National Forest Products Week lets wood industry shine


It’s the third weekend of October, which means it’s time to honor the forestry industry with National Forest Products Week. The annual celebration, created by Congress in 1960, is a tribute to the country’s forest products industry and the 900,000 American workers who make the industry such a critical piece of the U.S. economy.

President Obama, in his declaration of this year’s event, noted:

Today, forests provide products we use each day, including paper, wood, and building and packaging materials. During National Forest Products Week, we express our appreciation for the incredible bounty forests provide and we renew our commitment to ensuring the next generation can enjoy their irreplaceable resources.

…Forests generate billions of dollars in economic growth, sustaining local economies and enhancing communities across our country. We rely on them in so many aspects of our national life, and throughout this week, we must continue working to protect the precious resources our forests hold so they can continue enriching our world and supporting our way of life.

Here in Washington, the Tri-City Herald this week ran a letter from Vickie Hoffart, Western Region Manager of the Forest Resources Institute, commemorating National Forest Products Week.

The working forests in Washington (and across the United States) and the people who work in our forest products industry have a tremendous positive impact on our lives. We all rely on the industry for everyday items — lumber for housing, paper products for home and business use, energy, furniture, landscaping materials — just to name a few.

I’m a proud member of the forest products industry, and I hope you will join me in celebrating the everyday items that are made from our forests.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) used this special week to announce $7 million in projects designed to expand wood products, including cross-laminated timber.

In 2017, the Wood Innovation Program will invest up to $7 million in projects designed to have a long-term impact on National Forests and other forest lands by leveraging the market for low-value wood. Funding is available for a diverse range of activities, from facilitating the establishment of new building codes to support expanded use of wood materials to developing a cluster of wood energy projects in a geographic area. Funding may also support business planning and efforts to accelerate the manufacturing, market adoption and demonstration of innovative wood products, such as cross-laminated timber.

…”Growing markets for wood products and wood energy create new uses for diseased wood that otherwise would be hazardous fuel in our nation’s forests, where we are experiencing increasingly longer and more intense wildfire seasons. By getting this wood out of the forests and putting it to use as building material or a renewable energy source, we are able to sustain the health of our forests and maintain their capacity to store carbon,” said (Agriculture Secretary Tom) Vilsack. “Already, USDA has invested nearly $1 billion into 240 projects to uncover innovative new uses for wood, and our Tall Wood Building Prize Competition is proving that multi-story buildings made of wood can be a reality in major U.S. cities. This new round of funding will no doubt inspire additional opportunities for the benefit of our forests and climate.”