WASHINGTON- The wood industry gained special consideration in the 2014 Farm Bill, as U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $1 million program funded by the act to train architects, engineers and builders to make use of advanced wood materials in U.S. buildings. The goal is job creation, and environmental improvement.
To be run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service with the Wood Products Council’s WoodWorks initiative, the program also includes a special prize for a wood high-rise demonstrator project. Commercial wood buildings frequently reveal structural beams and panels in interior spaces, which carefully finished or paneled with laminates and veneers.
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USDA hopes to generate more jobs in rural areas processing timber and lumber for export. An estimated 1 million people are employed directly in wood processing. The White House Rural Council has launched a new Made-in-Rural America investment initiative to increasing hiring by helping businesses in rural areas reach new markets, both at home and abroad.
“The market for wood and other forest products currently supports more than 1 million direct jobs, many in rural America,” says Jennifer Cover, PE, Executive Director of WoodWorks. “As advanced wood products allow the use of wood in a greater variety of buildings—including wood high-rises—we can increase the role of forests in mitigating climate change.”
The USDA-Woodworks effort will promote wood's role in removing CO2 from the atmosphere as trees, and sequestering it in a wood building's construction. WoodWorks.org also says wood products require less fossil fuels to manufacture than steel, glass or concrete, resulting in less greenhouse gas emissions
“WoodWorks has the unique role of working closely with design and construction professionals to provide education and project support related to the use of wood in buildings,” says Christopher McIver, Chair of the Wood Products Council board and VP Lumber, Sales and Corporate Development for lumber and panel manufacturer West Fraser.
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