Monday, November 11, 2013

Gabler Bill To Exempt Timber Ops From Pennsylvania Sales Tax Moves Forward

By AMANDA NICHOLS Era Reporter | The Bradford Era

Legislation which would amend the Tax Reform Code of 1971 to exclude timber companies from paying sales and use tax on items used directly in their operation, will go to the state House of Representatives on Wednesday for second consideration.

Earlier this year, state Rep. Matt Gabler, R-DuBois, reintroduced House Bill 1138, formerly House Bill 2546 of 2011, to extend a sales tax exclusion for timber harvesters which already exists for agriculture, manufacturing and even sawmills.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

FRA Industry News - NE Logging Capacity Deficit Noted

“The guys left in the woods are running old machinery,” comments a Maine wood buyer quoted in the October 17th Resource Information Systems Inc. (RISI) International Woodfiber Report. “And if we were all running our mills 100%, or there was a lot of bad weather over the next 12 months, there would be mill outages due to the infrastructure issues.” “Infrastructure issues” seems to refer to logging capacity. According to RISI, these concerns extend throughout New England and into New York and Pennsylvania, as well as New Brunswick. Apart from loggers’ capital shortage, RISI also notes an in-woods labor shortage—perhaps resulting from competition from the fracking fields, trucking, and construction—running up against the gradually growing mill demand, from new biomass facilities as well as sawmills.
Concern about attracting a new generation of workers to logging is growing in all regions. Recent initiatives of note:
  • The Comprehensive Harvester Operator Training Initiative in northern Maine, currently seeking funding from public and private sources, plans to combine regionwide logging career promotion with a robust entry-level training program;
  • The Forestry Workforce Alliance, in which FRA participates, seeks to organize a network to ensure both entry-level and employed forest-related workers have effective resources to gain and improve skills;
  • Alabama Green Industries, a state-level high school program, currently focused on arborists and landscapers, has shown interest in developing an entry-level logging workers curriculum;
  • The Forestry Equipment Operator Training Program, operated jointly by the North Carolina Association of Professional Loggers and the NC Community College System, with industry cooperators, covers in-woods and business management topics, has graduated its first class, and is seeking opportunities to expand.
Please inform your FRA Region Manager (or Neil Ward at FRA’s National Office) of any new and promising programs you are aware of to attract logging workers to the profession and to provide them with effective training and orientation.