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USDA invests $5 million to strengthen Montana wood products
[May 20, 2024]

The USDA Forest Service announced it is investing more than $5 million in eight proposals across Montana to increase the capacity of wood processing facilities and expand markets for wood products. The investments are part of a broader $73.9 million in nationwide investments to support the wood products economy and healthy forests and are made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and annual appropriations.

¡°Across the Northern Region, we all know the value of our forests ¨C they provide jobs, resources, and a way of life for many communities,¡± said Regional Forester Leanne Marten. ¡°By investing in wood product manufacturing and wood energy, we¡¯re helping create good jobs and strengthening our economies, while taking care of our forests. Sustainable sourcing keeps our forests healthy and bolsters their resilience to wildfire.¡±

The wood products economy is vital to the health of the forests in the Northern Region.­ Sustainably sourcing materials for wood products directly supports efforts to improve forest health. Removing dead trees and overgrown vegetation reduces wildfire risk, improves forest health, and creates wildlife habitat, all while supporting the forest products economy.

Across the Northern Region, investments are targeted towards innovation and efficiency in the wood products industry. Projects include sawmill refurbishment with advanced scanning technology, upgrades to existing operations in firewood processing, post and pole production, and cross-laminated timber manufacturing. Notably, funding also supports the development of a mass timber building, showcasing this sustainable construction method.

¡°Sustainable wood products are a climate-friendly solution,¡± said Julie Kies, Regional

Wood and Biomass Lead. ¡°In constructing our built environment ¨C manmade infrastructure and buildings ¨C wood products store carbon, have lower lifecycle emissions than other materials, and can provide renewable energy. Local processing facilities are key partners in providing these wood products. By investing in the forest product industry, we strengthen both our environment and the communities that call it home.¡±

Wood Innovations Grant funded projects:

Kanduch Logging $229,973

Panhandle Forest Products $300,000

Montana Technology Enterprise Center $300,000

Wood Products Infrastructure Assistance Grant funded projects:

California Hotwood, Inc $189,045

Sun Mountain Lumber, Inc $1,000,000

Stillwater Post and Pole LLC $1,000,000

SmartLam NA Enterprises US, LLC $1,000,000

Panhandle Forest Products Inc $1,000,000

Visit the Forest Service website for more information on funding for the Wood Innovations, Community Wood and Wood Products Infrastructure Assistance Grant Programs.

Source: fs.usda.gov