“KFIA Makes Forestry Work”

2024 Meeting Attendance List

FRANKFORT, KY - The Kentucky Forest Industries Association (KFIA) recently completed a very successful Annual Meeting in Lexington, Kentucky at the Embassy Suites on April 2-4, 2024.  The meeting had record breaking attendance of over 400 people and 40 exhibitors.  The KFIA Annual Meeting serves as the premier event for the hardwood industry in Kentucky. 

The meeting got underway on Tuesday, April 2 with the John C. Smith Memorial Golf Scramble where 75 participants signed up to play and despite some weather issues most everyone got some interesting golf play in at beautiful Houston Oaks Golf Course, Paris, KY.  In the afternoon the KFIA Board of Directors took care of association business followed by a Welcome Reception with the exhibitors that was held in the evening. 

On Wednesday morning KFIA President George Crawford, Merrick Hardwood Lumber welcomed everyone to Lexington Kentucky.  KFIA Executive Director Bob Bauer followed with a state legislative and association update followed by Dana Lee Cole with the Hardwood Federation discussing federal issues in Washington DC over the past year from government funded projects to the upcoming Presidential election which could bring major changes. There is a lot of excitement being generated by the Real American Hardwood Promotion as it begins to make a true impact on improving hardwood markets.  Dan Meyer, Hardwood Review gave an update on the    ever-changing markets, current trends and what the future may hold for the wood products industry.   Michael Snow, American Hardwood Export Council discussed export markets and initiatives to increase hardwood market share all over the world and updated the group on major concerns with the new European Union standards that could have a major impact on export markets.

The opening session was followed by the Kentucky Tree Farm Awards Luncheon with Commissioner Gordon Slone from the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources, complimenting the industry for the impact on Kentucky economics and the partnership with the state agency. The luncheon also provided an opportunity to honor individuals that help to make forestry and the wood industry a big success throughout the state.  The following people were recognized for their contributions to forestry and the association in Kentucky:

    Danny Burnette, Burnette Logging, Reynolds Station, KY – 2023 Logger of the Year
    Walter Rybka, Morehead, KY – 2023 Tree Farmer of the Year
    Harry Pelle, Tallow Creek Farm, Bradfordsville, KY - National Outstanding Tree Farm North Central Region
    Jeffrey F. Lewis, Independent Stave Company, Morehead, KY- 2023 Inspector of the Year
    Dan Allard, Domtar Paper Co. LLC. Hawesville, KY – 2023 KFIA Member of the Year

KFIA also recognized the following people for their leadership and service to the KFIA Board of Directors:

            Outgoing President – George Crawford, Merrick Hardwood Lumber, Burnside, KY       
            Outgoing Vice President – Tom DeFilippo, H & S Lumber, Clay City, KY
            Outgoing Board Member – Scott Anderson, East Anderson Hardwoods, Eubank, KY   

            Newly Elected President - Tom DeFilippo, H & S Lumber Co., Clay City, KY
            Newly Elected Vice President – Charles “Chuck” Courtney, Courtney Timber Harvesting, Greenville, KY

            New elected Directors:   Bobby Atkinson, Eagle Lumber Co. LLC., Greensburg, KY  

As usual tradition, everyone enjoyed the Robinson Lumber Co. / Houchens Insurance Group Hospitality with great fellowship and networking opportunities with fresh seafood and cocktails.  The day ended with the Exhibitor Reception which included plenty of time to see some of the latest technology and services being offered to the wood industry.   

Thursday morning opened with newly elected KFIA President Tom DeFilippo, welcoming and thanking everyone for a successful meeting.  Other speakers included the Kentucky Distillers Association discussing future demand for white oak barrels and representatives from the Kentucky Children’s Hospital thanking the wood industry for Log a Load donations to fund the new Mobile Clinic and many other programs at the hospital.  Attendees also had the privilege to tour the Mobile Clinic during the meeting and were provided with an inspirational presentation from a 9-year-old cardiac patient of the hospital who gave an uplifting talk about her treatment.  The final presenter discussed the Kentucky Forestry Works Program progress in getting this program into the schools to educate young people about employment opportunities related to wood products and address a major labor issue facing the industry.

The meeting was a tremendous success with many positive comments and showed a real excitement for the future of the wood industry.  Those in attendance gained valuable information while having time to network with others in the hardwood industry from throughout the country.  KFIA is pleased to announce that the 2025 Annual Meeting will be in Lexington, Kentucky at the Hilton Downtown on April 1-3, 2025. 

KFIA is a trade association dedicated to serving and promoting the forest products industry of Kentucky.  Founded in 1965, it has over 950 members in the areas of primary and secondary wood industry, supplier and service industries, wholesale, loggers, and landowners. For more information about the association contact Bob Bauer at 502/695-3979.

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