NCFA participated in a report to the Joint Legislative Energy Policy Commission earlier this week at the North Carolina General Assembly. The NCFA combined efforts with the North Carolina Forest Service and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture for one of the four presentations heard by the commission.
The Energy Policy Commission, led by co-chairs Representative John Szoka and Senator Paul Newton, invited the NCFA to present information pertaining to the forest products industry, namely markets, and any industry initiatives that related to domestic energy production.
Clay Altizer, a PH.D. Utilization Forester with the North Carolina Forest Service, was asked to report on industrial pellet production generated in North Carolina for the global marketplace. Robert Hosford with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture updated the commission on the Port of Wilmington and the exporting of pellets.
The duo did an excellent job of demonstrating that the emerging market of industrial pellets is just four percent of the forest products footprint in North Carolina. Sawtimber and pulpwood production is still the top products overall.
NCFA’s Senior Director of Communications Chris Brown and NCFA President-Elect/Treasurer Perry Hunt provided an overview of the forest products industry, stressing to the commission that a strong forest products markets produces healthy and productive forests. Click here for the power point.
Brown highlighted the role North Carolina has played throughout its history in providing the global economy with products from the forests, noting that North Carolina led the production of naval stores during colonial times. He also noted that North Carolina’s forests are overwhelmingly privately owned – about 85% of the forests. Markets provide the incentives for these forestland owners who invest private funds into an endeavor that has many public benefits. He also provided some background and overview on the forest resource in the state and the forest products industry marketplace.
Perry Hunt of Hunt Forest Resources, LLC, then stepped up and detailed his personal experiences as working with forest landowners to realize their economic returns on their forestland investments with examples. He also explained how one of his company’s ventures, East Coast Firewood, LLC, provides a niche market for forestland owners for materials that would be left on the landscape in most cases.
Brown concluded the presentation by highlighting a few areas where the General Assembly could make a positive difference for forestry. Those areas included Transportation (weight tolerance), Present Use Value Tax, Forest Development Fund, Responsible Public Policy, and Military Partnerships as pertains to conservation easements.
The commission maintains a website and all of the presentations made that day are online. Click here to check them out.
The NCFA appreciated the opportunity to participate in the information session and will continue to keep our elected officials up-to-date on forestry and the forest products industry throughout the year.
A special thanks to Perry Hunt for taking time away from his business commitments to travel down to the General Assembly and share his knowledge and experiences with our elected officials. It is important that our lawmakers hear from the people directly involved in our industry. Thanks Perry!