Andy Fast is the New Extension Forest Industry Specialist
Andy is pictured above on the right walking in the woods with colleagues Charlie Moreno, consulting forester, and Karen Bennett, Extension Forester.
Andy Fast is UNH Cooperative Extension’s new Forest Industry Specialist. Andy began his career with Extension as Belknap County Forester in 2008 adding Strafford County to his coverage area in 2012. Among his many duties as county forester, he helped private landowners and communities care for their land, advising them how to tend their forest to protect the environment and meet their objectives. As county forester, he developed his interest in the New Hampshire forest economy and industry.
Andy says, “This job aligns with my interest in the economic side of growing trees. I’ve always gravitated towards business and economic justifications for decisions—how to create value and be successful.” Fast is the primary author of the Timber Basis Decision Model: A Calculator to Aid in Federal Timber Tax-Related Decisions (extension.unh.edu/timber-basis), a unique web-based calculator helping landowners maximize their timber sale profits by minimizing their taxes. He is part of a 20-state economic study detailing the forest industry’s contributions to the region’s economy. He has an interest in developing new markets for forest products and is exploring New England hardwoods for casks in the brewing and spirit industries.
UNH Cooperative Extension Director, Ken LaValley says, “The forest industry is an important part of New Hampshire’s economy and identity. I’m confident that Andy will be a trusted resource for New Hampshire’s new and existing forest-based businesses, and will promote a resilient forest industry through programming, partnerships, market development and resource generation.”
The Extension Forest Industry Specialist position focuses on business attraction and retention, economic development, educational programming and connecting UNH resources to the industry.
“I plan to spend a lot of time reaching out to the forest industry. I want to meet individual businesses needs and work on strategic projects with partners.” A key partner is the N.H. Timber Harvesting Council. Andy will work with the council along with Jim Frohn, Grafton County Forester, and the rest of the extension forestry team to continue to offer quality educational programs through the council’s Professional Logger Program.
State Forester and Director of the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands, Brad Simpkins is delighted with Andy’s appointment. “The industry is facing some real challenges but also some opportunities and Andy, as the Extension forest industry specialist, will be a key player in working through these. I look forward to working with him.”
Andy is a member of the New England Lumbermen’s Association and other forestry organizations. He’s been recognized regionally and nationally for outstanding contributions to forestry. He received the National Tree Farm Leadership Award in 2013, the Northeast Region Tree Farm Inspector of the Year in 2012, the Molly Beattie Young Forester Leadership Award in 2014, and N.H. Project Learning Tree Educator of the Year in 2016.
“Over my career, I have gained tremendous respect for the professionals that work in the woods, and manufacturers that make up the industry. I admire the business savvy, resilience, and insight required for long-term success. I look forward to working with our partners and forest-based businesses to confront industry challenges and seek new opportunities.”