With live machinery demonstrations, as many as 85 commercial vendors and numerous business networking opportunities, the 2015 Forest Products Equipment andTechnology Exposition promises to provide professionals with a valuable trade show experience. But organizers of the event, known as Timber 2015, also have planned activities designed to entertain and educate the loggers, sawmill operators, value-added processors, forest landowners and members of the public who attend.
Hosted by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association, the biennial event will take place June 5-6 at Penn State's Ag Progress Days site, on state Route 45 nine miles southwest of State College.
A new attraction at this year's expo will be the Game of Logging national finals, a competition based on a world-recognized chain saw skills curriculum. The contest, with landowner and professional logger divisions, combines Scandinavian logging techniques with the latest systems for working safely around trees. Qualifiers from state-level competitions will compete on June 6 in categories such as Bore Station, Spring Pole, Big Stump, Precision Stump, Speed Cut and Tree Felling.
According to the Game of Logging website, "The 'game' refers not only to the friendly competitive aspect of the training, but also to the necessity of having a winning plan or strategy for felling trees and working safely. The program breaks apart saw work into steps that are practiced throughout the course. A fun scoring system helps focus participants' attention on the most important details and allows them to measure their progress."
Timber 2015 also will feature demonstrations by the Penn State Woodsmen's Team, which travels to compete in various regional and national collegiate events. Team members will demonstrate skills such as axe-throwing, underhand chopping and crosscutting on both days of the expo.
"These activities, which showcase the competitive talents of the participants, are fun to watch and emphasize the professional skills and safety expertise needed to be successful in the industry," said Timber 2015 manager Bob Oberheim, of Penn State.
In addition, the forest-product industry's charitable efforts will be highlighted by the "Log a Load for Kids" Truck Parade. The procession of vehicles around the show grounds will culminate with a check presentation to the Children's Miracle Network.
Nationally, the annual "Log a Load for Kids" campaign has raised about $20 million to help sick and injured children, noted said Paul Lyskava, executive director of the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association.
"Individuals and businesses in the Pennsylvania logging and forestry industries each year donate the value of a load of logs to support local Children's Miracle Network hospitals," he said. "This truck parade is a visual representation of our industry's commitment to the children of Pennsylvania and to the communities where we live and work."
The leading hardwood-producing state in the nation, Pennsylvania is home to more than 2,100 forest-product companies and 500,000 forest landowners. The forest-products industry has $11.5 billion in annual sales and generates about $19 billion a year for the state's economy.
Other activities on the schedule for Timber 2015 include the following:
--Woodlot management tours on both days will examine a 15-acre timber harvest that was performed in 2012 using the shelterwood regeneration method. Visitors will learn about harvesting and regeneration challenges, including shade tolerance, seed trees, exotic insects, invasive plants, competing vegetation and deer-browsing impacts.
--On-site and in-the-woods demonstrations will feature a range of forest-product technologies and machinery, including feller bunchers with processing heads, forwarders, log skidders, horizontal grinders and chippers. A ride-and-drive area will allow attendees to test-drive log skidders and forklifts.
--A Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative training course to be held on both days of the show will enable loggers to meet their annual PA SFI continuing education requirements. The course is free to attend, but there will be a $20 administrative fee for those who wish to register for continuing education credit. The educational sponsor for the event is Metzler Forest Products LLC.
--The Pasto Agricultural Museum will present new displays and hands-on exhibits focusing on timber and logging history. Visitors can hear stories of the history of timber, logging and forestry in the commonwealth in presentations at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day.
Primary sponsors for Timber 2015 include Forest Products Credit by AgChoice FC, Foster F. Wineland Inc., Pendu Manufacturing Inc. and Taylor Machine Works Inc.