tv [untitled] May 22, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT
supervisors across this country, i thank you for this opportunity to be be here today. i currently serve as a board member for the state of alabama. my wife and i own homestead company, a sole proprietorship where we are a tree farm operation. my family has used a variety of conservation practices over nearly 200 years, including cross fencing, rotational grazing, padded water troughs. we received our first farm plan in 1939 and we have been a certified tree farm since 1941. we have a mix of pine and hard woods on our property and in 1999, we reintroduced long leaf to our property.
we currently have a farm management plan and we have a resource to assist us with our forest management. the importance of conservation cannot be stated enough. that is why nacd supports the passage of the 2012 farm bill. conservation districts throughout the country have been strong participants and supporters of the programs which provide technical assistance to nonindustrial private forests. since the program's creation, it has -- for more than 31 million acres of private fore eest land developing sound resource management and conservation plans is a principal tenant of nacd. nacd is one of the four partners of joint forestry team. including the forest service, nrcs and my fellow panelists, the national association of state foresters.
the forest management plan template, serves as a primary guidance to nrcs forestry technical service providers. i served as chairman of the joint forestry team in 2010 and saw the value that the team provided to not just the stewart ship program but to the forest industry as a whole. on my own land, in the southeastern united states, i have seen direct benefit of the forest steward ship program. my work with the long leaf pine restoration what -- to date i have restored more than 700 acres of long leaf pine in an effort to restore this native tree to our forests. second the forest legacy project has been a important part of the work by allowing owners to
protect environmentally important forest areas from expansion and by engaging with the locally led process to develop conservation plans. while the senate 2012 farm -- includes a program cap of $200 million annually. i do not believe this cap will have a negative impact on being able to successfully carry out conservati conservation. pine needless have been particularly devastating in the forests throughout the western united states. insect infestation and disease have a direct impact on our members and furthermore put our livelihood in danger due to the loss of timber and the increased risk of wildfire. conservation districts feel that more needs to be done to address this mounting problem. and the farm bill frame work we have seen is a step in the right direction.
in conclusion, these farm bill programs show a track record of success, and every dollar spent has soon a return. i am happy to answer any questions you or the subcommittee may have. thank you, sir. >> thank you, mr. holmes. now i yield to the gentleman from florida for purpose of introduction. >> i would like to thank you for this opportunity to hold this hear to review forest try -- my -- agriculture product is trees. over $16 billion is infused into florida's economy from the manufacturing and distribution of forest products each year.
the national forest is the largest u.s. national forest in the state of florida and it reside in my congressional district. i am proud today to welcome a witness from our district, it is an honor to welcome mr. schwab with 22 years of experience in the forestry industry and he is representing the southeastern wood producing organization. as well as the american logger's council. i commend mr. schaub for his -- i yield back.
>> thank you, schaub. i do just want to do a housekeeping thing, i introduced mr. -- >> thank you very much mr. chairman for your courtesy and thank the witnesses for an -- unfortunately, i am going to have to go, but i would like to have unanimous consent to submit testimony, a statement of land trust alliance from the society for the protection of new hampshire forests on giving states more conservation options for implementing the usda forest legacy program. i have some statements that i would like to put into the
record. thank my colleagues for their courtesy and would like to submit that to the record. we need to work together for all of the right reasons. >> apologize mr. schaub, so go ahead and start over with your five minutes of testimony. >> thank you, chairman thompson, i appreciate that. i am richard schaub, i'm a third generation logger who has worked in the forest industry for the past 22 years. i am a proud florida master logger. i'm here today representing my family's small business, we are a timber harvesting company in perry, florida and we have been practicing sustainable forestry for 15 years. i'm also representing 500 businesses in florida and georgia as well as the american logger's council, a national organization representing professional timber harvesters.
our first concern is directed toward the -- the fia program is is best resource that we have available to measure outcomes and plans of the future force. the date is also being used to create jobs today. i personally work with other companies to help develop their new markets in our region of the country. these new markets are established and located in part based on the available fia data. we would ask you to reaffirm the u.s. forest services forced inventory and analysis program to enhance the program's efficiency and effectiveness. next we would like to talk about the steward ship program. it offers forest managers -- federal forest land. steward ship contracts are used for treatments that promote healthy forests while -- my family's small business has been worked on two steward ship programs -- it was great to
see -- fire lines, roads and wildlife habitats were either improved or created. we urged congress to permanently reauthorize the -- in the 2012 farm bill. next we would ask you to reauthorize the national institute of food and agricultural -- maintain the current funding levels. my company has personally worked with the university of florida's extension by harvesting biomass and other types of timber crops on their projects. i have personally seen these crops and i am excited about the different growth of forest crops. other item found in the current farm bill is section 8401 which is a provision for qualifying timber contract options. since the passage of the 2008 farm bill, it would be safe to say that our sector of the economy is in a state of economic depression. federal -- during time are left
holding contracts that are now priced too high for them to be able to harvest without incurring substantial financial losses. i personally know many of these owners of small businesses and know that they contribute to the communities where unemployment rates are still hovering between 15% and 20%. these small family owned businesses need additional time on these contracts while we continue to wait for our markets to recover. please restore 8401 for timber sales that were awarded -- there are also some areas in the energy title of the 2008 farm bill that we have the intention of our timber harvesting community. first being the renewable biomass found there. we would like to see the current definition as written maintained in the 2012 farm bill. we need as broad a based definition for renewable farm mass in any energy policy.
this is very important to my -- producing chips for renewable energy production. we also don't favor any program that would allow for the artificial manipulation of existing markets. the biomass crop assistance program, v-cap is the primary example of a well intended federal program gone awry. our company personally took part in the program and experienced nothing but major market disruptions and extra paper work. there was no new facilities or markets established in our area of operation as a direct result of the v-cap program. the v-cap program might have worked well for the agricultural sector, but it was a disaster for our business and other businesses in the timber harvesting community. the last program that i would like to address is the biobased markets program. under the current law, forest products have received an
unfavorable position in the program. we would like to see the language in the 2012 farm bill that would create parody between forest and other biobased programs that would focus on products that would rely -- regardless of the date of industry into the marketplace. i'm personally working with a company called american progress, which is a company that has completed construction on a pilot wood ethanol plant. it's located in alpena, michigan, they will be taking wastewater from an existing plant and using this to produce ethanol. the company saw a need, realized what it took to solve the need and made the investment. thank you for allowing me to provide testimony and comments as you formulate the forest industry titles of the 2012 farm bill and i will be happy to answer any questions that you might v. >> thank you mr. schaub. now we'll recognize mr. logan for five minutes of testimony. >> thank you very much mr. chairman and members of the committee.
my name is michael gergen, i really appreciate the opportunity to be here today and talk with you about some very important programs and really an important part of the american economic picture when we think about forestings and i'm very pleased with this panel, much of what i would like to tell you this morning actually has been said by my colleagues here today, which is outstanding and i will try to save as much time on your busy schedules as i can. with that said, i do want to point out that we represent more than 12,000 people across the country who have really dedicated their lives to the professional management care and protection of america's forests. these folks have really committed themselves to ensure that the forests of the united states are taken care of and managed in the best possible way, and some of the programs that are contained within the farm bill are very important to their ability to do their jobs. we have heard about some of them today and i'll touch on those as well.
the damaging bark beetle issue that we have, particularly in the western part of the united states. when i think about steward ship contracting in particular, i really want to talk about the success of a program that really started off as a pilot project, we're going to see how things work, we're going to make sure that the tool is something that can actually be used on the ground in the forest service and the bureau of land management can actually benefit from and actually be a benefit to the taxpayer as well. and the truth is the contracting authority has been very successful for both of these agencies. we also would like to advocate for permanent reauthorization of stewart ship contracting. it really is a big success story, we treated over half a million acres of the united states with stewart ship contracts. we actually awarded 900 steward ship contracts just within the last five years.
as many as 200 were conducted last year in 2011. with the authority expiring in 2013, we're concerned that if it's not extended a lot of the momentum may scale back or not be invested in the way we think it should b this is an important tool because it allows these agencies to act like a business. many of you own land, you understand what was when you have a project being done on your particular land, someone comes in to do some forest management, to reduce some fire risk on your property, maybe there was a culvert that needed to be replaced. you get that contracted to do that work as well. this is something that can be done through steward ship contracting. this really wasn't allowed. they had to have a separate contract for another piece and this allows them to put it all together, select good contractors and get the work done. when i think about western pine beetle and in particular the mountain pine beetle. i have to tell you it's a very
sad story. since 1997, bark beetle mortality has devastated 47 million acres. the forest service estimates that up to 100,000 dead trees are killed by beetles alone, fall to the ground every day. in southern wyoming and northern colorado. 100,000 trees falling every day that have been damaged by these beetles. we have got to do something and we have got to do something soon. much of the forests in the west have really created a perfect storm for problems, we have had warm winters not killing off the beetles. we have poor forest management in some of these places and we need to do something about this in a critical and rapid fashion. we really support trying to do something about it and including language in the farm bill that can help expedite the forest
service's treatment of these stands throughout the west. i would also like to touch on sas broad reck menations. supporting forest conservation and forestry practices throughout the country and the 2012 farm bill, we're really hoping that the economy will pay close attention to the recommendations to the forest and the farm bill coalition which we very much support. we understand the budget pressure that you're under, this is a very difficult time to be thinking about spending money. but some offense these programs are really quite critical. so we ask you to think about programs that improve -- strengthening forestry outreach and education resource -- fundmental building blocks of research in this country for estes and doing what we can do improve market opportunities forests and really focus on this
fact green building material that we have in the united states. thank you very much for your time and i look forward to your questions. >> i will proceed with our questioning and i will take the lib ber advertise of the first five minutes. my first question is actually for you mr. gergen, i appreciate your observations, i think one of the unique opportunities we have and our subcommittee and the agricultural committee as the forest can be a great source of revenue, given all the public lands that have been secured and continue to be sitting some of the those idle with just tremendous resources for this country. can be a great return on an investment if we are promoting the proper healthy management which includes harvesting. so i just need a little more clarification, you talked about your remarks about the steward ship marketing authority. what makes the steward ship contracting authority unique and/or different from other
contracts? >> thank you very much mr. chairman, it's really interesting you talk about the forest service in particular and the asset that they have because it really is an asset. and if you go back and read a book by a gentleman named kaufman from the 1960s about the forest ranger, he talks about the forest being one of the very best agencies in the u.s. government. not only in the way they were structured. but also the fact that they returned money to the treasury every year. this is a tremendous asset that we have on our hands. steward ship contracting is different for the forest service and the bureau of land management. they're able to actually use the sale of forest products. to improve something somewhere else. so if the forest service want --
build a recreational facility over here. we can use some of the assets they have right there on the ground and improve that work somewhere else in their forest. and the fact of the matter is, this authority can really can r agency and help the congress in terms of trying to ensure that the assets that we have in our forest are used in the best possible way. i really encourage permanent reauthorization for this important authority. >> thanks. mr. burke, you mentioned that right now usda biobased market program doesn't recognize products made from your forest as biobased. can you tell us why this is the case. >> the way the legislation has been incorporated and the regulations that have been drafted, there is language that it requires that it be a new product with a certain date. and if you look at products, for example, that come off of my
farm, an example would be hardwood that's made into pallets. there are peal lths that come from overseas that are made of hemp which compete and get the labeling and would be what a federal agency would have to procure over and instead of the product that's made locally on my farm. i think that's an unintended consequence of the legislation. our recommendation is that the playing field be levelled so all biobased products be recognized. that's particularly important at the forest industry at this time because the forest industry is still struggling with one of the worst downturns since the depression. >> similar i have concerns that the current rating system utilized by the leadership and energy in environmental design
disadvantages forest products. would you agree with that? is that your observation? >> i think that what would we like to see is again a level playing field so that prokurm can be lead or comparable or other recognized sustainable resources. so we would like to see a level playing field with respect to procurement across all of those categories. >> i've seen data suggesting that in pennsylvania we've lost over 13,500 jobs. in the forestry sector in the last few years. ened i appreciate you mentioning i will soon be mentioning legislation to fix the biobase markets program to better recognize forest products. you know, i'm obviously with the goal that this fix will help bring back or at least stabilize our job losses not just in the state of pennsylvania, but throughout the country.
i appreciate your earlier remarks. just checking to see if you would agree that that's a step in the right direction. >> i'll be blunt. we think it's a brilliant solution because it's cost neutr neutral. it will stimulate markets. it will create jobs. i think it's a very wise and sound decision. >> i appreciate that. i've been called a lot of things. this may be the first time my name and brilliance has ever been associated in the same statement. i now recognize for the purpose of five minutes for question mr. gibbs from ohio. >> thank you for coming in today. in your testimony you talk about hr-872 it's a bill i sponsored that passed out of the u.s. house of representatives in march a year ago 2011 by
there was a report a couple weeks ago i saw there was a concern that because of this there might be pesticides used that in a less strength manner, i don't know how else to say it, that we won't get a good kill of evasive species of plants and pests. and you mention here in your testimony you talk about we can have problems with re-establishing forests and manages in areas. so do you want to comment on those two areas? turn your microphone on. >> the use of herbicides or
pesticides are essential in certain forestry operations. to establish regeneration, new forest. we've worked with chemicals for years and find that some are just much more effective, cost effective and are environmentally safe and sound. and duplication of regulation does not seem to make sense. and i guess i answered question number two first. >> you did. that's fine. >> what was your first question again? >> since the legislation hasn't passed and u.s. epa and the states have to move forward. one of the things i talked about last year was the concern that there could be literally thousands or whatever of permit applications and just overwhelm the regulatory, the agencies the epa, the state and federal level. are we starting to see that?
what's happening in the permitting? >> quite frankly, i cannot answer that question right now. >> okay. >> but i can find out and will report that to the committee. >> okay. i'm really concerned, too. it's not just pesticides in use in the forestry or the agriculture sector, but also in mosquito control districts. i think we're going to see some very negative consequences this coming summer mosquito season. another part of the question for mr. dye and mr. burke might want to get into it. the ninth district court ruling on making forest roads point source. can you kind of explain a little bit how best management practices versus just going to get an mps permit to be a point source. what's the best workable solution and how big of a problem was this issue. >> sir, being from the neighboring state ohio, wednesday as you may be aware, i
want to cite we have an excellent program in that strait and other states surrounding states do also very similar. bmsst is handling small water in quantities to promote sedimentation of the states waters. all state ace cross the nation have varying degrees of this program. but it's something that the state forestry agencies have handled for 35 years or more. we recognize the importance of it. and we feel that this is being handled in anything further would simply be duplication and
added expense. >> would you agree that just going and forcing producers, farmers whatever to go out and get an mps permit and set certain levels it doesn't really solve the problem. it would be extra burdensome regulation and hopefully most of them are doing best management practices, it's duplication and adds cost and paperwork. isn't that true, it wouldn't have a significant favorable impact to get to where we want to be? >> correct. i totally agree with that. >> okay. >> yes. i would like to -- sorry, i'd just like to add a little bit to that. i think in addition to adding cost it could create some unintended consequences. we could discourage a recovering market with forestry. we don't need those regulations because this farm bill had the wisdom to realize that voluntary
incentive based programs are really more effective than the hammer of legislation. and i think that the bill -- i think it was the cultural regulatory consistency act that proposed piece of legislation would be a good solution to remove the uncertainty that now hangs over the head of forestland owners. i don't think the regulation is needed. i think clarification of the statute would be appropriate and i fear that if it were enforced as some think it might under the ninth circuit, we could clearly have an unintended consequence of discouraging forestry. >> thank you. i just -- it's hard for me to believe that this issue is an issue that's, you know, really causing a big major problem, a set of contamination. obviously when on forest roa