Story from Business Facilities magazine, March/April 2019
By Donna Clapp
Indiana is renowned for producing high quality hardwood timber, yet more than $230 million of sawmill products are coming from outside the state,” said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch. “With demand there and our robust, sustainable forest resource base, we want to provide that supply chain link and help capture some of that economic activity in Indiana.”
Crouch made that statement at the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association’s annual convention in February, officially unveiling the new Indiana Hardwood Strategy, aimed at expanding and attracting new hardwood processing facilities to Indiana.
According to a recent study, the hardwoods industry contributes more than $10 billion to the state’s economy and supports over 70,000 high-wage jobs. The value of Indiana’s hardwood exports totaled over $250 million in 2017, with the state’s top two export markets in this industry being China and Canada. Exports of both lumber and wood-based products such as wood veneers and paperboard products has increased in the past decade. On top of that, the wood industry is supported by many other types of companies, such that for every dollar invested in a finished wood product, an additional 80 cents is generated by companies that support the production process. The study also showed that the industry supports job growth in many other industry sectors so for every 10 jobs directly related to hardwoods an additional eight jobs are supported.
“I was really happy to see that the study shed a light on Southern Indiana to recognize the value of this region for the state’s economy and the importance of the hardwoods in terms of the area’s economic impact,” said Joseph Henson, CEO of the Dubois Rural Electric Cooperative (REC), a member of Hoosier Energy, a generation and transmission cooperative.