The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced new programs to bring financial assistance to producers, including assistance for timber harvesting and hauling firms, who were impacted by market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The USDA will re-open the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) signup for at least 60 days, beginning on April 5, 2021. Please visit the USDA Pandemic Assistance webpage for more information.
By Alex Anderson, DNR Forest Products Specialist, Rhinelander
When people think of wood-based panel products, plywood and oriented-strand board (OSB) usually come to mind. However, a vast array of panel products whose primary building block is wood do not fall under the auspices of plywood or OSB. Before we explore those, it’s important to understand the distinction between “structural” panels and “non-structural” panels.
As the name implies, structural panels are designed to bolster the strength, stiffness and resistance of the items they adhere to. Plywood, generally, is utilized in commercial structures, whereas OSB is more common in residential construction.
Both plywood and OSB function as cladding for roofs, walls and subfloors. In Wisconsin, various plywood manufacturers generally produce hardwood plywood for decorative applications, such as furniture, cabinets, pinblocks for pianos and many others. There are also two OSB manufacturers in Wisconsin that utilize OSB as a base for their siding product.
Alternatively, non-structural panel products are primarily represented by medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard and hardboard. Like OSB and plywood, these panels are prized for their dimensional stability and textural consistency.
Continue reading “There’s More To Panels Than OSB And Plywood”
By Sabina Dhungana, DNR Forest Products Specialist, Madison
Were you shocked by your mill or plant’s power bill recently? Then 2021 might be a good year to consider adding a wood-fired combined heat and power (CHP) system or upgrading your existing biomass-fueled boiler system to add power generation capability.
Operators and managers of mills or other forest industry plants looking to reduce energy costs may qualify for the 30% energy tax credit included in the 2021 Federal Omnibus spending bill. Organizations may also be eligible by upgrading an existing biomass-fueled boiler system to add power generation capability. Biomass energy systems with more than 150 kW of electricity generation capacity may be eligible for the tax credit. To qualify for the energy tax credit, construction must start before Jan. 1, 2022.
Continue reading “Federal Tax Credits Extended For Business-Scale Biomass Combined Heat and Power Systems”
By Logan Wells, DNR Forest Products Specialist, Hayward
This winter, the Forest Products Services team hosted three webinars on different aspects of manufacturing lumber. Each webinar highlighted principles from the recently published Forest Products Technical Guides.
Recordings of these webinars are available. These recordings expand on each topic, filling in some details about the industry.
We look forward to offering future webinars to highlight Wisconsin’s forest resources. Thank you to our partners Lake States Lumber Association Education, Northcentral Technical College and UW-Madison, for their help in putting together these resources and webinars.
Learn more via the Forest Products Technical Guides or watch the webinar recordings here:
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) still has native tree and shrub seedlings available for spring planting.
Conifers available include jack pine 1-0 and 2-0, red pine 3-0, white pine 2-0 and tamarack 2-0. The pines tend to grow fast and perform the best in well-drained soils. The tamarack can grow in wetter soils. All are great for providing thermal cover to wildlife in the winter or privacy along a property line.
Hardwoods include river and white birch, black cherry, hackberry, silver maple, bur and red oaks, sycamore and black walnut. Many of these hardwoods provide forage or mast for wildlife and grow quickly in fertile soils.
Black cherry will begin producing fruit as soon as five years and aspen and birch provide buds for grouse even faster. The oaks and walnut take a while to produce acorns and nuts, but they will supply wildlife with food for many years once they begin. The silver maple, hackberry and sycamore thrive in wetter soils, giving those in heavy clay or lowland sites an opportunity for arboreal cover.
Consider talking to a DNR forester to get more information on tree planting and forest management. A good planting plan can focus a landowner’s efforts and create a strategy to achieve all their property goals. Find a forester near you using the DNR’s Forestry Assistance Locator webpage.
For up-to-date information on seedling availability, please contact the state nursery at 715-424-3700. To order seedlings, print off a seedling application form here. To have the ordering form sent to your residence, please contact a DNR forester near you or nursery staff.
Seedlings sold by the Wisconsin DNR are only for planting in Wisconsin and for reforestation, wildlife habitat and windbreak and erosion control purposes.
For more information about tree planting in Wisconsin using seedlings from state nurseries, please review our Frequently Asked Questions.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forest Products Services Team hosts a series of free webinars on hardwood lumber manufacturing. This series is for small sawmills and new businesses interested in learning more about the hardwood lumber industry.
An overview of recently published Forest Products Technical Guides will be the focus and other background information on each topic. Presentations will be 30 minutes, followed by 15 minutes for questions and discussion. Click the links below to register for the Zoom webinars. Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email and details on downloading Zoom for your computer or mobile device. If you have any questions, contact Logan Wells at email@example.com or 715-490-3587.
Hardwood Grade Sawing:
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 at 7 p.m. CT
The first webinar topic will cover the basics of grade sawing logs. We will discuss specific techniques for positioning a log, when to turn the log to another face and different sawing patterns.
Edging & Trimming Lumber:
Tuesday, Feb.16, 2021 @ 7 p.m. CT
You can lose significant lumber value and volume with improper edging and trimming. This presentation will dive into generally accepted best practices on how much wane to leave on your lumber. We will also highlight lumber measurement and industry terms and how they relate to manufacturing.
Air Drying Lumber:
Thursday, Mar. 11, 2021 @ 7 p.m. CT
There are many benefits to drying lumber. This webinar is loaded with practical tips on how to set up an air-drying yard best. Reducing the moisture content through low-cost air drying is a great way to reduce kiln time and add value to your lumber.
By Logan Wells, Forest Products Specialist
A specific area that has posed a significant challenge for schools has been integrating virtual instruction for Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes. CTE curriculum requires hands-on learning for careers such as woodworking, basic construction, natural resource management and other agriculture fields. The challenge with an online format for CTE is that students miss out on practical, hands-on experience. This is a daunting task for CTE teachers to find lessons that help students understand and practice career skills without the in-person exercises at schools.
During a normal school year, members of the Forest Products Services team would typically answer guest speaking requests at high schools to help raise awareness of careers in the forest products industry. Given virtual learning and safety guidelines (and with the help of digital presentations and videos), our program was able to turn an in-person school presentation into a short set of online videos that explain the process of primary products, such as turning a log into lumber. Despite my own technology limitations, this still is a helpful resource for CTE teachers searching for virtual assignments and activities.
These videos, hosted by the University of Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, will remain valuable even when districts return to in-person learning. Certainly, a live guest speaker is preferred to a video, but it is our hope that these videos will reach a wider audience across the state. These videos can also help set the stage for students to take part in a mill visit or bring in guest speakers from the industry to focus on specific career skills like the basics of hardwood lumber grading.
Please feel free to check out the Logs to Lumber YouTube videos using the link here. Alternatively, you can search “Logs to Lumber UWSP” in Youtube.
If you have any questions, comments or feedback on these efforts, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Logan Wells, DNR Forest Products Specialist, at 715-490-3587 or Logan.Wells@wisconsin.gov.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wood Innovations Grant
The USDA Forest Service Wood Innovations Program is a funding opportunity supporting traditional wood utilization projects, expanding wood energy markets and promoting wood as a construction material. The grant supports proposals that significantly expand and accelerate wood energy and wood products markets throughout the United States to address forest management needs on National Forest Systems and other forest lands. The deadline to submit wood innovations grant proposals is Jan. 20, 2021.
USDA Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovations Grant
If you are looking for financial assistance for woody biomass energy projects, please explore 2021 Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation funding opportunity request for proposals. The competitive grant can provide funds for shovel-ready projects such as installing a thermally led community wood energy system or building an innovative wood product facility. The deadline to submit Community Wood Energy proposals is Feb. 3, 2021.
More information regarding these funding opportunities, including the requests for proposals, instructions and the pre-application webcast are on the US Forest Service Wood Innovations web page.
International Mass Timber Conference
March 30 – April 1
Local-Use Dimension Lumber Grading Workshop
May 13 (Course date is subject to change. Class may be postponed or rescheduled as a result of the most current COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.)
Location: Green Bay area (venue TBD)
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Preston Cole announced that the department’s new Chief State Forester will be Heather Berklund, effective October 12. Her office will continue to be in Rhinelander and her contact information will remain the same (phone: 608-598-9068; email: Heather.Berklund@Wisconsin.gov).
Heather brings years of on-the-ground Wisconsin forest management and fire control experience to her new position. She began her forestry career with the Wisconsin DNR in 2000, serving as a field forester in Merrill, Crandon and Mercer for more than a decade before becoming the Ashland-Iron team leader and then the Woodruff area leader in 2016. In her role as the Deputy Division Administrator of Field Operations for the past three years, Heather led the public and private lands programs, Good Neighbor Authority partnership coordination, forest certification, tax law, and fire protection programs.