Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily news for June 16 2021

Today’s Takeaway

Lumber prices plummet as builders pace slows, sawmills up supply

The Tree Frog Forestry News
June 16, 2021
Category: Today's Takeaway

Lumber prices have fallen 40% since May’s record highs, as US home construction moderates, and sawmills gradually increase supply. In related news: experts debate what the price decline signals for inflation; US Builder confidence falls 2 points; and a new study says the US is underbuilt by 5.5 million homes. In other Business news: North Carolina issues warning on the use of EU lumber; and Canfor announces appointment of Sandra Stuart to their Board.

In Forestry news: Caribou recovery efforts near Revelstoke BC are proving effective; and from the Ottawa Hill Times: some opining by Richard Canning (NDP), Annamie Paul (Green Party); Ian Lee (Carlton University); and Ben Parfitt (Centre for Policy Alternatives).  

Finally, the 2021 BC First Nations Forestry Conference kicks-off at lunch today!

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Special Feature

2021 BC First Nations Forestry Conference starts today!

BC First Nations Forestry Council
June 16, 2021
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

The 2021 event will bring together BC First Nations to share information related to forestry workforce opportunities, and provide a space for communities to share knowledge about forest stewardship and management practices in all regions of British Columbia. The theme for this year’s event is “BC First Nations as Full Partners”. As an organization, the Forestry Council strives to support and advocate for the role BC First Nations should play in the stewardship and governance of forest lands and resources, including access to an equitable share of the benefits derived from forestry activities within their traditional territories. That is why this year, the conference will also provide the opportunity to bring together industry, Government, and Nations to discuss changes to forest policy and legislation, tenure, and workforce partnerships.

The event begins today:

  • 12:30 pm — Building an Inclusive Workforce: Indigenous Mentorship in Forestry
  • 1:30 pm — Indigenous Mentorship in Forestry: Understanding cultural support & two-way learning (breakout session)
  • 1:30 pm — Indigenous Mentorship in Forestry: Understanding the challenges & motivations (breakout session)
  • 3:00 pm — Indigenous Forestry Scholarship Awards

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Business & Politics

Canfor Corporation and Canfor Pulp Products Inc. Announces Appointment of Sandra Stuart to their Board of Directors

By Canfor
Cision Newswire
June 15, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Sandra Stuart

VANCOUVER, BC – Canfor Corporation and Canfor Pulp Products Inc. are pleased to announce the appointment of the companies’ newest board member, Sandra Stuart. “We welcome Sandra to both Canfor and Canfor Pulp’s boards and are excited about the knowledge and diverse background Sandra will bring to our teams,” said Don Kayne, CEO of Canfor Corporation and Canfor Pulp. …Ms. Stuart was the first female CEO of a major bank in Canada and has an international banking career spanning 40 years and three countries. Sandra serves on the boards of HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt, Belkorp Industries Inc. and DRI Healthcare Trust. Sandra has been recognized by the Association of Women in Finance for Excellence in the Private Sector, acknowledged as one of British Columbia’s Most Influential Women by BC Business and the Women’s Executive Network awarded her the inaugural Deloitte Inclusion Vanguard Award and recognized her as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women. 

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North Carolina Building Code Council warns of the use of European lumber in the State

By Mike Causey, Commissioner
North Carolina Department of Insurance
June 15, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

North Carolina issued an alert about the use of European lumber in the construction of homes and buildings throughout the state. The N.C. Department of Insurance regulates the state’s building codes and oversees the N.C. Building Code Council. The council has determined European lumber, which is being imported to help with the nation’s lumber shortage, does not meet N.C. building code requirements and, in some cases, could cause catastrophic failures in wall, floor and roof framing. …A primary concern is the specific gravity or wood density that affects the performance of fastening devices, such as nails, screws or gusset plates. …There are also concerns with the differences between U.S. and imported lumber milling processes. …This does not mean European wood products are prohibited, it simply requires additional supporting documentation to assure the wood characteristics are properly reflected in the overall project design.   

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Finance & Economics

Lumber Set to Snap 8-Day Slump Ahead of U.S. Housing Report

By Marcy Nicholson
BNN Bloomberg – Commodities
June 15, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

U.S. lumber futures are set to snap an eight-session losing streak as traders who bet on price declines cashed in ahead of Wednesday’s U.S. housing starts report. Traders betting against lumber sold off short positions in futures contracts on expectations that the key housing report will show a steady number of homes were built in the U.S. in May, said Brian Leonard, with RCM Alternatives in Chicago.  …Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect U.S. housing starts to rise 3.9% in May from the previous month to reach 1.63 million on an annualized rate. Demand for homebuilding remains strong, which will likely keep lumber prices historically high. “New homebuilders are still building because demand is high,” said Paul Jannke, principal at Forest Economic Advisors, a wood product analysis firm. He sees prices stabilizing at between $500 and $1,000 per 1,000 board feet, well above historical averages.

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Lumber prices plunge 40 percent since May’s record high

By Robert Dalheim
The Woodworking Network
June 15, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Lumber prices have fallen below $1,000 per thousand board feet for the first time since March. Prices have now dropped 40 percent since May’s record high. Prices peaked on May 10 at a little over $1,700 per thousand board feet. Prices are still way up historically – around 175 percent over the past year. They are expected to remain elevated, at least for the near future. The ramping up of U.S. lumber production is one reason for the drop, according to Domain Timber Advisors. U.S. producers expanded production by 5 percent over the past year, with another 5 percent boost still coming. …“Hardwood lumber prices have been equally volatile with many products reaching all-time highs,” said Bo Hammond, hardwood sales manager for Collins Lumber.

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Once-In-A-Generation Response Needed to Address Housing Supply Crisis

The National Association of Realtors
June 16, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Decades of underinvestment and underbuilding have created a shortage of housing in America that is more dire than previously expected and will require a concerted, long-term nationwide commitment to overcome. Housing is Critical Infrastructure: Social and Economic Benefits of Building More Housing outlines causes and offers numerous potential solutions for both federal and local-level policymakers to consider, but warns that immediate action must be taken across all levels of government, no matter the approach. “The state of America’s housing stock… is dire, with a chronic shortage of affordable and available homes [needed to support] the nation’s population,” the report asserts. “A severe lack of new construction and prolonged underinvestment [have led] to an acute shortage of available housing… to the detriment of the health of the public and the economy. The scale of underbuilding and the existing demand-supply gap is enormous… and will require a major national commitment to build more housing of all types.”

More coverage in WSJ: U.S. Housing Market Needs 5.5 Million More Units

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US home construction up a moderate 3.6% in May

By Martin Crutsinger
The Associate Press
June 16, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

U.S. home construction rose 3.6% in May as builders battled a surge in lumber prices that have made homes more expensive. The May increase left construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.57 million units, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Applications for building permits, looked to for indications of activity ahead, fell 3% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.68 million units. …Many economists believe that the surge in home building and sales over the past year may begin to slow, especially for single-family homes. “We expect starts to mostly move sideways over the balance of 2021,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, lead economist for Oxford Economics. “Strong demand, a need for inventory and homebuilder optimism will keep a floor under activity, but builders continue to face supply constraints that may hamper or at least postpone construction.”

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Here’s What Plunging Lumber Prices Tell Us About Inflation

By Sarah Hansen
Forbes Magazine
June 15, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The price of lumber has fallen more than 40% since its peak in May and other commodities have followed suit, suggesting that some of the price surges that have alarmed lawmakers and investors this spring may fade with time as the economy returns to normalcy. …And lumber isn’t the only commodity whose rally has stalled: Copper, corn and soybean prices have also begun to fall. …The Federal Reserve concludes its two-day meeting on Wednesday, and investors will be watching closely for any clues that the central bank plans to tighten policy and begin withdrawing some of its support for the economy. Many experts expect the Fed to continue to hold the line on interest rates, which have been at near-zero levels since the onset of the pandemic.

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Sawmill output, housing starts and lumber prices (graphed)

By Robert Dietz
NAHB – Eye on Housing
June 15, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The historic climb for lumber prices, combined with delays and higher costs for other building materials, is a significant limiting factor for home building in 2021. Despite a historically diminished level of overall housing inventory and solid demand due to low mortgage interest rates and demographics, new construction has been limited in its ability to add needed supply to the market, resulting in unsustainable gains for home prices. …Despite the decline in workers, sawmill output was flat over the course of 2020, albeit along a choppy trend. …The 2020 output levels were insufficient to keep up with the demand from residential construction. …The growing gap between the two measures, particularly in 2020 when single-family starts expanded by 12%, is a reason for the dramatic increase in lumber prices.

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US builder confidence falls again but remains high

By Robert Dietz
NAHB – Eye on Housing
June 15, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Rising material prices and supply-chain shortages resulted in builder confidence dipping to its lowest level since August 2020. The latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) shows that builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes fell two points to 81 in June. Despite the monthly decline, the reading above 80 is still a signal of strong demand in a housing market lacking inventory. Higher costs and declining availability for softwood lumber and other building materials pushed down builder sentiment in June. These higher costs have have moved some new homes beyond the budgets of prospective buyers, which has slowed the strong pace of home building.

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Lumber prices plummet as builders slow pace, sawmills increase supply

By Mike Powell
Forests2Market Blog
June 16, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: US East, United States

Last week, southern yellow pine (SYP) lumber prices continued to drop sharply— for the week ending June 11 was $979/MBF, a 7.8% decrease from the previous week’s price of $1,062/MBF. …No one knows where the “new normal” price of finished lumber will settle, but the futures market… for July delivery dropped more than 5% to $1,160/MBF. … The combination of strong (and surprising) lumber demand and pinched supplies from manufacturers resulted in a tremendous gap in the market, and the supply chain is just now beginning to rebalance. As the market continues towards equilibrium, two primary dynamics are now at work: home builders have finally slowed pace; [and] sawmills are incrementally increasing supply. …Based on these developments, the market should see some relief over the next few quarters, albeit at prices that are still very much on the high side of the historical norm.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

BC Wood Announces Export Readiness Training Program Webinar

BC Wood Specialties Group
June 16, 2021
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC Wood Export Readiness Training Program (June 29th to August 24th, 2021 8:30 am – 10:00 am) is an in-depth webinar based 9-module program developed for BC’s wood products industry that will guide participants through the complete process of exporting. The modules are broken into three phases, starting with determining export readiness, then offering tactical lessons in performing research, learning about key markets, building Export Plans and identifying the best fit partners, followed by a number of hands-on webinars with experts on dealing with logistics, international finance, virtual selling and other trade topics that will provide specific and actionable advice on expanding internationally. This program has been developed using best practices of other export marketing training programs, but focused on wood products manufacturers specific needs, and will be delivered with input from industry members representing each region and product sector in BC.

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The Definition of Resilience

By Mike Snow, executive director, American Hardwood Export Council
Timber Trades Journal
June 15, 2021
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Mike Snow

It’s been challenging times for the US hardwood industry, but production is rising and optimism is in the air. I have just returned from the Indiana Hardwood Lumber Association annual meeting and am still trying to process what I witnessed over the three days. Simply being at an event with over 500 hardwood lumber producers and suppliers after … lockdowns felt surreal enough… More difficult to comprehend was the overwhelming sense of optimism that permeated the meeting, particularly given the rollercoaster ride of the past 24 months. At the beginning of 2018 prospects for our industry had rarely looked more promising. …Then we were blindsided. The American hardwood industry became collateral damage in an ill-advised trade war with China. …Then came Covid. …Production is increasing again and one thing we know for certain is that supply and demand will once again find equilibrium.

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Forestry

Canadian standards keep forestry industry towering above the rest

By Ian Lee – Sprott School of Business at Carleton University
The Hill Times
June 16, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Ian Lee

…Early in Canada’s evolution, forestry and lumber products became a very important export. …But some hard data is necessary to illuminate the continued importance of the [forest sector] to Canada today. …when we examine empirical, evidence-based data from Statistics Canada and Natural Resources Canada, we learn that approximately only 0.2 per cent of Canada’s forests are being harvested. …And Canadian law requires that every tree that is harvested must be replaced. …In addition to this, a very small amount—less than half of one per cent of Canada’s forests—are being deforested for non-forest use. …Privileged urbanites living in prosperous neighbourhoods, far removed in distance from and understanding of the forestry industry, must become mindful of demanding—ironically—unsustainable forestry practices far in excess of the very high sustainable forestry standards that have been adopted in Canada, as this could render forestry harvesting unsustainable in Canada.

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Sustainability starts with natural resources

By Annamie Paul – leader of the Green Party of Canada
The Hill Times
June 16, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Annamie Paul

One of Canada’s greatest riches is our wealth of natural resources. …Yet current resource extraction continues at unsustainable levels, and we must act quickly to protect our land and waters and to mitigate climate change. First and foremost, that means keeping as much oil in the ground as possible. …The Canadian forestry industry is not sustainable either. This is obvious in British Columbia where more than 97 per cent of original high-productivity old-growth forests have been logged to oblivion, and 75 per cent of the little that remains is currently slated to be logged as well. …Timber can be a more sustainable building material than concrete or steel, but we must be careful about what forests we use for timber and what practices we employ to do so. …Canada … can continue to invest in and subsidize extractive industries … or we can embrace a new vision for responsible natural resource stewardship… [We respect the copyrights of the source publication – full access may require a subscription]

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Forestry’s bright future cannot resemble a bygone era

By Richard Cannings, NDP MP South Okanagan–West Kootenay
The Hill Times
June 16, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Richard Cannings

The forest sector is facing unprecedented challenges in Canada, but with those challenges come opportunities to build a strong industry based on truly sustainable harvesting practices that can provide long-lasting, dependable jobs, preserve biodiversity, protect our watersheds, and cushion the planet from the impact of climate change. …Things looked very dire a year ago. But construction [and] U.S. housing starts, rebounded strongly last summer… [Price surges] have ameliorated the difficulties facing Canadian lumber producers in terms of softwood lumber tariffs, but it is unclear how long they will remain higher than normal. …All this upheaval is happening at a time when many analysts are examining [the role of forestry in reducing] carbon dioxide emissions around the world. …The British Columbia government recently announced that it is developing a new forest management framework, which, among other things, would provide a greater involvement of First Nations in forest management decisions and tenures. [We respect the copyrights of the source publication – full access may require a subscription]

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Ottawa’s fixation with trees and climate: what exactly are we planting?

By Ben Parfitt, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
The Hill Times
June 16, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Ben Parfitt

…last year’s effort to plant 300 million tree seedlings in Canada’s most forest-rich province was a remarkable achievement. Not only was it a record for a single year in BC, but it was achieved in the early throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. The planting effort was also notable because a tiny percentage of trees planted were courtesy of the federal government, which typically doesn’t stray into the provincial jurisdiction of forest management. As part of a suite of initiatives characterized as “real solutions to help tackle the climate crisis,” the federal government has committed to pay for two billion trees to be planted across Canada in 10 years. Ottawa claims that once those trees have grown sufficiently, Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 12 million tonnes per year by 2050. But even at the best of times, such claims are dubious given the incredibly dynamic events at play in our forests. [We respect the copyrights of the source publication – full access may require a subscription]

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For the first time in years, caribou numbers increasing near Revelstoke

By Liam Harrap
Vernon Morning Star
June 15, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

For the first time in decades a caribou herd near Revelstoke is growing in numbers, according to the province.  This spring, the province conducted an aerial survey of the Columbia North herd. It’s the largest in the area and numbered 147 in 2017, the last time it was surveyed. This year, the province counted 184 animals.  “These results are promising,” said the Ministry of Forests in a written statement.  Higher numbers indicate recovery methods are working to protect the endangered animal, including maternal pens, wolf culls, conserving habitat and managing other prey species, the province said.  …Caribou in the province have declined from 40,000 in the early 1900s to less than 19,000 today. …The province is in the process of developing herd specific management plans, which were originally scheduled to be finished last year for the Revelstoke area. 

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A future different from the past, B.C. needs a ministry that puts watershed security and communities first

By Oliver M. Brandes & Rosie Simms – University of Victoria
The Province
June 15, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Despite claims of being “supernatural,” trouble is mounting in B.C.’s waters. From Vernon to Peachland to Shawnigan, the province is marked by conflicts in which communities are trying to protect drinking water sources from the negative impacts of logging, water bottling, contaminated soil dumps, mining, and all manner of other activities at odds with good watershed health and security. …No one single actor or driver is to blame….At the helm is a proponent-driven provincial Forests and Lands Ministry that for too long has put the public interest in healthy watersheds behind short-term economic gains in an extraction-focused model for resource management. …In the past decade it has overseen both the rapidly accelerating loss of natural capital and the erosion of public confidence in the provincial government as a sustainable land manager. …One option is to put forestry back in its own ministry and create an integrated sustainable resource management ministry for the rest

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As spruce budworm numbers rise, so does the battle against them — except in Gros Morne

By Lindsay Bird
CBC News
June 15, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

A spraying program is quadrupling to battle rising spruce budworm numbers in western Newfoundland, but Parks Canada has decided to opt out of the effort and let nature take its course within Gros Morne National Park.  About 140,000 hectares of forest, from the Port au Port Peninsula northwards to Castor’s River on the Northern Peninsula will be sprayed from the sky with biological insecticide BTK beginning in mid-JuneThat’s almost four times the area the provincial government sprayed last year when it began an early intervention spraying program against the insect, whose ravenous appetite for spruce and fir can ravage forests — a major outbreak in Newfoundland in the 1970s affected 90 per cent of the island’s trees.  Scientists aren’t calling the current circumstances an outbreak just yet, but the numbers of budworm in the trees is increasing — fuelled by moths that lay budworm eggs carried over on air currents from an outbreak in Quebec.

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Scientists trying to make California forests more fire resilient

By Laura Bliss
Phys.Org
June 15, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Dana Walsh

To the untrained eye, the scrubby slope off Wentworth Springs Road in the Eldorado National Forest looks like any other patch of Sierra Nevada ridgetop. Tufted in native shrubs and flecked by darkened pine stumps, it’s part of a 30,000-acre swath of land that was deforested in 2014, when the King fire tore through 17 miles of canyon in less than six hours.  But Dana Walsh can see what’s unique. On a recent Sunday morning, the USDA Forest Service forester bent over a white flag pinned into the ground to mark a barely visible seedling. As she points to other seemingly camouflaged baby conifers nearby, what starts to emerge is a subtle pattern she calls cluster planting.  …She designed this area to mimic the gaps of cleared-out vegetation that decades of frequent, low-severity fire—a natural feature of the Sierra Nevada ecosystem—would create in a more mature forest.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Wood pellets, chips reduce GHG emissions by 65-100%

By Biomass Thermal Energy Council
Biomass Magazine
June 15, 2021
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council and Life Cycle Associates announced the release of the “Life Cycle Analysis of Wood Pellets and Chips” study. The Study found that biomass fuels, in the form of wood pellets and chips, result in a 65 to over 100 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in comparison to heating oil, which exceeds the targeted 60 percent GHG reduction requirement for cellulosic biofuels replacing heating oil under the U.S. EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard Program. The Study was conducted under grant issued by the USDA’s Forest Service. …Peter Thompson, BTEC deputy director… “This new study quantifies the GHG advantages of wood fuels for the record and highlights the avoided emissions from the resource’s alternative fates.” …“Their use for energy displaces fossil fuels and avoids alternate fates which have substantially greater climate impacts,” said Lew McCreery, of the USDA Forest Service.

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Health & Safety

Dusty Resource Road Causes Collision

BC Forest Safety Council
June 15, 2021
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Dusty Resource Road Conceals Hazard Resulting in Collision Between Pickup Trucks: Two pickup trucks loaded with All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) were travelling down a mainline logging road at the end of day. The first truck came over the crest of a hill and encountered a large depression in the road. The driver slammed on the brakes but still hit the depression hard. Following the impact, the driver slowed down to assess if the straps had loosened on the ATV from impact, but there was no safe place to pull over. The second driver was a few minutes behind. As they came over the crest of the slope, they could see brake lights in very thick dust and tried to stop but rearended the first truck. The drivers hand was cut when glass blew out. This safety alert provides an overview of the incident and preventative actions to avoid these types of hazards.

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Prince Albert company fined $80K over 2018 worker injury

By Jillian Smith
The Saskatoon StarPhoenix
June 15, 2021
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Aallcann Wood Suppliers Inc. has been fined $80,000 after pleading guilty in Prince Albert provincial court to violating an occupational health and safety law. A worker was injured on Dec. 19, 2018 when he or she was caught in the chain drive of a conveyer belt while attempting to clean it, according to a provincial government news release. The person’s name and the extent of their injuries were not disclosed. The Prince Albert company pleaded guilty on May 31 to a charge of failing to “provide an effective safeguard where a worker may contact a dangerous moving part of a machine, resulting in a serious injury to a worker.” The court imposed a fine of $57,143, along with a surcharge of $22,857, for a total amount of $80,000. Aallcann Wood Suppliers produces treated timber products for agricultural use.

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