Investment covers 41 states and American Samoa.

USDA invests $74 million in support of innovative wood product markets and renewable energy

USDA invests $74 million in support of innovative wood product markets and renewable energy

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U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service will invest nearly $74 million in support of innovative wood product markets and renewable energy, enhancing the wood processing industry’s capacity. This move is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and leverages funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, noted as the most significant climate investment to date.

The funding will support 171 projects across 41 states and American Samoa, focusing on forest health and boosting the local wood products economy. The initiatives like these are pivotal for economic growth in sectors dependent on sustainable resources. “The Biden-Harris administration is dedicated to propelling innovation within the wood product and energy sectors that form the economic backbone of numerous small towns, particularly those in Tribal and rural areas,” stated Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Torres Small. These projects aim to create well-paying jobs, augment manufacturing capacity for wood products, and ensure the use of sustainably sourced wood, which is vital for maintaining healthy forests and mitigating the risks of catastrophic wildfires.

Sustainable sourcing practices are intended to bolster forest health by removing dead trees and excess vegetation, thereby reducing wildfire risks, enhancing ecological balance, and supporting the economy centered around forest products.

The Forest Service’s grants will be distributed to a variety of stakeholders, including public, private, and non-profit organizations, through the Wood Innovations Grant, Community Wood Grant, and Wood Products Infrastructure Assistance Grant Programs. The grants are designed to fuel demand and foster innovative applications for sustainably sourced wood. Among the funded initiatives are projects to convert school heating systems to biomass boilers, the installation of advanced machinery in sawmills and processing facilities to heighten efficiency, and the development of new housing solutions using mass timber.

Additionally, more than $7 million will be directed towards 10 projects proposed by Tribes, enhancing the capabilities of Tribally owned enterprises and reinforcing the agency’s commitment to improving nation-to-nation relations and Tribal consultations.