WelcomeWelcome to the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners website. The website was launched in April 2007 with the intention of keeping woodlot owners informed of Federation activities and to provide useful resources to woodlot owners. We have provided resource documents, listings of upcoming events, news items and other items. There are locations throughout the website for users to provide comments and feedback. We hope you find the website useful and welcome any comments and suggestions.
The New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners was founded in 1965 with the purpose of representing woodlot owners on all issues of common concern. The Federation acts as the umbrella organization for the seven regional Marketing Boards and is guided by a Board of Directors with representatives from each Marketing Board.
Over time, the New Brunswick forest industry has evolved and the role woodlots play in the industry has changed as well. In recent years, sales from private woodlots have decreased significantly. Figures from marketing boards indicate that since 2004/2005 to 2006/2007 sales have dropped by nearly 60 million dollars to $68 million.
To find out how the Federation has been working to represent woodlot owners, see What Have You Done For Me Lately (PDF; 58KB) and Federation Background and Activities (PDF; 1.6MB).
To read any of the downloadable files on this site, you will require Adobe Reader. Most computers have it already but if you need a copy it can be downloaded free here. If you have any problems getting Reader or downloading the files, please let us know.
In the News
J.D. Irving and woodlot owners feud over price
J.D. Irving, Limited, says it's not getting the wood it needs from private woodlot owners, but some of those owners say they're holding out for a better price.
The forestry company ran a newspaper ad this week, seeking more wood.
Woodlot owners say J.D.I. lowered its price earllier this year and changed its specifications for private wood, making it harder for woodlot owners to sell to them.
Andrew Clark, president of the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners, said the ad portrays woodlot owners as unreliable suppliers. He said he's not sure the company is actually after private wood.
"The cost for them to produce wood on Crown land in large operations with big, mechanized equipment is reasonably low," he said. "And that's what would be their preferred way of acquiring their wood."
Company spokeswoman Mary Keith said Irving's price is fair.
"We work very hard to ensure that we are providing a fair and competitive price, recognizing that we don't set the price for the final products that we are producing," she said. "It's set in a global marketplace and we do have to ensure that we're not paying more than what the market will bear."
Hazen McCrea, who owns a lot near Bathurst, said he'll sell his wood elsewhere.
"If they want wood off their private woodlot owners' property, they're going to have to pay the same price the other mills are paying and make it easy for us to sell it to them," he said
The province's forest industry has struggled in recent years to battle a high Canadian dollar, the poor U.S. economy and reduced demand.
The industry has been calling for an increased wood supply for several years, while some woodlot owners say they only harvest 30 percent of what they were able to five years ago.
Appeared on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 CBC News
N.B. woodlot owners demand reforms
Thursday, June 24, 2010 CBC News
For the first time in 50 years, Murray Munn is not cutting wood in private woodlots. The N.B. Federation of Woodlot Owners says revenues have dropped by about 70 per cent in the last five years.For the first time in 50 years, Murray Munn is not cutting wood in private woodlots. The N.B. Federation of Woodlot Owners says revenues have dropped by about 70 per cent in the last five years. (CBC)
The New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners is demanding the provincial government reverse a 1992 decision that hampered their ability to sell wood to forest companies.
Murray Munn has spent 50 years cutting timber from private woodlots but this is the first year that he and his crew have not been in the woods.
Markets for wood are so bad that he's converting one of his woodlots into a housing development.
Munn said his situation is being made more difficult because large forest companies can get cheaper wood from Crown land.
He said the problem goes back to 1992, when the former Frank McKenna government cancelled a policy that industry had to buy from woodlots before it could get access Crown land.
"They couldn't negotiate a price with the companies on Crown land until they negotiated a price with the marketing boards. And that gave us a little help," Munn said.
The Liberals promised in the 2006 campaign to "ensure that there is equitable market treatment for private woodlot owners."
So far that change has not been made and the economic prospects of private woodlot owners have worsened considerably.
David Palmer, the manager of the York Sunbury Charlotte Forest Products Marketing Board, said his members are harvesting 72 per cent less wood than they did five years ago.
"Since 2005, things have been declining for woodlot owners. Our sales have gone from $100 million annually combined to around $30 million," Palmer said.
"So essentially that represents we're at one third of the income levels, one third of the harvest, that we were five years ago."
The New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners, which represents roughly 30,000 people, is meeting with the Minister of Natural Resources on Thursday.
Forestry sector can tap into China's desire for increased quality wood, consultant says
FREDERICTON - If the New Brunswick forestry industry can overcome certain challenges, it may be able to tap into a vast Chinese demand for wood, say members of a delegation that travelled to China in May.
Representatives of the trade mission reported back to the semi-annual meeting of the New Brunswick Forest Products Association in Fredericton on Wednesday.
British Columbia currently dominates Canadian forestry exports to China but Ivy Wang, a trade consultant who co-ordinated the visit, said New Brunswick may be able to use the quality of its lumber to break into the market. She said there is a perception in the country that Canada sells its higher-grade wood to the United States and Japan, leaving its low-grade lumber for China.
"There are people who are looking for quality products. But because the West Coast is really promoting the grade-three wood, the market in China has been swamped by all this low-grade, Canadian lumber, even people who are looking for grade one or two cannot find it. And that's where our advantage is," Wang said.
If forest product companies from this province can differentiate their product from the British Columbia lumber, they can tap into the desire for increased quality, she said.
Mark Arsenault, president and CEO of the forest products association, said the New Brunswick forest industry can offer other advantages as well.
For instance, many buyers in China cut Canadian lumber into smaller pieces to make furniture. New Brunswick, which produces smaller sizes than British Columbia, could capitalize on this, Arsenault said. Buyers in the Chinese market also prefer to purchase lumber in metric sizes, which many companies in New Brunswick can produce, he said.
Arsenault noted that 30 million people join the middle class every year in China. And Canadian lumber exports to the country are doubling every year, he said, noting that most of that comes from British Columbia.
"China is rapidly growing. There's incredible potential there and we should be trying to tap into that as best we can," he said.
Based on the information gleaned from May's mission, Arsenault projects huge demand for wood products. He suggests New Brunswick companies can meet that demand, provided they can manage cultural differences and make the right business connections.
That's why he's canvassing his members for interest in a second trade mission to the country later this year, which would involve matching New Brunswick companies with potential buyers in China.
And that's where Wang's company, Atlantic Canada Business Network - which is based in Saint John and has offices in Beijing and Shenzhen - comes in. Her organization, which has 14 full-time employees, arranges meetings, provides translation services, converts marketing materials into Chinese and works to find appropriate business partners.
Business New Brunswick representative, Pierrette Battah, who participated in May's fact-finding mission, said the department is considering supporting the second mission in the fall, which would be more focused on securing immediate sales.
According to Arsenault, there is currently only one company from New Brunswick that exports wood products to China - York North Veneer Products Inc., which shipped two containers of wood veneer on a test pilot basis.
Published Telegraph-Journal Thursday June 17th, 2010Appeared on page B2 Christine Dobby
Forestry rebound possible in southern N.B.
Some operators hold a certain degree of optimism that the forestry industry in southern New Brunswick can return to previous heights.
"We've seen lots of mill closures around the province," said Ken Hardie, manager of the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners Inc. "We have greatly reduced markets "¦ we're extremely challenged on opportunities to sell wood."
Hardie estimates that sales across the entire province, including the southern region, have decreased by 70 per cent. He added that the volume of wood coming off of Crown land is one of the biggest challenges for the provinces' almost 40,000 woodlot owners, with over 10,000 located in the southern part of the province.
"Essentially Crown land is our biggest competitor in the marketplace, which fundamentally has been our fight for many years, is the fact that we're in competition with our own land, publicly-owned land," he said, noting they have been in discussion with the Department of Natural Resources on the issue.
"At this time there is some positive. The department seems to be recognizing that in order for private woodlots to survive, maybe some Crown land needs to come off the market."
Pam Folkins is the general manager of the Southern New Brunswick Wood Co-op Ltd. and Forest Products Marketing Board, which represents over 6,600 private woodlot owners in the southern part of the province.
She said there is optimism that there is "light at the end of the tunnel," but said a myriad of factors have led to troubling market conditions for the forestry industry.
"There's not one main factor, it's been a national downturn in the industry," she said. "We've had a high Canadian dollar, we've had high transportation costs due to fuel, we've had an infestation in western Canada that caused increased harvest. It's been a combination."
That combination has led to some somber sales statistics. Folkins said as recently as five years ago their average harvest levels were around 200,000 quarts per year, but it has now plummeted down to about 55,000 cords per year.
One solution Folkins suggests is for woodlot owners to become more diversified in expanding and broadening services. She also notes the possibility of using lower-end wood products for supplying combined heat and power facilities, which could be a boost to the industry, if the government policy allowed for consideration of alternate heating sources for government buildings.
Hardie added that there is also an "extensive set of opportunities" for getting the industry involved in bioenergy and using biomass wood for heat and power, although he said no projects have been announced for development and he believes there is still a great deal of time before that becomes a realistic market.
Marcel Maillet, general manager for the SENB Forest Product Marketing Board, said the last three years have been tough and have seen a loss of about 75 per cent of sales.
Mill closures have meant fewer places to sell wood and Maillet said the options that remain have extremely low prices.
Hardie said an example of that is studwood, which in the past used to be sold for $140 to $150 a quart, but is now around the $100 mark.
Maillet added that it's not all gloom and doom, though. The Weyerhaeuser mill in Miramichi may possibly reopen this summer and previously shut down Newcastle Lumber is returning under the name Miramichi Lumber.
Maillet added that Delco Forest Products in Rexton, which used to be one of the biggest buyers of studwood, is hoping to return to operations in June after having stopped purchasing last July.
These rejuvenated operations will join currently operating JD Irving in Sussex, which is one of the region's main wood purchasers.
It's a hope that some new operation and a reversal of adverse market conditions can help not only increase the amount of markets, but also the amount of people employed in the forest industry.
"2003 and 2004, that's when things were quite good. We had all kinds of markets, people had no problem finding a place to move wood, prices were much better than they are today," Maillet said. "We've lost 75 per cent of our markets and lost probably 65 to 70 per cent of our workforce."
While things could certainly be better, there's no shortage of optimism and hope that the industry will soon turn around.
"It looks like this year we'll see some improvements in the marketplace and the positives that we are seeing is additional mills that are starting up or looking at starting up this year -- restarting, I should say," Folkins said. "It's going in the right direction. It's going to be a slow process and I think the markets hopefully will continue to inch up and there will be demand for housing starts. They do have to have some inventory to carry them through and I believe that private woodlot wood is an important part of that."
Published Times & Transcript Thursday May 6th, 2010
Appeared on page C2 Cole Hobson
PRESS RELEASE - SILVICULTURE SECTOR WRAPS UP SUCCESSFUL SEASON, THANKS TO FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
March 29, 2010 - FREDERICTON, NB -- The New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners and the seven provincial marketing boards have just wrapped up a successful silviculture season with support from both the federal and provincial governments.
This year marked the first in several where there was a funding partnership with both levels of government.
"The Government of Canada is committed to helping communities recover quickly from the current economic downturn. Our investment in the forestry sector has helped to support that necessary forestry management and silviculture programming measures have been undertaken over the past year, to ensure the viability of the sector for the long term," said the Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of National Revenue, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway.
"It was tremendous to have the federal government become involved again in private woodlot silviculture in New Brunswick after nine years away", said Federation President Andrew Clark. "Their investment showed the confidence they have in the New Brunswick private woodlot sector."
The federal government through ACOA is investing $3.5 million dollars over two years ($1.75 million/year). This money was specifically targeted at increasing reforestation efforts through site preparation and planting, but was also used for pre-commercial thinning.
"ACOA Minister Keith Ashfield saw silviculture as an opportunity for an investment in the future of woodlots, the forest industry and as a method of creating immediate employment throughout New Brunswick", pointed out Clark. "The ACOA investment created employment for 84 New Brunswickers and helped maintain employment for an additional 35."
The ACOA investment was utilized in all regions of the province.
Alain Landry, Manager of the North Shore Forest Products Marketing Board describes the program as a huge success.
"The ACOA investment allowed our region to plant an additional 1 million seedlings this season", said Landry. "There was great uptake of this additional investment and woodlot owners are excited about the opportunity again for the upcoming season".
Just next door, Claude Pelletier, Manager of the Madawaska Forest Products Marketing Board agrees with Landry. "The ACOA investment was put to great use. We put an additional 500,000 trees in the ground this year which is a tremendous investment for the forest sector in north-western New Brunswick." Pelletier also thanked Minister Ashfield but wanted to recognize another politician as well.
"Senator Percy Mockler, he met with us on several occasions concerning our proposal. He understands the importance of private woodlots in New Brunswick and the forest industry. The Senator was a strong supporter of this project."
Woodlot owners in the southern part of the province, particularly in the York Sunbury Charlotte Marketing Board area took advantage of the increased funding to do more pre-commercial thinning.
"We don't do a lot of planting in our area traditionally," said YSC Board Manager David Palmer. "We used the ACOA funding to pre-commercially thin an extra 155 hectares. The extra funding allowed us to get some backlogged jobs complete, increase the future yield of our woodlots and get people back to work", said Palmer.
Overall the $1.75 million in ACOA funding during the 2009 season created employment for 119 New Brunswickers throughout the province. The funding facilitated the site preparation of 530 hectares, the planting of 3,188,000 trees, and the pre-commercial thinning of 250 hectares. The province also funded silviculture on private woodlots with a $6 million investment in 2009. The provincial funding created 290 jobs and facilitated the treatment of 5,050 hectares of pre-commercial thinning, 1,030 hectares of site preparation and 470 hectares of mechanical plantation cleaning.
For more information contact Troy Lifford or Ken Hardie at 459-2990 from the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners.
To download the press release click here (PDF; 187KB).
Woodlot owners look for new opportunities
Woodlot owners from around the province met Tuesday to talk about ways the industry can help create new opportunities for itself.
About 70 participants gathered in Taymouth for the Shaping Our Futures conference put on by Fundy Model Forest.
While talk about the future of the forestry industry is generally bleak, there are some beacons beckoning to those looking for a new direction, said Nairn Hay, general manager of Fundy Model Forest.
"It's really easy when you talk about the forest sector to dwell on how terrible things are," he said.
"We wanted to highlight some of the positive changes."
Some projects in central New Brunswick are leading the way when it comes to finding new markets.
Members visited the Nashwaak Valley Wood Energy wood pellet plant, where woodlot owners have pulled together to create a new industry and a market for its products.
They also heard from David Palmer, president of Maritime Fibre and Energy, who spoke about ongoing efforts to reopen the former Wilkins sawmill, and Ken Hardie, general manager of the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners, who spoke about a recent feasibility study on the use of small-scale biomass plants for heating institutional buildings.
Hay said he hopes people walk away with new ideas.
"Opening a new plant or taking over a bankrupt sawmill takes great nerve, but these are the people creating new opportunities," Hay said.
Hardie said there are 434,000 tonnes a year of non-merchantable wood available in New Brunswick that could be used as bio-fuel in the province, and he hopes it can be taken advantage of.
"It would make for a brighter day for New Brunswick woodlot owners and it speaks to our energy security," he said. "Rural communities would be more vibrant if there was activity in all woodlots.
"There are more people here than I've seen in a long time when we say we want to talk about woodlots."
Palmer said he hopes hearing about the efforts of others will help guide those looking for new markets to explore the paths that may lead to new opportunity.
"It may offer encouragement to others planning similar projects," he said.
Published Daily Gleaner January 13th, 2010Appeared on page A4 Shawn Berry
A flicker of hope for growth in Canada's troubled wood products industry
TORONTO - After 13 consecutive quarters of declining production, Canada's troubled wood products industry saw its first sign of growth in the third quarter of 2009 and appears to be on the mend.
A Canadian Industrial Outlook report issued Thursday forecasts that while prices will remain weak, production is expected to increase by almost 10 per cent and the industry will return to profitability in 2010.
"After years plagued by bad news, the wood products industry is on the road to recovery," associate director of Canadian Industrial Outlook Michael Burt said.
The industry has been devastated by the mountain pine beetle outbreak, severe housing market declines, softwood lumber disputes and job losses.
Some 9,400 wood products workers lost their jobs in 2009, bringing total job losses since 2005 to 66,500, the report said.
It forecast a loss of $253 million for 2009, but a huge leap to profitability of $661 million in 2010, partly due to cost-cutting measures put in place this year.
Revenues are expected to decline for the fifth straight year in 2009, down 22.7 per cent to $16.8 million, with exports down 17.4 per cent and domestic demand down 24.8 per cent.
But the report indicates the industry will fare much better in 2010 with revenues growing 12 per cent to $18.8 million in 2010 as real GDP in wood products expands 9.8 per cent.
"The combination of rising prices and climbing production will lead to revenues averaging increases of 10 per cent annually over the next five years," it said.
The report predicts that housing starts will continue to ramp up in 2010 after experiencing their worst year since record keeping began.
As a result, residential construction will experience strong growth in 2010, which will drive strong demand for wood products.
"The current weakness in the market will give way to strong growth. But even though the housing market is overdue for a strong rebound, it will take several years before the market is completely recovered," the report said.
The outlook said adoption of the harmonized sales tax in Ontario and B.C. will reduce production costs and result in investment in new technologies and machinery, which will help the Canadian industry gain an advantage over other forestry exporters.
Progress has been made in marketing wood products to Chinese contractors, the report added.
But it noted that the push for more environmental protection of boreal forests, the world's largest carbon storing ecosystems, could present challenges for the industry.
"...Nonetheless, the expected improvement in demand coming from both the U.S. and Canadian housing markets, along with record low interest rates and government incentives from both governments, suggests a bright future for the wood industry for years to come."
THE CANADIAN PRESS December 17th, 2009
Woodlot owners excited about pellet plant
FREDERICTON - There's a sense of excitement among Nashwaak Valley woodlot owners these days.
SHAWN BERRY/canadaeast news service
Ken Thomas, project manager at Nashwaak Valley Wood Energy, shows some of the wood pellets the company's plant is producing for wood-pellet stoves as company president Peter DeMarsh looks on.
A group of investors in the area is buying in to the community's future and opening a wood-pellet plant in the hopes of gaining a stake in the growing market for cleaner energy.
Stung by the collapse of markets for pulpwood two years ago, they hope to reinvigorate the market for local wood in the process.
Nashwaak Valley Wood Energy began production of pellets for wood-pellet stoves last week.
While 14 people are expected to be employed at the company's operations, the company hopes the real impact will come once production ramps up, providing a market for hundreds of woodlot owners who have been without a place to sell their wood.
Ken Thomas, project manager at the plant, says the Nashwaak Valley community is setting itself apart by collectively pulling up its bootstraps and takings the future into its own hands.
"They're putting their money where their mouths are, which is pretty unique these days," Thomas said of residents.
To date, the company has sold more than 3,000 shares at $225 apiece. A second series of 3,000 shares was recently issued. A total of 120 shareholders have gotten onboard buying anywhere from one to 300 shares.
Most are woodlot owners in the valley who see promise in the project.
"It's not only the wages, it's the wood we're going to buy," Thomas said.
By their own accounts, the market for wood pellets is burgeoning.
When company president Peter DeMarsh began looking into the project two years ago, it was estimated that 95 per cent of the production would be bound for Europe, but with demand for wood pellet stoves now exceeding supply in Canada and the United States, they expect the bulk of the pellets to stay in northeastern North America.
Demand for wood pellets is expected to increase as consumers look to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their carbon footprint while avoiding unstable oil prices. The waiting list to buy a stove can be months.
"We have a locally owned company, and a locally grown product that is renewable and sustainable," DeMarsh said.
"We think this year is going to be like last year and there is going to be a huge demand," Thomas said.
The project is already earning praise.
"They're really taking the bull by the horns. They're not sitting back, they're saying: We're going to take action.
Let's make a product that the market wants," said John Flynn, executive director of Enterprise Central NB. He likened the operation to a co-operative.
Enterprise Central NB commissioned a study two years ago to help find alternative markets for pulpwood.
That study identified wood pellets as a growing market and one that people would be turning to because it is an environmentally friendly technology.
He said there is demand for it.
"In Europe, it's not just for stoves in houses. They're using it for large facilities, nursing homes, schools, and even various industrial sites," he said.
The operators have bold plans. They see this as the first phase of operations.
"As soon as we can show the banks we're making a profit, we want to expand," Thomas said.
The company hopes to produce two tons of pellets every hour.
Ridge Cedar in Keswick Ridge will be selling the pellets and the company plans to sell them from the Nashwaak Valley site two days a week.
York North MLA Kirk MacDonald is among the shareholders. Some of the earliest meetings among instigators of the project were in his home.
He said it's come a long way since those first days.
"It's wonderful to be able to stand back and look at the operation running now and think back to the days when we had to scramble to secure financing and identify suppliers," he said. "It's been a long road."
MacDonald said the group's work has been bolstered by "an all-star cast" of supporting members.
"We have a tremendous group."
Members include a former pulp and paper maintenance foreman, a former president of the Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners, a former deputy minister of Natural Resources and other former civil servants.
"Nashwaak Valley Wood Energy is an example of what a community can do when it bands together," MacDonald said.
Published Telegraph Journal September 22nd, 2009Appeared on page A3