Forest Utilization and Marketing Newsletter - Winter 2023

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A lean-to shed full of firewood in a snowy forest

This twice-yearly newsletter from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Forest Utilization and Marketing Program shares information on DNR programs, economic reports, industry news, professional development opportunities and more. If you know of an event or opportunity that may be of interest to our partners or have questions, email Forest Marketing and Outreach Specialist Brenda Haskill

In this edition:

Wood grant applications available for sawmills

Neatly organized cut wood pieces in a shop

Sawmills may apply for two grant funding opportunities available through the USDA Forest Service. The application deadline for both programs is March 23. 

Two virtual meetings, March 7 and 13, will be held by the DNR to assist grant applicants with submissions. Contact Brenda Haskill, 989-370-9557, for details.

Eligible Community Wood Grant Program projects could be used to expand sawmills with innovative technologies, cost cutting measures and higher value production lines.

Eligible Wood Innovations Grant Program projects could be used to:

  • Develop wood energy projects that use wood product or woody biomass residues.
  • Develop commercial wood product and woody biomass industrial parks.
  • Purchase wood processing equipment to create markets supporting forest management.

Contribute to State Forest Management Plan updates

Aerial image of autumn forest and river

Stakeholder meetings for forest industry partners to review and comment on the updated draft state forest management plan have been set for May. This plan directs forest management activities on state forest lands. Meetings are scheduled for May 31 in Marquette and June 1 at the Ralph A. MacMullan center on Higgins Lake, with virtual options available for any forest industry partners to participate. A separate review and comment phase will be held for the general public.

Questions? Contact Brenda Haskill, 989-370-9557. 

Annual mill survey data nearing completion

Image of a person's hand holding a pen to fill out a survey

In 2022, the DNR, in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service, sent a survey to all primary wood-using mills in Michigan. The purpose of the survey was to assess the amount of wood harvested from Michigan’s forest lands and to look at wood use trends.

The survey asked for data on  2021 operations and recipients were asked to provide an estimate of the total wood volume received, volume by species type and county of origin, and type of finished product produced. The information is helpful for promoting wood products markets in Michigan. Analysis of the data collected will be published and posted to the DNR's forest products webpage.

Of the 406 mills surveyed, 275 responded. Approximately 78% of mills that responded were operational in 2021, and approximately 85% of these were sawmills. Additionally, 27 mills responded they were closed in 2021, 33 were idle and 7 were new sawmills. 

140 attend December mass timber workshop at MSU

A Dec. 2 workshop at Michigan State University's STEM teaching facility brought together more than 140 people to learn about the status of mass timber construction in Michigan. 

Attendees could join virtually or in-person. The event highlighted mass timber architects, engineers, educators and builders, who provided short updates during the six-hour workshop. 

Demo image of new customer service center with natural wood materials

One update came from Anna Anderson, architect for Lord Aeck Sargent, the architectural firm for the new Newberry Customer Service Center. The photo shared here is the updated image of the proposed mass timber building expected to break ground in spring 2023. 

Several Forest Resources Division employees attended the event including forest marketing and outreach specialist Brenda Haskill who helped organize and run the event. The Michigan Wood Innovations Team, whose U.S. Forest Service Wood Innovations Grant provided funding for the event, also attended. Nearly 10 graduate and undergraduate students assisted in the success of the event as well including Timber Sales and Utilization Unit student Emily Thatcher. 

Sandra Lupien, Director of Mass Timber@MSU, continues to build a path in the use of mass timber construction for the state. Sandra’s energy for mass timber in Michigan contributed to the success of the event.

Want to learn more? Contact Brenda Haskill

Forest bioeconomy trade and study mission heading to Finland

Several Michigan state departments, university and industry representatives and forest industry leaders will be attending an upcoming trade and study mission to Finland. Key topics will include collaborative work with Finland, Maine, Michigan and Washington. The event will include a series of workshops focusing on smart forestry, sustainable wood products and climate solutions. Support for the mission was provided through a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki. Learn more about the trade and study mission

'Smokey's Scouts' app is all about fun and fire safety

A screenshot of the start page of Smokey's Scouts. A rustic wooden sign says "play."

From the forest to your phone, a new game – developed by a team of fire prevention partners and featuring our favorite fire safety icon, Smokey Bear – is now available. 

Players take on the role of an aspiring woodland “Smokey Scout” in a mobile matching game. Each level features increasingly tricky puzzles with a goal to help Smokey remove wildfire ignition causes like matches or sparks. Smokey trivia and fire prevention facts make appearances along the way. 

Nature lovers will recognize famous backdrops including national parks and forests. 

The Smokey’s Scouts app is available for iPhone and Android devices; learn more and download the game

American Loggers Council to join congressional fly-in

After four years, the American Loggers Council will return to Washington, D.C., for a March 22 congressional fly-in event. This is an opportunity for state association representatives to meet with congressional leaders and staff collectively and individually.

Want more information on current events through the eyes of logging professionals? Read the "As We See It" publication for insights and reflections.

Tim Biewer of Biewer Lumber appointed to second Softwood Lumber Board term

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture appointed Ricky Stanley to serve on the Softwood Lumber Board's Board of Directors. He has also reappointed Jim Neiman, Tim Biewer and Ray Ferris to serve second terms. Representation on the Board is proportional to regional production, and domestic manufacturers and importers of a variety of softwood lumber products are represented. Directors will serve a three-year term of office beginning immediately to Dec. 31, 2025. On Jan. 1, 2023, current Director Brian Luoma began his two-year term as Board Chair, taking over from outgoing Board Chair Caroline Dauzat.

Biewer is the owner and president of Michigan–based Biewer Lumber. He serves on the Softwood Lumber Board’s Industry Relations and Governance Committee. This will be his second term on the Board, representing the U.S. Northeast and Lake States.

Michigan Association of Timbermen hires Justin Knepper as executive director

Portrait of Justin Knepper. He has short dark hair, a beard, and is wearing a green "Say yes to Michigan!" shirt.

Upper Peninsula-raised Justin Knepper, a veteran of public and nonprofit management, has joined the Michigan Association of Timbermen as its new Executive Director.

The association works to promote a strong, sustainable forest industry that will provide opportunities for future generations.

Learn more about Executive Director Knepper from the Michigan Association of Timbermen

Take the American Loggers Survey by March 15

The American Loggers Council is surveying loggers and truckers for the fourth consecutive year to collect information on industry trends. Share your insights for the 2022 season to contribute to a better understanding of current needs, trends, challenges and threats to the timber industry. Learn more and take the survey by March 15

Meetings and events