Marketing Sustainable Wood Products
Former SARE project coordinator James Finley wrote, “Well managed forests produce many environmental and economic benefits such as improved air and water quality, wood products, recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat. Farmers are one of the largest groups of forest owners in the U.S making it essential that farmers wisely use and manage their forests.” Tom McMillin of Kellogg, MN believes that producers and woodland owners should have a choice to uphold the woodland area and receive the economic benefits that are available to them.
With the help from a 2001 SARE grant, Tom’s project goals were to create a well-known market for grown and harvested wood and also to expand the producer’s awareness of the opportunities that are available to them, primarily through membership in Hiawatha Sustainable Woods Cooperative.
Through McMillin’s SARE project, a marketing committee of eight individuals met on a regular basis to create a strategic marketing plan for sustainable wood products. The committee generated a website and logo to help promote the value-added manufactured products. The committee members worked with Western Dairyland Economic Council to find ways to improve the communication between producers and consumers and also to maintain an effective business plan.
Through regular scheduled field days, cooperative work projects and newsletters, forest owners were able to share their experience and knowledge with each other and also with those who may not be familiar with the sustainable forestry practices and their products.