Coming off a great first event in 2011, the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Logging & Biomass Expo, which took place in Selma-Smithfield, NC, on September 20-21, was even better in its second year. Almost 2,700 attended, the largest component being logger families and employees. With nearly 550 exhibitor staff on hand to talk products, technologies and the overall state of the industry, the event was pulsing with energy. Friday brought some damp, gray weather, but just as loggers must keep working in such conditions, the show went on. Saturday brightened up a bit, and the Expo was packed.
Friday saw solid attendance not only in the various booths and demos, but from over 200 students and 12 teachers from around the area. “Swamp Logger” Bobby Goodson commented that having students at the show allowed exhibitors a unique education opportunity. It’s not every day that school groups are able to learn about the forest and what happens on a timber harvest. Many students sat with rapt faces in the live demo bleachers.
The show returned to the same tract as in 2011, where owner Allen Wellons and his professional forestry adviser Mike Perry of Forestry Services, Inc., demonstrated exceptional generosity and cooperation. The central location of the site proved ideal, and the show benefitted further from improved demand for wood products in the region.
Ken Murray with Maxi-Load scales noticed how busy his booth was Saturday, saying, “Lots of people, lots of interest and confirmed sales were a bonus. This was the best show I have attended, period.”
Deere dealers James River and R.W. Moore, just like Maxi-Load, saw lots of traffic Saturday, commenting that it was full in their live demo bleachers, saying the quality of attendees could not be beat. “From early morning until late afternoon, we had large numbers of people at our booth and they kept us all very busy,” said Sandi Fallowfield, who works with John Deere.
Logger Roy Reeves of Cullen Falls, Va. was on hand to check out some Tigercat machinery due to a new Tigercat dealer in his area, Forest Pro in Scottsville. Peter Anderson and his family from Tarboro, NC were interested in in-woods chippers primarily, citing new and upcoming markets in the area. Clay Harmon from Warrenton, NC was there to do a research for a planned new feller-buncher purchase in the near future. The show offered a very good opportunity to compare different brands by seeing them “demoed the same day, same ground, same conditions,” Harmon said. Dusty Cordelle from Andrews, NC, said he was there to look at “anything and everything on the good old wish list,” including a hoped-for new cutter.
Vendors and loggers alike were pleased with site layout and sales, according to North Carolina Forestry Assn. Vice President Jack Swanner. “The Selma-Smithfield community again supported this large undertaking,” says Doug Duncan, Executive Director of the NCAPL. “Many thanks to the Johnston County Visitors Bureau for lining up local food vendors and promoting the show. Pulling off a live harvesting outdoor event is no small feat and the excellent partnership with the NCAPL, NCFA and Hatton-Brown came through again. We look forward to 2015 and are now identifying future sites in the area.”
Hatton-Brown Publishers, the parent company of Southern Loggin’ Times and Timber Harvesting, partnered with the NCAPL and NCFA to sponsor the event.
Foresters were able to gain three Category I SSF credits, which brought a lot of foresters to the show. Chris Smith, VP of Operations with Wake Forest, NC firm Dougherty & Doughtery Forestry Services, Inc. said he was not only pleased that he obtained SSF credits, but that the family friendly event was an improvement from the previous year. “My family thoroughly enjoyed it and I did notice the improvements in layout, registration and food vendors. I am proud to have such an event in our state and right in our back door,” he continued.
The show also carried three SAF Category 1 CFE credits for all forestry professionals attending the show from any state. Three SharpLogger credits were offered for Virgina loggers in attendance. NCFA and NCAPL held two NC ProLogger Training Modules in the mornings for all NC loggers needing refresher courses.
Many loggers and foresters alike noticed improvements to the show and commented on the positive family friendly nature. Robert Rich, from Garland, NC with Robert Rich Timber Harvesting, Inc., brought his whole family out, letting his future logger see all the new trucks and trailers. “He’s getting an eyeful,” Rich said with a laugh gesturing to his toddler. Families like the Riches really sum up the whole experience at Mid-Atlantic, where over 380 children registered with logging professionals.
David Harsh, a vintage chainsaw collector from Amelia Courthouse, Va., was back this year with a not-to-be-missed exhibit. His cranking of vintage saws drew plenty of crowds. While most of his 600 chainsaws are indigenous to the Carolinas, he had plenty of old-world German two-man saws that had some of the vintage loggers reminiscing. Harsh commented that he loves coming to shows such as Mid-Atlantic because it allows him to meet some of the vintage loggers that ran his vintage saws back in their “glory days.”
Loggers were able to enter one of two loader competitions that were both played to consistently packed stands. John Woodie Enterprises sponsored a Barko loader competition, and Prentice brought its ever-popular competition as well. Both donated entry fees to local charities.
Additional coverage can be found on the SLT Facebook page, the Logger News Online e-newsletter, and on the SLT website, or visit nclog gers.com to view exclusive video coverage of the 2013 edition of the Mid-Atlantic Logging & Biomass Expo, including exhibitor and attendee interviews alongside product demonstrations.
The Mid-Atlantic Logging & Biomass Expo has emerged as the region’s signature event for the forest industry’s wood fiber supply chain. It will be held again near Selma/Smithfield, NC on September 18-19, 2015. Up to 4,000 loggers, foresters, truckers, landowners, machinery manufacturers-dealers and service providers are expected to participate.