The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing funding support for a variety of wood projects through USDA Forest Service programs. The goal is to expand the use of wood products, bolster wood energy markets, and safeguard community forests. USDA has awarded more than $15 million in grant funding for a variety of projects. Forest Service awards will also leverage an additional $30 million in matching and partner funds. A total of 60 projects will receive funding support for a variety of different activities.
“To manage wildfire and address climate, we need to manage our forests. Today’s investments underpin USDA’s commitment to address the climate crisis with a market-based approach that begins to move us toward a clean energy economy, led by production of renewable fuel and energy and biobased products grown and manufactured here in the U.S.,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “The American Jobs Plan and USDA’s budget request for 2022 make sure the Forest Service can prioritize forest management and restoration.”
Twenty-eight wood projects have been awarded funding through the Wood Innovations Grant program. Some of the projects will help expand markets and species options for mass timber. Some of the projects awarded funding through the Community Wood Grant program include the development of a biochar plant, firewood kiln, and pole peeler to expand a forest products facility. Another 10 projects are also being supported through the Community Forest Program to conserve working forests that benefit communities.
“We are placing emphasis on assisting wood energy facilities in economically challenged areas to retool or add advanced technology to replace systems that are inefficient or fueled by fossil fuels,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “The grants will also expand markets for cross-laminated timber in commercial and multi-family housing, which supports the important connection to healthy forests and manufacturing in rural communities.”