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Forest Products Industries Poised for Promotion

January 04, 2014
Author: LeAndra Spicer
The message that forest products industries must better work to promote their products to consumers was an overarching theme of 2013. This year, companies appear positioned to do just that. A program to promote paper products has been approved, and one for hardwood lumber products may soon follow.

Paper Check-Off Approved

In November, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced 85 percent of paper and paper-based packaging companies and 95 percent of the industry production of four covered grades voted to approve a Paper Check-Off program. The new program will fund the promotion, education and research of printing and writing papers, Kraft packaging paper, containerboard, and paperboard.

About the program, Paper Check-Off Panel Chairman and President and CEO of Domtar John Williams said, “The Paper Check-off will allow us to inform consumers of the sustainable products we make and the responsible manner in which we make them.”

The USDA issued the program for public comment in January 2013, and followed-up with the second proposed rule, allowing covered companies to vote on the proposal, in September. Going forward, a 12-member board will administer the $25 million program.

An assessment of 35 cents per short ton will be incurred by companies that produce or import 100,000 short tons or more of the covered grades on an annual basis.

Hardwood Check-Off Proposed

A check-off program for hardwood lumber products was also proposed in November 2013. The recommended Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Order will serve to generate funds for the promotion and research of hardwood products. The program will also provide a means for hardwood products to better compete with interests and industries that aim to take hardwood market share.

To fund the program, sawmill operators and kiln drying yards with annual sales greater than $2 million will be assessed $1 for every $1,000 in sales. Plywood mills with more than $10 million in annual production will pay $3 per $1,000 of production. The check-off fee will apply to lumber, cants and railroad ties produced from hardwood logs grown in the United States.

The proposed rule is available for review through the U.S. Government Printing Office. Those who wish to comment on the proposed rule may do so at the Office of the Federal Register’s website. The comment period will close on Monday, January 13.

Following the public comment period, a referendum vote of eligible companies will occur. If approved, the Secretary of Agriculture will appoint a board representative of the hardwood industry to oversee the program. An approved program may be active by late this year.

Softwood Lumber Board Members Appointed

Three new members began a three-year term on the Softwood Lumber Board effective January 1, 2014. The new board members include :

  • Charles W. Roady, manufacturer representing the U.S. West
  • Danny White, manufacturer representing the U.S. South
  • Don Kayne, importer representing the Canada West region

They are joined by three existing board members reappointed to a second term.

  • Aubra Anthony, Jr., manufacturer representing the U.S. South
  • Alden J. Robbins, manufacturer representing the U.S. Northeast and Lake States
  • Francisco Figueroa representing all importing countries with the exception of Canada

The Softwood Lumber Board administers the Softwood Lumber Check-Off program. Together with the USDA, the Board collects assessments from US manufacturers and importers and uses those assessments to promote softwood lumber in US markets.

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