Separate efforts are underway by the Unified Hardwood Promotion (UHP) and the ad hoc Blue Ribbon Committee on Hardwood Check-off (BRC) to promote the use of hardwoods for everything from furniture to windows.
In promoting the "American hardwood" brand, the UHP ‚ a coalition of industry associations and individual companies ‚ has developed a new logo which includes three hardwood leaves: maple, oak and ash. That, along with the tagline “Treasured for Generations,” is said by the group to represent the American hardwood industry, from forest to finished product.
“This unique effort combines the best practices of more than 20 hardwood trade associations and leading product manufacturers who have come together with the common goal of inspiring increased usage of American Hardwoods in products from cabinetry to furniture to flooring,” Terry Brennan of Baillie Lumber, chairman of the UHP, said in a recent statement.
Industry associations involved in the campaign include: Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc., Hardwood Distributors Assn., Hardwood Manufacturers Assn., Hardwood Council, Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Assn., National Hardwood Lumber Assn., National Wood Flooring Assn., Penn York Lumberman’s Club, Wood Component Manufacturers Assn. and Wood Products Manufacturers Assn. According to UHP, the American Hardwood Export Council will assist in promotion efforts in export markets and the Hardwood Federation is helping the UHP with administrative functions.
Based on research, the UHP said in a release, "more than 90 percent of consumers prefer hardwood as a material for furniture, flooring, cabinets or building materials. More than 90 percent of respondents also agree that the strongest impressions of hardwoods relate to the durability and longevity of the material, and the ability to create a classic look that never goes out of style. Surprising to some was the fact that consumers 45 and under showed a marked preference for hardwoods."
The group added that it hopes to garner further support by industry and reinforce the American hardwoods message through outreach efforts including online and social media, print and trade show promotions.
Check-Off Program Could Add Revenues
If successful, an industry-led proposed hardwood "check-off" program could help the UHP gain additional funding for promotion. The ad-hoc group BRC is seeking approval for the commodity marketing program to help fund the promotion of American hardwood lumber and plywood products.
Check-off programs are collective marketing efforts by producers to promote specific products. Currently, there are a number for the meat and dairy industries ‚ the new "Pork: Be Inspired," "Beef: It's What's for Dinner," "Got Milk" and "The Incredible, Edible Egg" ‚ but none currently exist for forest products, though the softwood industry is expected to vote on an initiative in early spring.
The development of the hardwood check-off program is being funded by members of the BRC and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment). According to a release by the Endowment, the hardwood check-off "is proposed to include sawmills producing green lumber as well as kiln drying operations with annual sales greater than $2 million and hardwood plywood manufacturers with greater than 10 million square feet of production." The group said it expects the process to take 18 months, including time for public comment (via the Federal Register) and voting. Following approval, the program will be administered by the industry in co-operation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "to ensure that check-off monies go only for authorized research and promotion programs."
"The American hardwood industry is comprised of literally thousands of small- to medium-sized operations scattered across all forested regions of the U.S.," BRC Co-Chair Ted Rossi, Rossi Lumber Group, said in a statement. "Our diverse industry produces some of the most beautiful and desirable wood products available, but we've never mounted a sustained research, education and promotion program to ensure consumers are armed with information about the many performance, environmental and economic benefits they provide. A hardwood check-off program will be a game changer for our future."
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