Although the holidays are over, those looking for forestry solutions could easily mistake this time for Christmas Day. Several exhibitors in woodlot management hosted busy booths during the Keystone Farm Show in York, Pennsylvania, last month.

“Everyone wants to know when my slow time is,” mused Marty Parsons, sales center consultant for Wood-Mizer. “I don’t know if we have any ‘slow time.’”

Show attendees kept Parsons and his team busy at their booth, which was located outdoors in the middle of the York County Fairgrounds.

Based in Shade Gap, Pennsylvania, and serving the mid- Atlantic States, the sawmill distributor sold 135 mills last year and offers blade maintenance as well as sawmill training.

Marty Parsons

Q: What are some of your expectations when conducting sawmill training?

Marty Parsons: One thing we teach is how to manufacture the log. We want people looking at the log asking, “How do I make the best lumber out of it?” We also go over stress relief, maintaining the wheel, alignment and dry-belt tension. The consumer is given a manual, but sometimes it’s not read. That’s why we want to be hands-on in our training. We encourage people to talk about what they are doing. We like to use an open forum when we train. There’s a lot of information that is given out. So, if someone has a question, we want them to speak up. Then everybody in the session knows about it. There are people who have owned mills for years and realized something new about the product after the training.

J.L. Gossert and Co. Forestry, located in York, Pennsylvania, provides professional timber marketing and woodland management services to woodland owners. Founder Jeffery L. Gossert spent time on the show floor promoting awareness of his services.

“Essentially, when I’m hired by a woodland owner, the first thing I ask is what are the objectives. I need to know the foundation of why you want to do something,” he said, explaining his process.

“The second thing I do is walk the woods. Now I have to find out what are the ingredients of what resource you have. What type of trees do you have? How big are those trees? What is the density? What are the general characteristics of the property itself?”

Gossert started his firm in 1982, and is a member of the Association of Consulting Foresters, Society of American Foresters, and Pennsylvania and Maryland Forestry Associations.

Jefferey L. Gossert

Q: Is there one disease that is threatening Pennsylvania
forests?

Jefferey L. Gossert: Unfortunately, there are a number of things. One of the two biggest things on our radar is the emerald ash borer affecting the ash, and that is motivating anybody involved with harvesting to liquidate their ash timber right now. I have two clients with ash that is either dying or dead. So, we’re in the process of selling the live timber and salvaging it before it’s dead, because once it’s dead you can’t hardly give it away.

There’s a disease that’s affecting walnut trees called thousand cankers disease in about five counties in Pennsylvania that are quarantined. You have to process bark out of the tree within the quarantined area or you can’t move it. Once the bark is removed … then the bark-less material can be shipped out of the quarantined area.

We also have the [spotted] lanternfly that has been laying eggs on the tulip poplar trees, which is one of my top two species. So all of a sudden you find that is going to be a restriction of poplar that is going to be a big deal.

The hemlock woolly adelgid is killing our state tree (the hemlock), and it is widespread throughout most of the state. But there’s no way economically to treat that disease on a largescale basis. So you just hope the winters are cold and the natural habitat is effecting the spread of it.

Wes Stauffer

Based out of Ephrata, Pennsylvania, Wes Stauffer Equipment LLC is one of Hud-Son Forest Equipment’s top distributors in the country. With the help of the portable sawmill and wood processing product manufacturer, owner Wes Stauffer has enjoyed success from his dealings at the annual farm show.

“We definitely had some interest in people wanting information on our product line,” he said. “We’ve been here for 10 years now.”

Stauffer noted that with the increase in gas prices over the last few years, Hud-son has enjoyed much success, as more people have been using firewood to heat their homes.

Q: With gas prices going down, do you think there will be the
same amount of interest in firewood processers?

Wes Stauffer: That remains to be seen. I’m not too worried that processor sales will stop because energy costs are still high. I don’t expect energy to become cheap.

With natural gas in Pennsylvania, I think that what’s driving everything down. As long as gas well development continues to grow, then there’s going to be a lot of firewood because trees are getting cut down to make room to build the gas wells, pipelines and for drilling. That is going to take a lot of trees out, and people are not going to let that wood rot, they’re going to use it.

So the need for processors is still going to be there. The high price of heating oil raised demand for firewood processors and it grew very fast. But right now [with the drop in oil prices] no one is canceling orders for processors.

Cover Photo by AlbertPego/iStockphoto.com