December 2, 2021

USDA awards $ 15 million in grants to develop wood products, wood energy markets and community forests

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Friday granted more than $ 15 million to fund grant proposals to develop and expand the use of wood products, strengthen emerging wood energy markets and protect community forests. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement Friday in Colorado during a tour of prescribed burn and wildfire recovery areas adjacent to the landscape of the Roosevelt National Forest in the northern Colorado Front. Tidy.

Grant funding, provided through USDA Forest Service programs, will support 60 projects that span a wide range of activities from affordable housing development to expanding markets for lumber, biochar , wood energy and other emerging wood products. The grants also include funds to help tribes, local governments and qualified nonprofits to permanently conserve logged forests for the benefit of communities.

The Forest Service awards will leverage an additional $ 30 million in counterpart and partner funds, bringing the totals to well above $ 45 million.

“To manage forest fires and fight the climate, we need to manage our forests. Today’s investments underpin USDA’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis with a market-based approach that begins to steer us toward a clean energy economy, driven by fuel production. and renewable energy and bio-based products grown and manufactured here in the United States, ”said Vilsack. “The US Jobs Plan and USDA Budget Request for 2022 ensure that the forest service can prioritize forest management and restoration. “

“We are focusing on helping woodfuel installations in economically disadvantaged areas to retool or add advanced technology to replace inefficient or fossil-fueled systems. Said Vicki Christiansen, head of the forest service. “The grants will also expand markets for cross-laminated timber in commercial and multi-family housing, supporting the important link with healthy forests and manufacturing in rural communities.”

Grants for wood innovations

The Forest Service Wood Innovations Grant program awards for fiscal 2021 include $ 8.9 million for 44 projects in 23 states and Puerto Rico. Twenty-one of the projects focus on solid timber and cross-laminated timber. These projects will address critical needs for expanding markets and species options (hemlock, ponderosa pine, white fir), improve structural performance, increase education and awareness, and promote the design and construction of highly developed buildings. visible.

Seven of the projects will focus on developing affordable housing using solid wood as a major building component to support equity, economic opportunities and climate change priorities. Other projects focus on developing markets for emerging wood products like biochar and cellulosic nanomaterials, and supporting the installation of new woodfuel systems. A complete list of Wood Innovations Grant recipients is available now on the Forest Service website.

Community subsidies for wood

The Forest Service Community Wood Grant program awards for fiscal year 2021 include $ 2.1 million to support six ready-to-go projects in six states. Launched in the 2018 Farm Bill, the grant program helps finance the costs of installing wood-based energy systems and building innovative facilities for wood products in rural communities across the country. The winners will use locally sourced wood to reduce energy costs and the use of fossil fuels while supporting sustainable forest management.

These grants also support innovative wood product manufacturing facilities that manufacture products like building components and other products made from low-value or low-quality wood.

Two of the community lumber grants are awarded to DCI Furniture, Inc. in New Hampshire and Arizona Log & Timber Works, LLC in Arizona. DCI Furniture will use the funds to install a new wood-fired boiler to produce heat and electricity at a furniture factory. Arizona Log & Timber Words will use the funds to build a biochar plant, firewood kiln and pole peeler to expand a forest products factory. A complete list of Community Wood Grant recipients is available now on the Forest Service website.

Community forestry grants

Forest Service Community Forest Program awards for fiscal year 2021 include $ 4 million to support 10 projects in nine states. Grants include financial assistance to local governments, Indian tribes, and qualified non-profit organizations to create, expand, and improve community-owned and managed forests. Project work will help communities acquire and maintain forests that provide public access and recreation opportunities, protect vital water supplies and wildlife habitat, serve as demonstration sites for private forest owners, and provide economic benefits from wood and non-wood products.

Since 2012, the program has supported 88 community projects in 25 states and territories and has permanently conserved more than 24,000 acres.

Visit the Forest Service website for a complete list of projects and organizations receiving grants under the Community Forests Program.

The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the American food system with a greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe food, healthy and nutritious in all communities, creating new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in communities rural America, and a commitment to equity throughout the department by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce that is more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.


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