantasy of mine will come to an end.

I told Michele I would write up the weekly legislative review, and can report continued success in representing your interests. The Tree Growth bills (LD 107 and LD 400) were voted out of the Taxation Committee ought not to pass (ONTP), which is a great effort by the team. The bill to increase Tree Growth reimbursements to the municipalities was tabled for further discussion in which we will participate. Read more…

BETR/BETE hearing Wednesday at 1 p.m.
MFPC remains focused on the upcoming biennial budget discussion which will come and the Governor’s  proposal on BETR/BETE.  The Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the Governor’s budget proposals on taxation issues Wednesday, March 13, in Room 228 at the State House. At 1 p.m., testimony will be taken on the Governor’s proposal to convert property remaining in the BETR program to the BETE program. We are concerned about the changes in the program that will have a mojor effect on some of our members. We continue to request information about the effects on your facility.

How does Maine logging compare to Vermont, N.H., N.Y.?

More than 60 percent of logging business owners who responded to a survey in Maine, Vermont,New Hampshire and New York were over 50.

In Maine, 80 percent of production is by whole-tree systems compared to only 46 percent in Vermont, and only 7 percent of Maine’s production is by tree-length systems, compared to 34 percent in Vermont.

There was overwhelming support (70 percent of respondents) for entry-level training for in-woods workers. In fact, close to 90 percent of cut-to-length contractors indicated that there was a need for such training compared to 70 percent of whole-tree and tree-length contractors.

Those are just a few of the interesting facts reported in A Survey Of Business Attributes, Harvest Capacity And Equipment Infrastructure Of Logging Businesses In The Northern Forest, recently released by the University of Maine School of Forest Resources.

Jeff Benjamin, associate professor of forest operations, and Bennet Leon, graduate research assistant gathered responses from over 420 contractors. Their survey provides a useful snapshot of the existing logging infrastructure, business owner demographics, harvest methods, production and capacity, and equipment infrastructure in the northeast and a baseline against which to measure change and trends over time through periodic resurveys.

Results of the survey will be presented and discussed by Jeff Benjamin at FRA’s April 4 Maine Forestry Forum. For more information contact Jeffrey Benjamin.

Recent updates to IFW’s Beginning with Habitat program

At MFPC’s recent “roundtable” with Gov. Paul LePage, John Gray raised some concerns about the Beginning with Habitat program at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. IFW. Commissioner Chandler Woodcock told him that a number of changes have been made to the program to address concerns from landowners. Later, the commissioner sent a statement to explain the changes. After reading the statement, Gray said, “The best I can say is that it is a step in the right direction.”  Read more… 

UPDATE: Lovaglio’s thoughts on apprentices go national

RISI saw Ron Lovaglio’s opinion piece on loggers, asked him to adjust it to a national perspective, and put it in this month’s Wood Biomass Report. If you missed it in our Feb. 22 newsletter, you can read  “Where have all the loggers gone?” on our website.

Maine manufacturing jobs drop, including lumber/wood

 EVANSTON, Ill.– Industrial employment in Maine dropped 1.4% over the past year, including a 4.9 percent decline in lumber/wood, according to the 2013 Maine Manufacturers Register®, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers’ News, Inc. The company reported that transportation equipment remains the largest manufacturing sector in the state, with paper product manufacturing ranking second. Read more…