Inside the Source: A Preview of SAF's 2019 Convention

 August 21, 2019 

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Goods from the Woods: A Preview of SAF's 2019 Convention 
A showcase of experiences ranging from hardwood-lumber grading to tasting barrel-aged Kentucky bourbon. 
by Steve Wilent 

You might not think of bourbon as a forest product, but makers of fine Kentucky bourbon depend on barrels made from white oak for aging their spirits. According to the Kentucky Distillers Association, the state’s distillers filled 1.7 million barrels with bourbon in 2018. At about 50 board feet per barrel, that translates to the use of 85 million board feet of high-quality oak lumber.

Of course, Kentucky produces many other forest products, such as a variety of other hardwood lumber, railroad ties, and pulp and paper. So, Goods from the Woods, the theme of this year’s SAF 2019 National Convention, to be held in Louisville from October 30 to November 3, is a perfect fit for the event.

To get a preview of the convention program, as well as points of interest in the city of Louisville and beyond, I spoke with general convention chair Rance Frye, CF, owner of Land Solutions Group, a consultancy based in Baxter, Tennessee. Frye and other members of the Kentucky/Tennessee Society (KTSAF) began planning and organizing the 2019 national convention nearly two years ago. Although Frye lives in Tennessee, he volunteered to take the general chair position in late 2017, when the original chair had to leave the post due to a conflict with his work.

“Kentucky SAF is hosting the convention, and they have really stepped up and done a great job,” Frye said. “Dylan Jenkins, the program chair, has put together a great program, and Chris Will has done an outstanding job of putting together the tours. The folks at the University of Kentucky have done a great job of helping us put together key parts of the program, such as sessions on the White Oak Initiative, and they’ll be bringing a lot of their forestry students to the convention.”

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