FORESTRY 411
SHELBY APPOINTED TO RE-OPEN FLORIDA TASK FORCE INDUSTRY WORKING GROUP
Association Executive Vice President Alan Shelby has been appointed to the Industry Working Group Related to Agriculture, Finance, Government, Healthcare, Management and Professional Services for Governor Ron DeSantis's Re-Open Florida Task Force.

In Thursday's meeting, Shelby shared that that pulp mills are running at full speed trying to supply the increased amount of tissue and packaging that is needed, but said the industry’s lumber and sawmill sector “is really flat on its back,” primarily due to housing and market uncertainty. He said long-term recovery from the forestry perspective focuses on stimulating the housing market going forward.

All the working groups met again today (Friday). The Governor’s staff will be reviewing recommendations over the weekend. The complete set of recommendations will then be represented to the task force next week, finalized and presented to the Governor, likely by next Thursday. 

COVID-19 STIMULUS
The Forest Resources Association reports that late yesterday the US House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 266) authorizing $321 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Initial funding for PPP of $350 billion, included as part of the two trillion dollars CARES Act rescue package, was exhausted last week.
 
President Trump signed the measure today. The program is expected to be operational again beginning Monday.
  
Those companies that applied for PPP forgivable loans but did not receive funding in the first round should contact their lenders to ensure that paperwork is in order and ready to be processed as demand for these funds continues to be strong. Estimates are that this additional $310 billion will last about a week.

Below is a snapshot of H.R. 266—

A total of $484 billion in aid and economic stimulus that includes: 

  • $321 billion for the PPP's forgivable loans to cover payroll and other fixed costs for small businesses. Of that figure, $60 billion is reserved for smaller lenders.
  • $50 billion to backstop roughly $350 billion in additional emergency disaster loans for small businesses, along with $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 each that disaster loan recipients can obtain.
  • $75 billion for hospitals and other health care providers, and $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.

Eligibility rules governing which businesses are permitted to receive funding under PPP are unchanged under H.R. 266.

Enactment of H.R. 266 will mark the fourth package addressing COVID-19 relief. FRA says they fully expect at least one more relief measure to be negotiated by Congress and the Administration, likely when members of Congress return to Washington, DC, in May.
DHSMV EMERGENCY ORDER
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issued an emergency order on April 13, due to COVID-19. Among other things, the order extends renewal deadlines for expiring driver licenses (CDL) and apportion tags for motor carriers.

FSA RELEASES ADDITIONAL EFRP GUIDANCE
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) has released additional guidance for landowners enrolling in the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP), regarding income derived from the sale of salvage and timber during clean-up operations. Payments will be 75% of the "out of pocket" landowners' cost to implement practices, and the FSA will deduct income derived from potential payments.

Landowners who were impacted by Hurricane Michael and have applied for assistance under the EFRP program should review the memo here .  

The sign-up deadline for the EFRP is April 30. Learn more.
SILVICULTURAL CONTRACTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD
It’s that time of the year to recognize our silvicultural contractors who work hard to provide valuable services to the landowners of Florida! 

Take some time to reflect on those who have helped get good work done and help us recognize these valuable members of the forest industry. Please complete the short nomination form and send to Laura Bosworth at  Laura@FlForestry.org

We will be accepting nominations until May 31 . We look forward to reading all the submissions!
TAX TIPS FOR FOREST LANDOWNERS FOR THE 2019 TAX YEAR
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the federal income tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15 .

Each year the USDA provides forest owners, foresters, loggers, and timber businesses with a guide to the applicable federal income tax laws, including the latest tax law changes, for filing 2019 tax returns.

QUANTIFYING THE ROLE OF STATE AND PRIVATE FOREST LANDS IN PROVIDING SURFACE DRINKING WATER SUPPLY FOR THE SOUTHERN US
The US Forest Service Southern Research Station has released an important report detailing the contribution of forests to the supply of surface drinking water. The report outlines the high importance of state and private forests in the Southeast, concluding that 44.3% of the 836 billion cubic meters available surface water supply within the region came from forests. 

FREE DIGITAL ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS 
The 50th anniversary of Earth Day was digital this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These Project Learning Tree activities (most of which can be done at home) teach youth about sustainability issues, climate science, and actions they can take on Earth Day and every day.

REMINDER: DOT TRUCK WEIGHT ORDER EXTENDED THROUGH MAY 8
T he Florida Department of Transportation has extended its suspension of truck weights through May 8. The suspension applies to divisible loads on any vehicles transporting emergency equipment, services, supplies, and necessary agricultural commodities (including timber) for the purpose of COVID-19 public health emergency response, up to 95,000 pounds.

Each vehicle carrying this additional weight MUST carry a copy of the  updated FDOT Emergency Road Use Permit letter  and a Bridge Restriction Map in the cab of the truck at all times or be able to access them electronically upon request. 

The permit letter, emergency order, executive order and applicable map based on your configuration may be  obtained here via the FDOT website  or by contacting the FDOT Permit Office at 850.410.5777.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS

April 28, 2020
10 AM
Executive Committee Meeting


June 3-4, 2020
Master Logger 2-Day Training
Gateway College
Lake City, FL


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