Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Partners in Progress

Got Land?
By Susi Rankis, AmeriCorps VISTA

Are you a landowner in Appalachian Ohio? Do you have a parcel of land and you aren’t sure what to do with? Do you have ideas for your land, but you aren’t sure how feasible they are? Do you have some timber that you would like to sell but don’t know a reputable contractor, or a good asking price?

As a landowner, making decisions about your property can be challenging - a choice made today can affect your land for years to come. If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, you should think about contacting the Ohio Premium Pine
Cooperative (OPPC).

OPPC is one of Rural Action’s partner organizations. They help landowners set and meet goals for their land by working with foresters who have years of experience in caring for private lands using low-impact, sustainable management practices. They also help landowners with timber sales, and can help you create contracts to ensure the best possible price, and highest level of care, for your investment.

Recently, OPPC held several meetings with Michelle Decker, executive director of Rural Action, and Colin Donahue, executive director of the National Network of Forestry Practitioners (NNFP), about future partnership opportunities. As a result of those meetings, and based on member feedback, OPPC has decided to take their cooperative in a new direction.

Traditionally, OPPC has been a cooperative focused primarily on the cultivation of coniferous trees in Appalachian Ohio. However, in order to be better stewards of their members’ land, they are currently transitioning away from a pine cooperative to a more comprehensive forestry cooperative – pine currently represents only 4 percent of the forested land in Ohio and OPPC wants to expand their opportunities. This transition will allow them more access to timber markets, as well as a wider constituency.

On Saturday, November 8, OPPC will be holding their annual meeting in Athens, Ohio at the home of long-time supporters Don and Mary-Ann Flournoy (see calendar below). At the meeting, OPPC will vote in a new board of directors, talk about upcoming events in the New Year and reveal a new business strategy.

To go along with their evolving focus, OPPC is also changing their name. They are currently considering several choices and are asking readers of the Rural Rambler to help them decide:

Click here to vote for your favorite name, or suggest a new one!

If you would like more information about OPPC, or if you would like to attend their annual meeting, contact Susi Rankis (740.767.4938) or email her (susi@ruralaction.org).