Despite a struggling economy and timber production at an all-time low, the 2009 Oregon Logging Conference was a success.
Many exhibitors were pleased by the attendance. Although the numbers were down a bit, the key people in the industry were well represented. Russ Smith, of Modern Machinery said, "This year the owners are coming and leaving the crews at home. It's just a sign of the times."
Spirits were high during the four-day event (February 18-21), the weather was warm and sunny, and despite the sluggish economy many exhibitors said they were making sales.
"We couldn't ask for better weather. We had some exhibitors tell us this was the best show they'd ever had," says OLC's executive director, Rikki Wellman.
She adds that they had a remarkable turnout for some of the events. "I think we had one of the largest turnouts ever for breakfast. We served well over 500 people. And there were between 400 and 500 people who went to the Ax Men panel," says Wellman. "It was exciting to see the turnout."
Speakers Deliver Optimistic Messages
The event kicked off with Joel Olson, the 2009 President of OLC. He pointed out that challenging times are not new to the industry -- difficult times in the 1960s and the 1980s changed the industry but molded many survivors. "We've survived in the past," said Olson. "Our resources are sustainable, and so is our industry."
Keynote speaker John Carpenter, CAT Forest Products President, spoke of the need to encourage the next generation, those workers needed to fill a vacuum created by the retirement of the older workforce. He is an advocate for youth programs like those offered by OLC, Oregon State University, and Provider Pals. He illustrated how CAT is designing operator-friendly equipment based on safety, comfort, and operator ease -- an enticement for younger folks considering a career in the forest products industry.
Carpenter's message ended on an optimistic note: "The economic ship has left port. It will return, but it will look different. We must have our wits about us. We may be battle-weary, but we are also battle-tested. We're going to survive!"
Rikki Wellman, Executive Director of the Oregon Logging Conferences, says that some of the classes this year were standing room only.
One of the popular courses this year was the hard-hitting business seminar on Logging Operation Job Costing by Juan Iraguen. General Manager of Basco Logging Company. He emphasized the necessity of analysis and research before bidding, if a contract logger hopes to see a profit. He demonstrated how a bidder should evaluate Fixed Costs (capital, shop, insurance, management, etc.) and Variable Costs (labor, fuel, rigging, repairs, security).
"Our loggers are the best on the planet," said Iraguen, "but we still have to do our homework before we bid. We don't need to go in the hole or to merely break even. Analyze what you do best and most efficiently. Then make sure you are right-sized if you hope to make money with a worthwhile contract."
Another interesting course looked at drug testing. Colleen Wienhoff of Bio-Med Testing Services was the first nationally accredited Drug Program Administrator. Her companies provide drug and alcohol programs and related services to over 6,500 employers, municipalities, and related agencies and trade organizations throughout the U.S.
The forest products industry knows the high cost of drug and alcohol abuse: lower productivity, increased accidents, high absenteeism, and theft. Wienhoff outlined eleven critical items that must be in a company's drug policy -- such as circumstances under which an employee may be tested, procedures used, and consequences for refusal to test or for a positive test result.
The industry may be weathering a recession, but that didn't mean there wasn't new equipment on hand. Some of the new products on display included:
Pierce Pacific. The company's power grapple clam was so new that it was painted on Tuesday and brought to the show on Wednesday. It's constructed of AR400 and T1 steel and comes with single or dual rotate motors.
Summit Attachment & Machinery. Summit's TH300 is a combination of tong thrower and heel rack. It's designed to add extra capabilities to your machine and reduce moving costs. The TH300 can process, throw and skid, shovel log and load, and only takes two hours to switch over.
TimberPro. On display was the first TimberPro feller buncher in the West. The three models (TN725B, TL725B, and TL735B) feature 28-degree front leveling, 7-degree rear leveling, and 24-degree tilt to both sides.
Logmax. A continuous rotation for harvesting heads is Logmax's newest innovation designed to improve productivity. Currently, there is only one working in the field.
Danzco Inc. Danzco debuted its grapple saw, a cost-effective option for handling bio-fuels on the site. Material is cut into 5-foot lengths, and by cutting the material shorter, up to 50% can be loaded on a trailer. The saw is designed for log loader mounting.
Atterbury Consultants. The company demonstrated its new technology for measuring stockpile volume, which included a world class Pocket PC with a volume calculation software package. The easy-to-use system is suitable for wood chips, aggregate, hog fuel, chunk piles, crushed rock, and log decks. The one-person operation boasted 93 to 97% accuracy.
Auction Brings in Dollars
On Saturday night, the Oregon Women in Timber's auction brought in nearly $80,000 for the Talk about Trees program.
"We raised less than we did last year," says Diane Washburn. "But we feel we did really well in a down year. It was better than we expected."
Some of the hot items this year were rifles, trips to Los Angeles and Maui, as well as a fully stocked bar donated by the OLC Board of Directors and their spouses.
Bright Spot During A Bleak Time
It was a successful show on every front. 2009 may not be a highpoint for the forest products industry, but in spite of economic downturns, the OLC gave attendees reason for optimism.
What Attendees were Saying
At the Conference, we asked a cross section of attendees what they felt were the "Big" issues facing the industry in 2009.
Answer: "The market. Mills aren't buying logs. The supply is there. Where's the demand?" Craig Davis, U.S. Forest Service, Prospect, Ore. Answer: "The environmentalists. We need to find a balance between the straight environmentalist ticket and the logging industry. Both sides should be interested in clean water, fuel reduction, and habitat for fish and game." Dan Komning, Joe Clarke, Andrew Molyneux, Zane Mullin, Grant County, Ore. Answer: "The state of the economy and getting workers. We're still seeing a real labor shortage." Craig Bothan, Neal Bothan Logging Company, Cove, Ore. Answer: "Ability to sell logs. We have wood and can't sell it. With a closed mill, I have to almost double my one-way trucking distance. I'm also a little down on Canadian imports. If we are having trouble here, we should keep our own boys busy. We shouldn't be importing logs." Dave Harmon, Harmon Logging Company, Keno, Ore. Answer: "The housing market. The logging industry is tied hand-in-hand with housing construction. And also there's a problem with the upcoming workforce. Many kids want to start at the top without putting in hours of labor and paying their dues at entry-level positions." Ed Leach, White Mountain Chain, Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Quadco gave loggers a chance to view the full line of their products at the OLC. This included: hot saw felling heads, Keto harvester/processor heads; the QuadTooth®, four-sided replaceable saw tooth; Super Tip®, a saw tooth with a thick carbide and insert overlap; Forespro® stroke delimbers; Brushco® brushcutters; and the Prolenc® heavy duty swing brake. The patented Prolenc® swing dampeners are used to restrict the movement of a free-dangling attachment such as a log grapple, harvester/processor heads and do not use inefficient fibre friction discs to operate. Quadco also supplies bogie tracks, rotators and saw head replacement parts. www.quadco.com
Cascade Trader is a certified Doosan Infracore America Heavy Construction Equipment dealer, located in Chehalis, WA. As the top selling Doosan construction dealer in 2008, Cascade Trade provides superior service and support to its equipment customers. Choose from Doosan excavators and wheel loaders as well as a wide selection of new and used equipment by other quality manufacturers. Cascade Trader is dedicated to helping its customers find the right equipment for the next job. Visit www.cascadetrader.com or contact us today at 1-800-200-1182.
Satco® owner Warwick Batley and technical manager Jimmy O'Callahan would like to thank all the loggers for visiting them at the show. Satco® has 19 years experience with logging equipment, from repairs and maintenance to excavator conversions and manufacture of grapples, felling grapples, harvesters and boom & arm sets. Satco® can offer sales direct, or through a dealer if the customer requests. With four Satco® 630s already in use on the West Coast with over 15000 hours of service and two recent sales, Satco® sees full potential for their products in America. Visit www.satco.co.nz
Danzco, A leader in biofuel handling and processing equipment development, took an inside exhibit booth at this year's OLC. One of the newest Danzco's products to be brought to market is a slash cutting grapple designed to quickly cut and load logging slash and woody debris destined for centralized grinding facilities. With twin circular or bar saws integrated into the grapple, this head minimizes the time it takes for loggers to load and compact energy wood into trailers and bins. Danzco's slash cutting grapple can also be used to process blow down. www.danzcoinc.com
The Morbark 3800 Wood Hog provides outstanding material flow into the mill chamber with a 38" X 59-3/4" infeed opening. Morbark designers created plenty of space under and within the mill to allow for smooth operation on large and bulky material. Engine options include Caterpillar or Cummins diesel engines with horsepower ranges from 400 to 630. Standard features include the Morbark Integrated Control System (M.I.C.S.), which allows the operator to adjust feed systems for increased output while maximizing fuel efficiency. For more information please visit on the web at www.morbark.com or call 1-800-831-0042.
United Risk Solutions
We want to thank everyone for taking time to stop by our United Risk Solutions Booth at the Oregon Logging Conference and Sierra Cascade Logging Conference. It is always a pleasure to see our clients and meeting new people. We specialize in Commercial Insurance Programs for all types of businesses. Call us for a quote at 800-299-5889.
General Equipment Company is an authorized full line dealer for Doosan, Kobelco, and New Holland Construction, with more than 27 years of construction experience. GEI provides rental, sales ,service and parts. GEI can provide you with hard to find equipment such as: long reach, zero tail swing, wheeled, road building and logging equipment.
GEI is one of the largest privately owned heavy equipment dealers in the Pacific Northwest. We look forward to serving you, our customer, for years to come. General Equipment Company are people and equipment you can count on. www.generalequipmentco.com
White Mountain Chain
White Mountain Chain of Bonners Ferry, ID, is the largest importer of the Trygg line in the United States. We carry a vast array of tire chains for pickups, loaders, motor graders, skidders and just about anything with a rubber tire. Depending on what the application is and what your needs are, we work with you to recommend what will be the most economical chain for your application. Now that you have played with the rest, get the best. Call Ed at 800-439-9073 or visit www.whitemountainchain.com.
Log Max promotes products for healthy forests with a continued focus on providing harvesting and processing solutions. The release of the XTreme series processing heads, 7000XT, 10000XT, has been an incredible success and gave our customers additional options for processing applications. Soon after the release of the 10000XT, Log Max released the Rotobec Continuous Rotation, which fits the 10000XT and 12000XT. No more tangled, damaged and expensive hoses. This newest feature allows the processing head to spin around and around. For more information on our products visit www.logmax.com
Triad Machinery continues to be a dominate force in the forestry equipment industry with Link-Belt Forestry Equipment offering: log loaders, delimbers, processors, and road builders. Triad also offers a variety of other forestry related equipment including Tigercat's full line of feller bunchers, processors, skidders, forwarders, and dangle heads. Triad also offers the full line of Kawasaki front end loaders, a variety of Metso mobile crushing and screening equipment, Terex off road trucks, plus a variety of forestry attachments. Visit www.triadmachinery.com
John Deere displayed a wide range of machines in the Pape Machinery exhibit area. These included a 2954D loader, 2154D loader, 2154D processor with a Waratah head, a 959J leveling buncher with a 24" head, a 648H skidder and the 1490D bundler. Deere's purpose-built forestry swing machines are designed with the logger in mind. They feature strong structural components combined with state-of-the-art technology and world-class support from John Deere dealers. Deere's 1490D energy wood harvester drew very strong interest -- it's designed to collect, compress and bundle logging residuals into 1 MW fuel logs. www.JohnDeere.com