Forest Products News

DNR co-sponsors industry listening sessions

You are invited to participate in online public listening sessions focused on supporting, developing, and diversifying our forest products industry. The sessions are being hosted by the Wisconsin Council on Forestry in partnership with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

You may attend one or both listening sessions being held on May 6, 2021 from 2 to 4 pm and May 11, 2021 from 6 to 8 pm.
Each session will include simultaneous breakout rooms that will offer attendees an opportunity to share their input on our forest industry. Sign up in advance to attend the sessions or provide written comments here: https://wedc.org/rural-prosperity/forest-products-industry-listening-sessions/.

These listening sessions are part of a broader effort the Council on Forestry is leading, along with partners, to develop actionable initiatives leading up to a Regional Economic Diversification Summit (REDS). Through its REDS process, the U.S. Economic Development Administration works directly with stakeholders to leverage and align federal, state, and local project implementation resources for locally-identified economic development strategies and priorities.

Forest industries play a vital role in our state’s economy and the sustainable management of our forest resources. Your voice is needed now to help support Wisconsin’s forest products industry.

For more information, contact DNR Forest Products Team Leader Collin Buntrock at (608) 286-9083.

Survey Request for Webinar Topics

The DNR’s Forest Products Services team hosted a webinar in June 2020 that highlighted some of the positives of building with wood and explored the state of Wisconsin’s forest resources. To expand on that basic message, we are working on a series of future webinars that will address more specific themes within the broader theme of building with wood.

To best assess which topics potential attendees are most interested in learning about, we kindly ask that you fill out the survey linked below. We would very much appreciate you taking the time to provide feedback. We estimate that the few short questions found in the link below will take less than three minutes of your time. The survey will close on April 21, 2021.

Access the survey link here.

If you have any questions regarding the survey or webinars, contact Alex Anderson, DNR Forest Products Specialist, at  715-492-0571 or Sabina Dhungana, DNR Forest Products Specialist, at 608-220-4531.

USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers

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.

There’s More To Panels Than OSB And Plywood

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”

Federal Tax Credits Extended For Business-Scale Biomass Combined Heat and Power Systems

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”

Forest Product Services Webinar Series

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:
http://bit.ly/WiForestProductsResources

Forest products webinar series

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 logan.wells@wisconsin.gov 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.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIlc-qorjMjGtLIMl_jYAyX_FOfuODSZZ51

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. 

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMrdu2vpz0uGdzf22jJkYbE-dc4khK6csBM

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. 

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYsdO-hqD0qE90kyCpz87nx35VM4il1zGGi

Virtual platform for workforce development

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.  

Screen shot of YouTube videos

Logs to Lumber YouTube videos hosted by the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education at UW-Stevens Point.

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.

Federal grant opportunities

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.