Logging Expo Set for June 7
The Southeast Virginia Logging Capacity Task is sponsoring a Logging Expo at
Paul D. Camp Community College Regional Workforce Development Center on June 7. VFA staff, including Shannon Fowler and Executive Director Paul Howe, as well as individuals other Virginia forest resource organizations and businesses are part of the Task Force that has worked to coordinate this event. Harrell Turner, head of the Task Force explains “We want to help loggers any way we can. We want them to be successful. The event is for anyone associated with logging — from equipment dealers to financial consultants — to business management." Read the full article here.
Logging Opportunities Increase as Forest Industry Rebounds in SE Virginia
Southeast Virginia has experienced a dramatic downturn in wood products industries over the past decade, but now that trend is beginning to reverse as a number of new projects by wood-using industries are being announced and developed. The repurposing of the International Paper Mill for the manufacture of fluff pulp in 2012; the construction of two new wood pellet plants by Enviva in 2013; and the conversion of two coal burning power plants to wood fuel by Dominion Power (also supplied by Enviva) in 2013 are creating new opportunities for the logging industry.
In light of these announcements, forest industry leaders in the area recognized a need to increase logging capacity available to service the industry. Preliminary estimates indicate that based on new project announcements, annual wood consumption in the area would increase by more than 3 million tons by the end of 2013.
The Southeast Virginia Logging Capacity Task Force was formed to investigate the logging capacity issue and develop workforce capacity to meet employer demands. The Task Force’s mission statement is: “To facilitate an increase in logging capacity by providing training and additional resources.” The Task Force is grant funded, with an initial grant secured by Paul D. Camp Community College (PDCCC) Regional Workforce Development Center to fund the efforts of developing training programs and resources to satisfy regional employer demands. Additional grants have been provided by International Paper Foundation and Enviva. The Task Force is also seeking funds from Governor McDonnell’s Agricultural and Forestry Industries Development Fund.
The Task Force determined that a survey of loggers in the area would be beneficial in identifying the barriers to expanding logging capacity. This survey was developed by Scott Barrett with the Virginia Tech SHARP Logger program and administered by the PDCCC Regional Workforce Development Center. A mail survey was conducted in late 2012, and an executive summary of the results is being compiled and will be available in a future Task Force update.
This Task Force has identified objectives to facilitate an increase of logging capacity within the area. Objectives being considered include: sponsoring a mini logging expo at PDCCC Regional Workforce Development Center on June 7; developing business counseling services for existing as well as potential loggers; developing a logging resource center at the Workforce Development Center; pursuing a truck driver training program; and providing career counseling to encourage logging start-ups. Logger training programs in other states are also being reviewed to see if any of those programs may have applications in Virginia.
In February the Task Force hired C. Harrell Turner (CHT Forestry LLC) as a part-time coordinator for the Task Force. Other Task Force members include William Snyder (International Paper), Paul Howe and Shannon Fowler (Va. Forestry Association), Jim Mooney (Va. Loggers Association), Randy Fields and Ed Sontag (Enviva), Marc St. John (RockTenn), Scott Barrett (Va. Tech Sharp Logger Program), Neil Clark (Va. Tech Extension), Amanda Jarratt (Franklin-Southampton Economic Development), Carl Garrison (Va. State Forester), and Randy Betz (PDCCC Division of Workforce Development).
American Chestnut Trees to Help Restore Mine Lands in Pound, Virginia
The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) and its partners are planting approximately 1,000 potentially blight-resistant American chestnuts with other mixed hardwood trees on 22 acres of a reclaimed coal mine site near Pound, Va. TACF’s potentially blight-resistant American chestnuts, called Restoration Chestnuts 1.0, are the result of 30 years of careful breeding and research by TACF’s scientists in an effort to restore this native tree.
Over three years, approximately 250,000 seedlings, including more than 14,000 blight-resistant American chestnuts will be planted by TACF and project cooperators on a total of 360 acres. This project is the largest planting of potentially blight-resistant American chestnut trees in the Foundation’s history and marks a milestone in the restoration of this once dominant native tree.
“This is truly a win-win project,” said VDOF Senior Area Forester Bill Miller. “The community in and around Pound benefits from the reclamation of the former surface mine, and our natural environment benefits through the re-establishment of this vital tree species. We’re honored to have a role in this important event.”
The planting and monitoring of chestnuts at the Pound, Virginia site is the result of a partnership between TACF, VDOF, the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) and Green Forests Work. The reclaimed surface mine site has been prepared using the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA), a method which breaks up the compacted soil so that trees can grow successfully.
The planting is funded in part by a grant from the US Forest Service to the Virginia Department of Forestry and by a Conservation Innovation Grant awarded to The American Chestnut Foundation from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to establish forest trees, including American chestnut, on 12 reclaimed mine sites in Appalachia.
Once the dominant tree in America's eastern forests, the chestnut was a giant – growing more than 100 feet tall and providing food for people and wildlife alike. A fungus, first observed in 1904 spread quickly, killing more than 4 billion trees and virtually wiping out the species. In 2005, TACF announced it had developed the first generation of potentially blight-resistant chestnut trees.
Tree seedlings selling fast; order yours before they’re gone
Each year, the VDOF grows and sells more than 24 million tree seedlings. And every year, many of the more than 40 species sell out before the harvest season ends in April. If you are looking to plant tree seedlings or reforest your land this year, you still have a few weeks remaining to order your seedlings. But don’t wait too much longer as several species, including Black Walnut, Redbud, Eastern Red Cedar, Black Cherry, Bald Cypress, Gray Dogwood, White Dogwood, Hazelnut, Mulberry, Persimmon, Yellow Poplar, Red Osier Dogwood and Loblolly Pine (all varieties), have already sold out.
Seedlings are available in quantities as low as 10 or 25; these small quantities can be beneficial to landowners of modest-size forested tracts. Order yours today by visiting the VDOF Web store, calling the Augusta Forestry Center at 540.363.7000, or contacting your local VDOF office.
EQIP Program Provides Funding for Forest Landowners
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) now has more than $800,000 in funding available to landowners through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for forest land planning and conservation. Through this program, the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and NRCS offer expert advice and financial assistance to help you better manage your property.
Preparation of a Forestry Conservation Activity Plan (CAP #106) is usually the first step. The CAP #106 is personalized to the landowner’s property, goals and objectives, and includes a list of natural resource specialists who can offer assistance and advice. VDOF foresters serve as another resource for landowners who want to manage their land for specific purposes such as recreation or wildlife habitat.
Eligible forestry practices for implementation include establishing or reestablishing forest land; stabilizing logging roads, trails and landings, and improving existing privately-owned, non-commercial forest land. Efforts to restore longleaf pine in its historic Eastern Virginia range are receiving special emphasis.
CAP #106 preparation expenses and associated conservation practices are eligible for incentive payments under EQIP. NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at specific times. Interested landowners are encouraged to apply before the next cutoff (Feb. 15, 2013) for application review to be eligible for funding.
To learn more about the program and eligibility requirements, interested forest landowners should contact their local VDOF Senior Area Forester or the NRCS Service Center.