MFPC Newsletter October 2018

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Members and candidates listened carefully and asked questions at the breakfast in Old Town.
Getting ready for the 129th Legislature

We finished the last of five candidates breakfasts on October 10 in Calais and I’m happy to say we had an excellent turnout — about 150 total — of candidates and members. In fact, we even had a member who is a candidate! These breakfasts are valuable because they bring our members together with candidates who care enough about our industry to show up — some driving many miles — and listen. Some will cast important votes on industry issues in the coming legislative session, but even those who don’t win are likely to remain active and engaged in their  towns. They all need to know what’s happening in our $8.5 billion industry, especially since we to hope to grow it to $12 billion by 2025. Read more.

Don’t miss the MFPC Board meeting Nov. 8, 1 p.m.: There’s no guarantee all the races will be settled just two days after the election, but Executive Director Patrick Strauch, lobbyist Michele MacLean and Bill Ferdinand of Eaton Peabody will make sense of it all and give us their take on how the next administration and Legislature might affect the forest products industry. Strauch encourages all members to think about the issues that MFPC should focus on and also let the Council know what legislation would be helpful to their businesses. 

Alden Robbins, Robbins Lumber (moderator), Jason Brochu, Pleasant River Lumber; Ken Laustsen, Maine Forest Service (retired); Jeff Easterling, NELMA, and Patrick Strauch, MFPC.

Interest in forest products industry is high: You only have to look at Executive Director Patrick Strauch’s crowded schedule to see that a lot is going in Maine’s forest products industry and people are excited about what’s ahead. For example, Strauch was asked to serve on a panel at the Maine Mass Timber Event at UMaine Oct. 11 and speak about the FOR/Maine report at the Maine Society of American Foresters meeting Oct. 23. 

Driver shortage drives new program at TCTC.

Truck driver program takes next step: As Mainebiz recently reported, there is a serious shortage of truck drivers. Do you know someone with log trucking expertise and a desire to help the next generation of drivers get a start? Tri-County Technical Center (TCTC) in Dexter has a job for them. Thanks to the generous support of MFPC members, including Pallet One, Pleasant River Lumber and Seven Islands, and a $20,000 grant from the Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund, TCTC is moving ahead with the plan to add log truck and loader training to its Commercial Driver’s License program (CDL training proposal). However, about $3,500 in donations is still needed. TCTC has posted a job for a Logging Training-Behind-the-Wheel Instructor, said CDL instructor Vickki Kimball. Read more.

Don’t forget trucker safety training: The Certified Logging Professional program (CLP) board has formed a trucking safety subcommittee to review rising insurance costs, safety, and employment issues. “There is obviously urgency to promote incentives through training and education to include highway and off-road drivers,” said CLP Program Director Mike St. Peter.  The subcommittee decided that the CLP program is well suited to take on the task of improving risk by facilitating a safety awareness program for log and chip truck drivers. The subcommittee will consider creating incentives to reduce incidents and may partner with Team Safe Trucking (TST), an organization that provides online training nationwide. The CLP trucking group would look to add to, and regionalize the TST program, for Maine. The next meeting is scheduled for the afternoon of November 19, at the MFPC office in Augusta. Contact CLP for more information. 

Updates on adjacency, OTR and greenhouse gas petitions: Although much is on hold as we await a new administration in Augusta, we thought you might like updates on some pending issues that are important to our industry, including the adjacency principle at LUPC, the petition to opt out of the Ozone Transport Region, the Greenhouse gas petition and the concerns raised about impacts on “wilderness” scenic views, forest habitats, and tourism from the proposed CMP transmission line in western Maine. Read more.

John Bartow, Empire State Forest Products Association; Bethany and Pat Sirois, SIC Maine coordinator, and Gordon Gamble of Wagner Forest Management at the 2018 SFI Conference.

The SFI Annual Conference always brings together thought leaders and influencers, including forest sector representatives, conservation and community partners, and Indigenous leaders as well as some of the most engaged forest product customers in North America. The 2018 conference, Oct. 16-18 at Westminster, Colo., focused on an important theme: When it comes to providing supply chain assurances, producing conservation outcomes, and supporting education and community engagement – Forests are the Answer. “One of the accomplishments for SFI that stood out for me is that the program has grown to 320 million acres in the U.S. and Canada,” said Pat Sirois, Maine SIC coordinator. “That’s an additional 40 million in the last year. At the conference, we heard the term “scale” used often in relation to what can be accomplished with 320 million acres for a variety of issues from threatened habitats to climate change. Those discussions brought interests from all over North America, Europe and Scandinavia. You got the sense that opportunities for the SFI seem limitless.” Read more.

SFI’s flume table continued to work its magic, attracting plenty of interest at the Maine Snowmobile Association show, which drew 4,578 paying customers to the Augusta Civic Center Oct. 19-21.

Coming up

  • Nov. 9, ALL RESERVATIONS FILLED — Keeping Maine’s Forests (KMF) Recreation Forum, MFPC office. KMF’s mission is to foster collaboration among a broad group of interests with a common goal of maintaining Maine’s working forest landscape. This recreation forum will bring together the North Woods forest landowners and recreational development leaders to discuss concerns, develop a common understanding of the issues and establish a dialog for future work. 
  • Dec. 12, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Project Learning Tree (PLT) uses the forest as a “window on the world” to increase students’ understanding of our complex environment. This workshop provides an introduction to PLT kindergarten through grade 12 curriculum for natural resource professionals, land trust educators and administrators, tree farmers and loggers. Registration deadline is Dec. 6. Questions? Contact Pat Maloney, 626-7990. To register email or call 207-621-9872. More information.