Forest Products News

International Wood Buyers Visit Wisconsin

By Scott Lyon, DNR Forest Products Specialist

From May 30 to June 2, 2023, eight wood buyers from Mexico, India, Thailand and Taiwan participated in an inbound trade mission that visited ten lumber manufacturers around the state. This event was hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and New North, Inc., and was sponsored by the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

While visiting the Wisconsin manufacturers, the buyers learned about sustainable forest management practices, the wood species and types of forest products manufactured here in the state, and how the products could meet their existing market demand in their own country. In addition to visiting Wisconsin lumber manufacturers, the buyers were treated to a reception at the Menominee Casino in Keshena where additional lumber manufacturers from around the state were able to meet them and market their products. Menominee Tribal Enterprises was the host company during this event and provided the attendees with an overview of their tribal history, sawmill and forest management practices.  Continue reading “International Wood Buyers Visit Wisconsin”

Timber Prices: Supply and Demand

By Ram Dahal, DNR Forest Economist

Timber prices are the dollar values paid to a landowner for the right to harvest by loggers or timber buyers. Timber pricing is important as it not only defines the value of the timberland but also as a driving factor for timberland investments. Therefore, an understanding of how timber prices are set is foundational for both buyers and sellers of stumpage.

In principle, the price offered for timber depends on the interaction between the supply and demand components of a market. In the context of a timber sale, demand refers to a logger or timber buyer’s desire to purchase timber and willingness to pay for it. In most circumstances, wood-consuming mills are the primary drivers of timber demand. On the other hand, supply refers to the total amount of a timber that is available to the marketplace. Forestland owners are the primary drivers of timber supply. Continue reading “Timber Prices: Supply and Demand”

Wisconsin DNR Begins State Nursery Biochar Trial

By Brian Zweifel, DNR Forest Products Specialist

What is Biochar?

Biochar is basically just charcoal with a special mission, to be used in the soil. The U.S. Biochar Initiative (USBI) defines it as “carbonized biomass obtained from sustainable sources and sequestered in soils to sustainably enhance their agricultural and environmental value under present and future management.” 

Microscopic structure of biochar.

Microscopic structure of biochar. / Photo Credit: U.K. Biochar Research Centre

Biomass, such as unmerchantable wood waste, is transformed into this carbon-rich material in a low oxygen environment, cooking most non-carbon materials out of it and leaving the material’s basic structure intact. This carbon skeleton is what gives biochar many of its desirable properties. 

The former vessels and pores in the plant material are now able to adsorb nutrients and water before they can move below the rooting zone. This helps reduce nutrient leaching into groundwater and plant water stress by keeping them available in the rooting zone. This structure also has a high cation exchange capacity, making biochar very effective at binding pollutants like mercury and other heavy metals found in urban/industrial areas. 

An added benefit of using biochar in degraded soils is that it is great at providing protected spaces for beneficial soil microbes. Fungal hyphae and bacteria readily colonize biochar particles, which provides protection from adverse conditions and helps improve soil health. Another very promising attribute of biochar is that it is a very stable and long-lived form of soil carbon. Studies in the Amazon Basin have found evidence of charcoal (biochar) used by indigenous groups to improve the heavily leached soils that date back several hundred to thousands of years ago. The discovery of this “terra preta,” or literally “black soil” in Portuguese, was the spark that started researchers looking into the long-lived nature of biochar, its ability to improve soil health, and the possibility of using it to sequester carbon in soils for centuries. A wide variety of scientific trials are underway across the globe, including right here in Wisconsin. Continue reading “Wisconsin DNR Begins State Nursery Biochar Trial”

Forest Products Training and Events

Lake States Lumber Association (LSLA) – Railroad Tie Manufacturing Workshop

Tuesday, Sept. 12
Stony Creek Resort, Onalaska, WI
The workshop will cover the basics of tie grading, log selection, log and tie processing, and sawmill considerations. A hands-on grading exercise and discussion will also be included. For more information and to register, visit the LSLA education webpage.

LSLA Hardwood Lumber Grading

Oct. 24-26
Northcentral Technical College, Antigo, WI
The course is open to everyone interested in lumber grading. For complete details, including the topics that will be covered in the course, list of area hotels and registration link, please see the following website:

LSLA Sawing, Edging And Trimming

Oct. 27
Menominee Tribal Enterprises, Neopit, WI
This course will cover the basics of NHLA grading rules, sawing for recovery, and edging and trimming requirements. To register for the course, please see the following website:

USDA Forest Service Accepting Grant Applications For Wood Innovations Projects, Community Wood Energy Facilities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced it will offer $41 million through the 2023 Wood Innovations Grant and 2023 Community Wood Grant programs to spark innovation and create new markets for wood products and renewable wood energy.

These grants expand wood products use and strengthen emerging wood energy markets, supporting sustainable forest management – particularly in areas of high wildfire risk.

The application deadline for both grant programs is Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 5 p.m. local time. Applications may be submitted via email to the Forest Service Regional Wood Innovations coordinator listed in the application instructions. Continue reading “USDA Forest Service Accepting Grant Applications For Wood Innovations Projects, Community Wood Energy Facilities”

Forest Products Training/Event Calendar

Sustainable Forestry Conference
Wednesday, April 19

Keyes Peak Ski Lodge, Florence, WI
For additional information about the conference and registration details, please visit this website. 

Wisconsin Local Use Dimension Lumber Grading
Thursday, May 11

Kemp Natural Resources Station, Woodruff, WI
To register for this course, please visit this site

Wisconsin Local Use Dimension Lumber Grading
Tuesday, August 15

Kemp Natural Resources Station, Woodruff, WI
To register for this course, please visit this site

Wisconsin Forests – Rooted In Our Lives, Rooted In Our Economy

By Kelly Martinson, Program and Policy Coordinator, DNR Forest Products Team

Governor Tony Evers proclaimed the third week in October as Forest Products Week in Wisconsin to recognize forests’ essential role in the state’s environment and economy. This week celebrates Wisconsinites who work in the forest products industry while considering the many ways forest products can improve our lives. Forest Products Week also highlights Wisconsinites working in and caring for our state’s forest land. Continue reading “Wisconsin Forests – Rooted In Our Lives, Rooted In Our Economy”

Local-Use Lumber Grading Course Changing Administration

UW-Stevens Point’s Wisconsin Forestry Center is taking over the administrative component of the Wisconsin Local Use Dimension Lumber grading course from the Wisconsin DNR’s Forest Products Services team. The DNR will continue to teach the course and handle specific inquiries regarding the content of the course, but registration for upcoming courses and re-certifications for previous attendees will be handled by the Wisconsin Forestry Center.

Information regarding upcoming lumber grading courses will be available on the Wisconsin Forestry Center’s website. The DNR’s Forest Products Services “Training and Events Calendar” webpage will also continue to post links to the registration for upcoming courses. The transition of administrative duties from the DNR to Wisconsin Forestry Center is expected to be completed this summer.

Forest Products Calendar of Events

Kiln Drying Short Course: Drying Quality Lumber – Aug. 17-19, 2022

Great Lakes Kiln Drying Association will be offering a Kiln Drying Short Course in Antigo, Wisconsin, Aug. 17-19, 2022. This workshop is packed with valuable and important information for kiln operators and managers. The variety and quality of the information make this a must attend event. The workshop will focus on drying systems, controlling lumber quality, species specific drying, wood structure and drying science. Over twenty breakout topics will be covered to help you maintain a successful kiln operation.
For more information and to register, visit:

Forest Products Sales Workshop – Aug. 25, 2022

LSLA Education will be offering a one-day Forest Products Sales Workshop on Aug. 25, 2022, in Woodruff, Wisconsin. Those attending this training session will learn about the forest products industry, how personal selling fits into the overall marketing function, the basics of personal selling, and methods of identifying new customers. The course is designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of sales personnel. It is intended for new sales and marketing personnel or those wishing to improve their sales skills.
For more information and to register, visit:

GLTPA Logging Congress – Sept. 8-10, 2022

The Great Lakes Logging & Heavy Equipment Expo is a 3-day expo happening Sept. 8-10 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. More than 300 indoor and outdoor exhibitors attend each year to showcase the best of the best when it comes to Log Splitters, Portable Sawmills, Compact Tractors & Logging Equipment, Chainsaw Carving, Wood/Pellet Stove Dealers and more.
For more information, visit: