Strengthening The State’s Hardwood Industry

There’s a new bill in Congress that aims to support domestic hardwood products. Wisconsin manufacturers are hopeful it will pass through.

The bill would create a Hardwood Products Access and Development Program. This program would give grants to fund research to show consumers the health and environmental benefits of products, such as flooring and cabinets.

Kretz Lumber Company in Antigo would stand to benefit. President Troy Brown says the industry has a problem reaching consumers. He says this would resolve the disconnect by spotlighting the benefits of real wood.

“Consumers around the world express a strong preference for U.S. hardwood home finishings and furnishings but are often confused by the mixed messages they receive from non-sustainable competitor products,” Brown says. “The Hardwood Products Access and Development Program Act will put important data into the hands of decision-makers and allow them to make the best choices for their homes and the environment.”

Specifically, the legislation permits USDA to authorize research grants that support end-user information on the benefits of hardwood products. This will allow nonprofits, universities, and others to research the low carbon footprint and sustainability of domestically produced hardwood products. It will also allow those organizations to educate the public on the benefits of these products.

Wisconsin Congressman Tom Tiffany is one of the authors of the legislation. He says the price tag is about $5 million. He told Mid-West Farm Report he hopes to include it in the Farm Bill.