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Saturday, August 22, 2020
Highlights: VA General Assembly Returns for Special Session

On Tuesday, the Virginia General Assembly's special session commenced in Richmond, VA. The week began with a stark budget forecast from Governor Ralph Northam. It ended with the Virginia Senate having advanced several measures and adjourning as the House of Delegates had yet to begin its session following a contentious rules debate on conducting official business virtually:
  • Paid Family Leave: A paid-family leave requirement offered by Sen. Barbara Favola, which if passed would create additional requirements for paid leave on top of recently-adopted federal and state COVID-19 leave requirements, was defeated in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee on a strong bi-partisan 12-3 vote against. VFA joined with its partners in the Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy in opposing the measure. 
VFA will continue to monitor the 2020 General Assembly Special Session and provide members with updates on measures that impact forestry and forest businesses. 
First Virtual Virginia Forestry Summit was HUGE Success! 

Thank you to all our speakers, attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors who made last week's virtual event a unique and wonderful educational experience.  Attendees joined us from all over the United States, including Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, D.C., and California.  For more information on who spoke and supported the event, please visit www.forestrysummit.com
USDA Seeking Partners for Collaborative Conservation Projects

"First authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) has added new “stations” across the country to improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has helped clear the tracks along the way, working hand-in-hand with more than 2,000 partners to implement 336 active RCPP projects."

"RCPP has two funding pools – Critical Conservation Areas and State/ Multistate. Virginia partners will experience no impacts from a recent change in RCPP Critical Conservation Areas, which combined two existing CCAs (California Bay-Delta and Columbia River Basin) and added a new one (Northeast Forests and Waters). These changes were instituted to address public comments in a recent review of these target areas and their associated priority resource concerns."

For the full article from the Augusta Free Press, click here

 

Wythe County's Musser Lumber to Expand

"Gov. Ralph Northam today announced that Musser Lumber Company, Inc. will expand current operations in Rural Retreat, creating 12 new jobs and investing $2.4 million in Wythe County. The family-owned company is adding new production and drying capacity for sawdust and wood shavings which it will source exclusively from Virginia sawmills. Over the next three years, this will lead to more than $8.5 million in additional forest product purchases.

'Musser Lumber’s continued growth and success in Wythe County is a testament to the strength of Virginia’s forestry industry,' said Governor Northam. 'I am grateful to the Musser family for their commitment to Southwest Virginia and for investing in our rural communities.'"
 
For the full article from SWVA Today, click here.

 

Transportation Funding Down, Even Though Gas Taxes Have Gone Up

"Virginia gasoline dealers are not happy to see transportation revenues going down less than two months after fuel taxes went up.

State officials estimate that decreased driving during the coronavirus pandemic helped lead to a $121 million reduction in transportation revenues for the fiscal year that ended June 30 and will slash expected money for roads and transit projects by $750 million in the two-year budget that took effect on July 1."
 
For the full article from the Richmond Times Dispatch, click here.
The Women Battling Wildfires and Breaking Barriers in the American WIlderness
Naitonal Geographic - August 13, 2020

One hot and dry midsummer day in Utah, Hannah Gross went to her first fire. A brand new wildland firefighter in 2015, she had no idea where this assignment would...MORE

New Guidebook Available for Forestry Careers
Woodworking Network - August 20, 2020

A new guidebook for prospective students has been published at STEPS (Student Training and Education in Public Service). The guide highlights the range of meaningful...MORE

FRA Issue Briefs: H-2B Exception Guidance, Biomass Rule, Bats
Forest Resources Association - August 14 and August 21, 2020

the State Department released guidance on the national interest exceptions to the Presidential Proclamation (PP) of June 22 suspending the entry to the U.S...MORE

The Forestry Industry is Essential - So Are Employees Who Work In It
The Hill - August 19, 2020

Rep. Bruce Westerman: COVID-19 has exposed many Americans to important aspects of our supply chain that, during normal times, usually go unnoticed. Forest products...MORE

Remote Controlled Forest Machines - Utopia or the Future?
Forestry.com - August 17, 2020

For a couple of years now, the Swedish Forestry Research Institute, Skogforsk, is working on a remote-controlled forwarder. The purpose of the project is to create...MORE

Insect Apocalypse May Not Be Happening in United States
UGA Today - August 11, 2020

Scientists have been warning about an “insect apocalypse” in recent years, noting sharp declines in specific areas — particularly in Europe. A new study shows...MORE

August 28, 2020 - Fifteen Minutes in the Forest

Spend 15 minutes in the forest with Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension Foresters each Friday at noon to learn about timely forestry topics.
October 2, 2020 - Logging Safety Seminar

Don't miss this great safety training scheduled for October 2, 2020 at the Virginia Antique Truck & Tractor Museum.  Attendance is limited and you must register. Click here for more details.  Eligible for SHARP Logger and SAF continuing education.
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The VFA Voice

Our Contact Info:
3808 Augusta Ave
Richmond, VA 23230
vfa@vaforestry.org
(804) 278-8733

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