State looks to expand forest products opportunities

Capital News Service
LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder’s ongoing campaign to increase the value of Michigan’s forest products industry to $20 billion annually by 2018 got a major boost with the recent announcement of a particle board manufacturing plant locating in Grayling. The plant is touted as the soon-to-be largest of its kind in North America and will bring a $325 million investment and 250 jobs to Michigan when construction is completed in 2018, according to Arauco, the Chilean company in charge of the project. Andy Such, director of regulatory and environmental policy for the Michigan Manufacturers Association, said the project represents the growth of manufacturing in the forest products sector. “The particle board plant is a good example of the kind of activity that we’re seeing now,” Such said. “It’s kind of like water dripping on a stone: It takes a while to make an impact, but we’re seeing it.”
In 2013, Snyder outlined goals for the forest products industry at a summit of business leaders, interest groups and government representatives.

Michigan’s forests underused, experts say

Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan could be getting a lot more out of its forests. Most of the state’s harvested timber is sold as logs, but more jobs and dollars could be generated by turning those forests into products such as syrup, furniture and ethanol, according to the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Initiative. “Right now we are shipping logs out of the state, and losing a lot of potential value,” said Mark Rudnicki, a professor at Michigan Technological University and executive director of the initiative. The forest initiative is a group of experts in industry, academia and state government looking to grow Michigan’s economy by promoting better use of the state’s forest resources, Rudnicki said. Michigan has 20 million acres of forest land, including 13 million privately or corporately owned, said Debbie Begalle, assistant chief of the Department of Natural Resources Forest Resources Division.