Timber 2009 Attendees to See State-of-the-Art Technology

UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences will host the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association’s bi-annual trade exposition, May 29-30.

Held at the Ag Progress Days site at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Pa. Route 45, the Forest Products Equipment and Technology Exposition, or Timber 2009, aims to put attendees “in the driver’s seat” with hands-on demonstrations of state-of-the-art machinery.

“Unique to Timber 2009 will be ‘in-the-woods’ demonstrations, which will allow attendees to actively experience equipment and machinery in a real outdoors setting,” said Bob Oberheim, Timber 2009 manager, who also oversees Ag Progress Days and the university’s horticulture farm. “You can expect to see large horizontal grinders, harvesters, slashers, whole-tree chippers, and feller-bunchers with cut-to-length heads. We have an incredible selection of machinery ready for the exposition.”

Oberheim also said that Timber 2009 will feature a ride-and-drive area, which will give participants a chance to operate log skidders and forwarders.

Not only will attendees get the buzz on new wood-processing products from several manufacturers and more than 60 commercial exhibitors, they also can learn how to save some green with the energy-efficient technologies and systems taking root in Pennsylvania. Oberheim cites biomass furnaces as one cutting-edge attraction.

“Biomass furnaces are incredibly energy efficient,” he said. “Large organizations in Pennsylvania save literally hundreds of thousands of dollars each year by replacing their fossil fuel furnaces with biomass. These environmentally friendly furnaces rely on inexpensive wood, grass and other forms of biomass to generate energy and heat and are equipped with an emissions-control device that cleans the gases before they are released into the atmosphere. It’s a simple way for schools, hospitals and local communities to cut their costs and their carbon footprint.”

Efficiency and sustainability are burning issues during these tough economic times, and many companies are trimming more than just wood. Timber 2009 features workshops specifically focused on helping companies not only to survive the economic downturn, but to effectively position themselves for profit once the market swings back. “The presentations at Timber 2009 are free and highlight issues such as human resource management, accessing federal and state economic-development financing, and making better cash-management decisions,” said Paul Lyskava, Pennsylvania Forest Products Association executive director.

“We have expert speakers from top programs and institutions around the state, including Penn State wood products professor Judd Michael, Walt Blosser from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and an entire panel of state and federal agency officials who will be taking questions and providing attendees with illuminating economic advice for today and the future,” he said. “In addition, loggers attending the seminars will be able to use them to qualify for their SFI continuing education credits.”

For information on Timber 2009, including details on exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities, call (814) 863-2873 or visit online.

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