Hardwood Federation Shares Latest Farm Bill Framework

On June 10, Senate Agriculture Committee staff reached out to the Hardwood Federation to brief them on a Farm Bill framework scheduled to be released the following day by Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR). In the Senate, this is the most important step forward on the farm bill front since Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) outlined the democrat framework on May 1.

While the legislative frameworks don’t include specific text, the GOP version lays out some key priorities for the hardwood industry:

  • Doubling funding for USDA’s trade promotion programs, the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program. These vital programs support the American Hardwood Export Council’s work around the world and have not been increased since 2002. The House passed version of the Farm Bill also includes this increase.
  • The framework modernizes the Forest Inventory and Analysis program which collects, processes, analyzes, and reports on data necessary for assessing the extent and condition of forest resources in the United States. While not explicitly noted in the framework, staff assures us that considering the carbon storage value of wood products is also a high priority for the ranking member and will most likely be made clear in future language.
  • Increases funding for the Community Wood Facilities Program and Wood Innovation Program, both of which have funded hardwood projects. Accelerating adoption of wood in the built environment and identifying ways the federal government can utilize wood projects in their facilities are also priorities for Sen. Boozman.

According to GOP staff, Sen. Boozman’s framework includes input from a broad base of stakeholders and is intended to jump start the legislative process, which has stalled this spring over funding issues. We will continue to review proposals and language as they emerge from both Senate Democrats and Republicans and we look forward to a bipartisan Senate bill emerging at some point in the next several months. The Hardwood Federation will keep you posted on next steps.

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