Eight Montana wood entities share $5M in federal funding
SmartLam mass timber construction

SmartLam North America, a manufacturer of cross laminated timber based in Columbia Falls, Mont., received a $1 million Wood Products Infrastructure Assistance Grant from the USDA Forest Service.

Photo By SmartLam North America

MISSOULA, Mont. — the USDA Forest Service is investing more than $5 million in eight proposals to increase the capacity of Montana-based wood processing facilities and expand markets for wood products.

The Forest Service’s investments are part of a broader $73.9 million in nationwide investments to support the wood products economy and healthy forests. They are made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and annual appropriations. 

Projects benefitting from the funding include sawmill refurbishment with advanced scanning technology, upgrades to existing operations in firewood processing, post and pole production, and cross-laminated timber manufacturing. Funding also supports the development of a mass timber building, showcasing this sustainable construction method.

Wood Innovations Grant funded projects include:

  • Kanduch Logging - $229,973
  • Panhandle Forest Products - $300,000
  • Montana Technology Enterprise Center - $300,000

Wood Products Infrastructure Assistance Grant funded projects include:

  • California Hotwood - $189,045
  • Sun Mountain Lumber - $1,000,000
  • Stillwater Post and Pole - $1,000,000
  • SmartLam North America - $1,000,000
  • Panhandle Forest Products - $1,000,000

"Across the Northern Region, we all know the value of our forests – they provide jobs, resources, and a way of life for many communities," said Regional Forester Leanne Marten. "By investing in wood product manufacturing and wood energy, we're helping create good jobs and strengthening our economies, while taking care of our forests. Sustainable sourcing keeps our forests healthy and bolsters their resilience to wildfire."

"Sustainable wood products are a climate-friendly solution," said Julie Kies, regional wood and biomass lead. “In constructing our built environment – manmade infrastructure and buildings – wood products store carbon, have lower lifecycle emissions than other materials, and can provide renewable energy. Local processing facilities are key partners in providing these wood products. By investing in the forest product industry, we strengthen both our environment and the communities that call it home.”


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Rich Christianson | President/Owner/C-Level

Rich Christianson is the owner of Richson Media LLC, a Chicago-based communications firm focused on the industrial woodworking sector. Rich is the former long-time editorial director and associate publisher of Woodworking Network. During his nearly 35-year career, Rich has toured more than 250 woodworking operations throughout North America, Europe and Asia and has written extensively on woodworking technology, design and supply trends. He has also directed and promoted dozens of woodworking trade shows, conferences and seminars including the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo and the Woodworking Machinery & Supply Conference & Expo, Canada’s largest woodworking show.