Timber Suppliers Send USDA Message Supporting Hardwood Checkoff

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woodworkingnetwork.com – The proposed Hardwood Checkoff program is receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from those in the business of growing dependable, high quality timber for the hardwood lumber industry. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has asked for public input on the Checkoff program, particularly soliciting views of those in the hardwood business.

Landowner groups representing thousands of individuals and companies invested in growing hardwood trees across the country have weighed in, focusing on the desperate need to grow US markets, increase profits, and push back on competition. They see the Hardwood Checkoff as being a step towards reaching all of these goals. Here are a few excerpts:

“The proposed checkoff is a thoughtful means to maintain and expand markets for American grown hardwoods. These trees are often among the most valuable for a landowner, thus providing significant income that can be reinvested in the woodlands. …As the softwood checkoff is showing and the paper checkoff is just beginning to show, these research and marketing initiatives are just the kind of thoughtful investments that can help markets grow and prosper. We are confident that the hardwood checkoff is likely to have the same positive impact on demand for hardwood products. And this demand will not only help hardwood companies be more profitable, they will help keep woodlands as forests.” Tom Martin, CEO American Tree Farm, American Forest Foundation

“The U.S. is blessed with the most productive hardwood forests in the world, and family woodland owners like myself grow most of the hardwoods logs in America. To do this we have to be able to count on the long term health of the markets with a variety of profitable mills. The majority of the 32,000 members of the National Woodland Owners Association truly enjoy growing top quality logs, but we are very concerned that the United States is continuing to lose markets to fast grown engineered products with attractive plastic wood grains and other laminated products at competitive prices… Just as landowners must make a long-term commitment to produce quality hardwood logs, the hardwood lumber and plywood producers must make the investments in promoting hardwood products. …We strongly endorse approval of the Hardwood Lumber and Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Order.” Keith Argow, President, National Woodland Owners Association

“Plum Creek Timber Company, one of the largest private timberland owners in the country, strongly supports the Hardwood Checkoff Program for our industry … The Program will help grow market demand by promoting – directly to the consumer – the important everyday uses of hardwood products, as well as introducing important new hardwood products. The Program can also help educate consumers and other important stakeholders about the environmental, social, and economic benefits of using carbon-friendly products from sustainably-managed working forests in North America –at a time when the product benefits of our industry are being challenged or ignored.” Tom Lindquist, President and COO, Plum Creek Timber Company.

“The Westervelt Company manages approximately 500,000 acres of timberland in the southeastern United States. Because most of our pine sawtimber is converted into lumber we are part of the Softwood Check-Off program, and are very pleased with the impact the Softwood Lumber Board has had on growing the market for softwood lumber in the U.S. As a seller of hardwood sawtimber, we believe a Hardwood Check-Off program would yield similar results and enhance the viability of hardwood lumber and plywood markets in this country. Strong markets support working forests, which benefit everyone.” Michael Case, President and CEO, The Westervelt Company

The Hardwood Checkoff Committee is comprised of leaders of US hardwood companies who have volunteered time and resources to develop and work towards final passage of a Hardwood Checkoff program. Checkoff programs are funded by industry, run by voluntary industry boards, and aimed at expanding markets for commodity products. Checkoffs are in place for over 25 commodities including softwood, paper, cotton, and propane – many having demonstrated success for decades. www.hardwoodcheckoff.com

Source: www.woodworkingnetwork.com