Board of Forestry
Minutes

The Board of Forestry met on Thursday, October 20, 2011, at Meadow Event Park, Doswell, Virginia.

Convene Meeting

The formal Board meeting began at 9:30 a.m. on October 20, 2011.Those present were: Anne Beals, Nadine Block, David Blount, Phillip Bradshaw, John Burke, III, William Imbergamo, Hillary Little, Floyd Miles, J. Kenneth Morgan, David Wm. Smith, S. Lee Spradlin, Carl Garrison and Donna Hoy with the Department of Forestry.
The Board of Forestry members expressed their appreciation to Mr. Burke and his family for the opportunity to tour his Tree Farm in Caroline County.

Call to Order

Chairman Blount called the meeting to order.

Ms. Hoy called roll.

Adoption of Agenda

Chairman Blount asked if there were any changes to the agenda. Mr. Garrison requested that Workforce Plan be added to State Forester’s Report. Chairman Blount also requested that BOF Memorandum of Procedures Approval and BOF Feedback on DOF Regulations be moved under Action Items. The agenda was changed as suggested.

Recognition of Guests and Visitors

Chairman Blount welcomed Mr. Randy Bush, Virginia Forest Products Association; Mr. Bud Watson, Virginia Forest Watch; Mr. Andrew Smith, Virginia Farm Bureau; Ms. Toni Noreika, Mr. Ron Jenkins, Mr. John Carroll, and Mr. Harvey Darden with the Department of Forestry.

Hearing of Citizens

None

Approval of Minutes

Chairman Blount asked if there were any changes to the May 17, 2011 minutes. Ms. Beals made the motion for the minutes to be approved as written. Dr. Smith seconded the motion. Chairman Blount asked that a typo be corrected on page 3, paragraph 3 in the May 17, 2011 minutes prior to being posted on the Internet for public review. All were in favor.

Action Items

BOF Memorandum of Procedures Approval

Chairman Blount reviewed minor changes made to the BOF Memorandum of Procedures based on comments/discussions at the May meeting. Dr. Smith motioned that the BOF Memorandum of Procedures be approved as revised. Ms. Block seconded the motion. All were in favor.

BOF Feedback on DOF Regulations (RT and State Forest)

Board of Forestry members went through each of the regulations page by page and offered suggested changes, additions, deletions, etc. These updates were made to a projected copy of the regulation at the meeting. Mr. Jenkins will use these requested revisions in the future when working through the process of amending these state regulations.

State Forester's Report

Legislative Amendments (Suggested)

Mr. Garrison stated legislative amendments to the Code were considered “Confidential Governor’s Working Papers” and were not public information at this time. He summarized the list of items suggested for change during the 2012 General Assembly. The Department of Forestry should get word in late November/early December on items approved by the Administration to move forward.

Board members discussed what they could do to promote forestry amongst General Assembly members. They discussed talking to, writing to, visiting, etc. members, and Aides, of the General Assembly, as well as sending invitations to participate in field trips, provide them with a one page fact sheet (with environmental and economical facts) on forestry, and get to know them on a first name basis.

Mr. Garrison provided each member with a list of House Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee and House Appropriations members and members on the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources and Senate Finance. The lists included whether the current Senator/Delegate would be retiring and who the opponents are for that specific Congressional District.

Mr. Garrison also reported that the Governor’s office has requested that all state agencies prepare another budget reduction plan for the next biennium (2013-2014) -- 2% - $282,000; 4% - $564,000; 6% - $847,000. This request is a result of the slow economic recovery, obligations to key programs within the state that still need to be met, and the actions as well as inactions of the federal government that could ultimately place greater burdens on the Commonwealth.

DOF’s target budget is $18.4 million. Of this $18.4 million, 75% is used for employee costs (salaries, benefits, etc.), 20% for fixed costs (utilities, insurance, etc.), which leaves 5% for discretionary spending.

MOU with DOF and DGIF

The Department entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and The Nature Conservancy for the management and use of Big Woods.

The approximately 7,600 acres owned by the DOF is known as Big Woods State Forest and the portion of the property owned by TNC is called the Piney Grove Preserve.

The MOU supports the establishment of overall objectives for the management of the properties; ensures compliance with requirements of entities funding acquisition, development or management; serves as a basis for resource sharing; and provides a forum for future communications and cooperation related to the management and uses of the properties.

FIA Data Trends

Mr. Garrison report DOF held a statewide forestry stakeholders meeting in early August to give updates and current data from Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) for Virginia. He stated DOF feels pretty good about the overall statewide numbers but there are some concerns in localized areas. DOF shared this information with stakeholders to give them a “bigger picture” overview of Virginia’s resources.

The Board members were given a presentation on the highlights from the information/data presented to the stakeholders at the half day meeting in August.

State Lands

Mr. Darden gave the Board an overview of the Department’s nurseries and state forest lands. He discussed the genetic program and shared a copy of the 2012 seedling guide. One focus of the Department’s seedling program is to promote the most suitable loblolly pine for Virginia landowners and to be prepared for future growth.

The Department has 22 State Forests, which are maintained as working forests. The State Forest system provides a great opportunity for the Department to educate the public on what is done on each Forest and why they are maintained as working forests.

H2b Guest Worker Program

The H2b program allows non-American workers to come and perform jobs where there is insufficient domestic labor to perform these. Most forest management tasks in Virginia, including tree planting, seedling grading, foliar spraying, and pre-commercial thinning, are accomplished by companies that utilize H2b workers.

Level 1 (entry) rate for Virginia was $9.73 per hour. The new average “mean” rate is $17.49 per hour, an 80% increase. The Level 1 increase is scheduled to be effective December 1, 2011.

The increase in costs will likely mean fewer landowners and fewer acres will be treated due to the increase in cost. This will have a negative impact on the condition and productivity of forests in Virginia.

Workforce Plan

Mr. Garrison gave each Board member a copy of the Department’s Workforce Plan and pointed out some highlights from that document:

As of June 30, 2011, DOF had 243 classified employees. This is a 13.9 percent drop from the 281 employees it had as of June 30, 2007.

DOF currently has 43 employees eligible for full retirement. That is 17.7 percent of the agency’s workforce. Within the next five years, 65 employees, 26.7 percent, will be eligible for full retirement.

Since July 1, 2003, the agency has hired 143 staff members. Forty-four of those individuals left within 5 years of hire. This is a turnover rate of 30.8 percent.

Committee/Liaison Reports

None

Old Business

None

New Business

None

Scheduling of Next Meetings

The next meeting of the Board will be January 12, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia.
The following meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 17-18, with the location to be determined.
When the specific details are worked out for these meetings, the Board will be notified via e-mail.

Adjournment

There being no further business, Chairman Blount accepted a motion that the meeting be adjourned. The meeting was officially adjourned at 2:20 p.m.
                                                                        Respectfully submitted,
                                                                        Donna S. Hoy
Donna Hoy
Recording Secretary
c:          Board Members
The Honorable Todd Haymore, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry
Dr. Paul Winistorfer, Dean, College of Natural Resources, Virginia Tech
Mr. J. R. Bush, Virginia Forest Products Association
Mr. Paul Howe, Virginia Forestry Association
Mr. David E. Anderton, Jr., Association of Consulting Foresters
Ms. Tammi Belinsky, WildWood
Mr. Steve Brooks, Virginia Forest Watch
Ms. Ann Duff, Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation
Mr. Jim Mooney, Virginia Loggers Association
Mr. Gerald Gray, Virginia Forest Watch
Ms. Donna Pugh-Johnson, Virginia Agribusiness Council
Ms. Martha Moore, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation
Mr. Roger Sherman, MeadWestvaco Corporation
Ms. Staci Henshaw, Auditor of Public Accounts
Mr. Andrew Smith, Virginia Farm Bureau
Mr. Jason Woodfin, Virginia Forest Watch
Mr. Bud Watson, Virginia Forest Watch
Mr. Kurt Christensen
Mr. Charles F. Finley, Jr.
NOTE:  Tapes of Board meetings are on file in the Office of the State Forester.