Organization Name: Minnesota Forest Industries
What industry/sector do you identify with? Forest products
Number of employees, member patrons, growers, shareholders etc. in Minnesota:
32,000 Direct employees in the sector; 84,000 direct, indirect and induced employees.
What about your organization or company’s work are you most proud of?
The forest products industry provides good-paying jobs in some of the most economically disadvantaged counties in rural northern Minnesota. We are also the vehicle by which Minnesota’s forests are sustainably managed for ecological and social values, including clean water, healthy soils, wildlife habitat, biodiversity and carbon management.
Please highlight key trends affecting your industry.
This is a global industry and there are several factors used to evaluate Minnesota’s competitiveness compared to competing states and countries. This state has low forest productivity, high raw material costs, high industrial energy rates, high taxation rates and an aging workforce compared to virtually all competing states.
In the short term, we are most concerned about fiber supply and future workforce. On the positive side, recent focus on the role our forests can play in absorbing and storing atmospheric carbon to address climate change can improve public perceptions and acceptance of active forest management.
Talk about the key opportunities & challenges facing your business over the next 5 years.
We have the opportunity for growth in the industry, which will increase jobs and economic impact. But it also creates the challenge to produce more raw materials for all mills. We need to secure more timber from private lands and national forests to meet the increased need over the next 5 years. We also need to ensure that we have enough trained professional loggers and truckers to produce and haul those materials to mills.