Maine’s forest products sector contributes an estimated $8.1 billion and 31,822 jobs to our state’s economy. That’s about 4 percent of the jobs in Maine. Put another way, roughly 1 out of 25 jobs in Maine is associated with the forest products sector.
MFPC Newsletter October 2019
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ACF Committee tours northern Maine forests
As with most issues involving forestry matters it’s always instructive to move the discussion to the woods. That’s what we did when we invited the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF) Committee to tour forestlands where aerial applications of herbicides have been used as a silvicultural tool in the forests for more than 30 years.
During the legislative session, Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Aroostook, introduced LD 1691 An Act To Ban Use of Aerial Herbicide Spraying for the Purpose of Deforestation. With all the news about glyphosate, aka Roundup, it is to be expected questions about its use in Maine would arise, and the image of aerial applications can be concerning.The ACF Committee and landowners wanted to provide context with a field visit.
Then the bill was turned into a resolve and the committee requested that the Bureau of Pesticides Control conduct a third party audit of the aerial application program this year and requested a tour of field operations. The audit was conducted by the BPC earlier in August and results of the study will be reported to the ACF Committee next session. Read more.
A long overdue and enthusiastic celebration of Maine Forest Products week
The first Maine Forest Products Week since 1985 has gone very well. We started celebrating at the Maine Snowmobile Show Oct. 18, where the MFPC display gave us a chance to tell the story of our industry for three days to many, many people.
The booth was well received and busy all weekend,” said Bob Meyers, director of the Maine Snowmobile Association. “It was a great addition to one of the best shows we’ve had in quite a while.”
Thanks to everyone who worked at the MFPC booth, including Sarah Medina and Hannah Stevens of Seven Islands; Chris Fife and Elisa Colon of Weyerhaeuser; Kenny Ferguson of Huber, Matt Steadman of Irving; Tom Nelson of Prentiss and Carlisle; Kevin McCarthy, retired from SAPPI; Jimmy and Ann Robbins of Robbins Lumber, and the MFPC staff, Patrick Strauch, Sue McCarthy and Roberta Scruggs.
Special thanks to Bob Meyers, who not only encouraged us every step of the way, but also steered people, including Rep. Jared Golden, to our booth.
Another great event was the symposium on Maine’s New Forest Economy, sponsored by the University of Maine, which attracted about 80 people.
“It was a super event with wide participation from a diverse audience,” said Brian Roth, Cooperative Forestry Research Unit.
Maine Association of Conservation Districts receives Austin Wilkins Award
The award was created by the Maine TREE Foundation and the Department of Conservation in 2004, to recognize people or organizations that stand above their peers to further forestry, forests, or forestland conservation in the State of Maine.
“I think any time we can come together and applaud good forestry in this state – sustainable forestry – we should do it,” said Marcia McKeague, president of the TREE Foundation Board. Read more.
Concerns about work force issues spark animated discussion at MFPC 59th Annual Meeting
As MFPC Executive Director Patrick Strauch wrote in a recent op-ed for the Portland Press Herald, after some of the toughest years in the long history of Maine’s forest products industry, a new, stronger forest economy is emerging. Just a back-of-the-envelope tally shows investments of about $1 billion is revitalizing our industry.
The flip side of that rebound is that the industry is facing a work force “crisis,” said Ryan Wallace, director of the Maine Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Southern Maine, told more than 100 members, guests, speakers and state leaders, including Gov. Janet Mills, at the Council’s 59th annual meeting Sept 16.
“This a crisis in many respects and not for just the forest sector but for a number of sectors in the state,” Wallace said. “We need to think about how we are going to tap the local supply chain – cultivate the local displaced and discouraged workers. Find young people who are not set in their jobs. How do we attract and target those age cohorts to tell them the story about the opportunities in the forest products sector?” Read more.
Maine Wood Concepts of New Vineyard announced Oct. 3 that Jody Fletcher has been promoted to the position of company president. He previously served as vice president of the family owned and operated company.
Jody is the younger brother of former president, Douglas Fletcher, who has assumed the role of CEO and will be assisting with the transition. He plans to retire from the family business once the transition is complete.
“Although the change in leadership may seem sudden to some,” Doug Fletcher said, “this has actually been a work in progress for quite some time now. Over the past few years we’ve worked hard to bring on the right talent necessary for us to move forward with our succession plans. Jody has been intimately involved with the senior management of the business for a very long time and we’ve worked closely over the past three decades to strengthen and grow the family business. I have every confidence in his ability to handle the challenges associated with the position of president.” Read more.
Together we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Because of Mike Thurlow’s successful fundraising during the 2018 Millinocket Marathon Campaign, Make-A-Wish Maine was able to grant the wish of Abbi, who is a Millinocket native, and wished to meet her favorite purple dinosaur, Barney!
Abbi has Rett Syndrome, which is a rare neurological disorder. Music is an important part of her therapy and she is particularly captivated with the songs and sights of Barney & Friends.
Abbi and her family traveled to Universal Studios for a life-changing experience that brought Abbi’s family closer and allowed her to experience the simple pleasure of being together as a family.
Hear from Sen. Angus King and a panel of forestry experts, including Jim Robbins, Robbins Lumber; Donna Cassese, Sappi; Brianna Bowman, FOR/Maine, and Marina Bowie, Biobased Maine,who will share information about what’s happening within the Maine forest industry — now and in the future.
Since 1961, the Maine Forest Products Council has been the voice of Maine’s forest economy. MFPC’s members are landowners, loggers, truckers, paper mills, tree farmers, foresters, lumber processors and the owners of more than 8 million acres of commercial forestland, but they are also bankers, lawyers and insurance executives. The Council represents members at the Maine Legislature and across the state, in Washington D.C. and across the U.S.