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U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen spent a warm afternoon on Thursday, July 9, in Berlin, N.H., touring the Burgess Bioenergy plant. Burgess is an important buyer of low-grade wood, which it uses to fuel its electricity-generating operation, and much of the discussion during the tour was about the threats New Hampshire's loggers and sawmills are under due to a multi-faceted collapse of the woodchip and wood pulp market. Sen. Shaheen has been instrumental in encouraging federal support for the forest-products industry, including low-grade markets.
"Today was an important opportunity to show Sen. Shaheen the direct impact on plants like Burgess, the landowners, loggers, and suppliers that support them, and the communities they operate in that a weak low-grade market has," said Jasen Stock, executive director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, who co-hosted the tour along with Burgess. "She has always shown interest in the industry, which is the third-largest in New Hampshire, and today she heard about the realities the industry is dealing with in the wake of the closures of several bioenergy plants and paper mills."
Dammon Frecker, operations manager at Burgess, told the Senator that his biggest concern, which he said is shared by other bioenergy plants as well as sawmills, is where the next load of wood is going to come from. "We buy woodchips from big companies but also from a lot of family loggers, and without good markets for low-grade wood those family operations have a very difficult time making a go of it," he said. "We need those loggers to stay in business in order for us to have the supply of woodchips we need."
As part of the tour, Burgess officials presented a check to town officials from the City of Berlin in the amount of $523,000 as part of a revenue sharing agreement. "This is the result of our partnership with this great community, one that we're proud to operate in," said Frecker, who then waved toward the distant peaks of the Presidential Range. "Plus, you can't ask for a more beautiful place for an energy plant."
PretiFlaherty, the Concord, N.H.-based law firm that is well-known in the Granite State's forest products industry, has created a tool to help small business owners in the industry navigate through the federal government's requirements and options for for COVID-19-related employer relief. Click here to download a PDF of this highly useful tool.
For more information, go to www.preti.com
The 109th Annual Meeting of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association will be held "virtually" this year in concordance with guidelines from local and federal health authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Materials for the Annual Meeting, including the 2019 Annual Report, this year's proposed budget, this year's slate of officers and directors, and instructions for participating in the Meeting, were mailed to all NHTOA members on June 1. These materials are also available at the links below:
In the wake of Gov. Sununu's Emergency Order #17 issued on March 26, 2020 -- the "stay at home" order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus -- the following changes have been made to the schedule of upcoming classes, workshops, and events hosted by the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association:
- All Professional Logger Program (PLP) and Landowner classes and workshops are cancelled until May 4, 2020. Please check the NHTOA website for any further updates or postponements of classes/workshops. Please call the NHTOA office for information about rolling any prepaid registration fees to fall PLP and Landowner classes or about refunds.
- The 109th NHTOA Annual Meeting has been postponed until June 13, 2020. It will still be held at Sanborn Mills Farm, Loudon, N.H. All registrations already made for the Meeting's original date (May 2) will be applied to the new date.
- The New Hampshire Forest Career Field Day, originally scheduled for May 7, 2020, at Bear Brook State Park, has been postponed until the spring of 2021. Watch the NHTOA website for new dates and information. Exhibitors who booked exhibit space for the original date should contact Cheri Birch, NHTOA's program director, for information about applying fees to the rescheduled event or about refunds.
- The "Forests of New Hampshire Teacher Tour," July 21-24, is still scheduled. Click here for more information.