By: The Working Forest Staff
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that domestic manufacturers and importers of softwood lumber have voted overwhelmingly to continue the efforts of the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB).
In the referendum conducted by USDA from April 17 to May 14, 2018, to determine the future of the softwood lumber industry’s market promotion check-off known as the Softwood Lumber Board, a super-majority of manufacturing and importing companies established a strong new mandate to advance the program for another term.
In a notice to the trade issued today (May 23, 2018), USDA reported that 78 percent of companies participating in the referendum representing 94 percent of volume voted to continue the program. For comparison, when the program began in 2011, 67 percent of voting companies and 80 percent of voting volume, respectively, voted to establish the program.
This super-majority mandate to continue the program reflects strong industry confidence in the diligence, determination, and effectiveness of the SLB and its staff to increase market demand for softwood lumber by supporting pro-wood communications (Think Wood and Wood, Naturally), code and standards expansion (American Wood Council), educating and assisting architects, engineers and construction specifiers (WoodWorks), and supporting innovative new applications and markets for softwood lumber products.
Commenting on the vote, Marc Brinkmeyer, Chairman of Idaho Forest Group and Chairman of the SLB said, “This vote shows the softwood lumber industry’s strong support for a nation-wide promotion program. The vote affirms the industry’s view that the Softwood Lumber Board is an effective investment vehicle to grow the market for the benefit of all producers.”
George Emmerson, President & CEO of Sierra-Pacific Industries, said, “The industry has realized that we all have common competitors in the form of other building materials. The SLB has unified the industry’s efforts to compete in the marketplace – something that none of us can do acting individually.”
“With these changes, the SLB is ready to move to ‘version 2.0’ and expand its activities to take advantage of new trends to more off-site construction and factory-built housing, the opportunities awaiting with mass timber applications and expansion to off-shore markets. We are poised to build on our strong and successful campaign results of the last six years to ensure that softwood lumber is the material of choice not only in residential construction but also non-residential market segments.” said Don Kayne, President & CEO of Canfor and Chair of the SLB Programs Committee.