Campaign 2024 is in Full Swing

As everyone is aware, 2024 is an election year. Every one of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives is up for grabs, as are 34 Senate seats. Returning members, their opponents, and candidates running for open seats will hit the campaign trail trying to speak to as many constituents as possible. If you run into a 2024 hopeful, the Hardwood Federation has talking points on multiple topics you can access.

The Farm Bill includes a forestry title that impacts the U.S. hardwood industry in multiple ways; it is reauthorized every five years. The bill was scheduled for action last year, but was deferred until 2024. Below are several key legislative items related to the Farm Bill that the Hardwood Federation supports. Many of these were initiated in 2023 and will continue this year. In most cases, we already have provided recommendations and language to make sure hardwood is included and reflected in program benefits. Still, we need your voice to support Hardwood Federation requests we already have sent to House and Senate offices to include these measures as part of the final Farm Bill package.

Please encourage candidates to support the following potential provisions in the Farm Bill:

Hardwood Export Promotion Funding – Securing funding for export programs that support the hardwood industry is always at the top of our Farm Bill list. The Hardwood Federation strongly supports the bipartisan Agriculture Export Promotion Act of 2023, which would essentially double the funding for the MAP and FMD programs that fund American Hardwood Export Council operations. Budget constraints will make it tough for doubled funding to pass, but the federation continues to advocate aggressively for continued funding for both programs at increased or current levels.

Timber Innovation for Building Rural Communities Act – This bipartisan, bicameral bill, sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Reps. Andrea Salinas (D-OR), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA), and John Duarte (R-CA) could be folded into a final Farm Bill. The proposal includes several positive provisions for the industry, including establishing a USDA platform measuring, collecting, and sharing data related to the carbon benefits of wood products and recognizing the value of carbon reduction and environmental benefits of wood in building design and furnishings in USDA grant programs.

Jobs in the Woods Act – This fall, Senate and House members introduced the bipartisan “Jobs in the Woods Act.” (H.R. 5344, S. 3063), a bill that would provide education grants ranging in size from $500,000 to $2 million to promote jobs in the understaffed timber industry and U.S. Forest Service. Legislative champions include Reps. Lori Chavez-Deremer (R-OR) and Gluesenkamp-Perez (D-WA) on the House side, and Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and James Risch (R-ID).

Be on the lookout for Hardwood Federation e-mails and texts providing additional opportunities to reach out directly to your members of Congress on these and other legislative actions. Visit hardwoodfederation.com for a link to send a letter to your member of Congress.

Another bill that potentially could be included in the Farm Bill is the Hardwood Access and Development Program. In an important milestone for the hardwood sector, Reps. Tom Tiffany (R-WI) and Annie Kuster (D-NH) have sponsored HR 6880, the Hardwood Products Access and Development Program (HAP) bill in the House.

  • The program would support research efforts related to the environmental and health benefits of domestically produced hardwood products.
  • Eligible entities include non-profit organizations serving the U.S. hardwood sector (including the Real American Hardwood Coalition and other hardwood-focused associations), universities, and research organizations.
  • Research related to the environmental and health benefits of domestic hardwood products, research related to consumer attitudes and knowledge of hardwood products, promotion of research to the public and potential consumers, and demonstration projects highlighting environmental and health benefits of hardwood products all are included as potential activities related to the HAP.
  • Up to $25 million over five years in funding is included in the bill language.
United States presidential election in 2024. Wooden cubes with text VOTE and 2024 over the American flag background
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We are very pleased to have a House bill and now are focused on getting a companion bill in the Senate, which will be necessary for even a chance of getting the bill folded into the Farm Bill. Ask current Senate members to sponsor a companion bill and ask House members to add their names as co-sponsors. Visit hardwoodfederation.com for a link to send a letter to your member of Congress.

Be on the lookout for Hardwood Federation e-mails and texts providing additional opportunities to reach out directly to your members of Congress on these and other legislative actions. Check out our website for information on all the key issues we are tracking.

Dana Lee Cole is the executive director at the Hardwood Federation, a Washington, D.C.-based hardwood industry trade association that represents thousands of hardwood businesses in every state in the United States and acts as the industry advocacy voice on Capitol Hill. She can be reached at dana.cole@hardwoodfederation.com.

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