At a mid-August visit to Besse Forest Products Group facility in Gladstone, Gov. Rick Snyder announced the forest-product industry goal has been achieved two years ahead of the 2018 target.
“Aided by the leadership of the Timber Advisory Council and support from many partners, Michigan’s forest products industry has become an integral part of Michigan’s reinvention and continues to drive growth for rural economies throughout the state,” said Snyder.
Since 2012, jobs in the state’s forest industry has grown by 12 percent, according to the forest products industries economic update for 2016compiled by Larry Leefers at Michigan State University’s Department of Forestry. The report cites:
• 4 percent increase during last four years in exports
• Forest product industries jobs have grown to make up 5.5 percent of the state’s manufacturing jobs
• Over one-third of forest-product industries jobs are located in Upper Peninsula
“The state will continue to collaborate with industry leaders to keep this positive momentum going and to further boost exports of quality Michigan forest products,” said Keith Creagh, director, Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Across the state, the forest products industry employs more than 96,600 people in diverse positions – from loggers and truck drivers in rural areas to furniture and cabinetry makers in more urban settings. In the Upper Peninsula, the forest products industry alone is responsible for one-third of all manufacturing jobs.
In addition to job creation, industry leaders are working to create a healthy, sustainable forest – one that can support wildlife and outdoor recreation pursuits, as well as a booming timber industry.
Scott Robbins, director of public affairs and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative for the Michigan Forest Products Council, said that for more than 20 years, most of the forest industry has been operating under several forest certification systems.
“Through internal, external and third-party audits, we now have the data to be able to document that our operations are truly sustainable and enhance water, soils, wildlife and forest ecology,” Robbins said.
This month, Arauco, an international wood products manufacturing company, will break ground on a new facility in Grayling. The plant is a $325 million investment for the company and is projected to bring more than 250 jobs to the community.
Find out more about Michigan’s forest products industry at www.michigan.gov/forestproducts.