BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that New York’s first-ever Forestry and Wood Products Summit will be held for invited guests Thursday, October 25 in Binghamton. The summit delivers on the Governor’s State of the State initiative to boost this economically important sector, which is a major component of New York agriculture, the State’s environmental conservation efforts, and its tourism industry. It also complements Southern Tier Soaring, the region’s comprehensive strategy to revitalize communities and grow the economy.
Commissioner Ball said, “I am looking forward to the Forestry and Wood Products Summit and to bringing together all of our partners to focus in on how we can reinvigorate this important sector and identify new opportunities to grow our forest products businesses. From those who work in and manage our forests to the businesses that manufacture wood products, New York is fortunate to have millions of acres of forested lands that improve our environment, boost our economy, provide recreation, and encourage tourism.”
Commissioner Seggos said, “Protecting New York’s forest lands and open space has been a priority under Governor Cuomo’s leadership. The inaugural Forestry and Wood Products Summit serves as a launching pad that will advance our ongoing efforts to capitalize on the potential of the state’s vast forest resources. The summit provides a forum to boost this important economic sector, which provides great benefits to the public, including sustainably grown wood products, sequestering carbon, reducing the impacts of flooding, and providing wildlife habitat.”
The 2018 Forestry and Wood Products Summit, which coincides with National Forest Products Week, will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Broome County Regional Farmers Market, located at 840 Front Street in Binghamton. It will bring together stakeholders and invited guests from the State, members of the Wood Products Development Council, academia, local government and the industry to identify growth challenges and explore new opportunities for New York’s forest and wood products businesses. Discussions will focus on workforce development and training needs, opportunities to expand clean technology and invest in research and development, the importance of growing export markets, and continued education and promotion to bolster the industry.
Economic Impact of New York’s Forest Products Industry
The forest products industry is a major contributor to the New York State economy. With 18.9 million acres of forested land, New York’s wood products businesses account for a statewide economic impact of early $23 billion. The New York State Wood Products Development Council recently released its 2017 report detailing the industry’s economic indicators.
Including lumber and paper mills, wood products manufacturers and furniture makers, the forest and wood products industry supports more than 41,000 direct jobs and $2.5 billion in direct labor income statewide. It also ranks in the top 10 in the nation in hardwood lumber production. In the Southern Tier and southern parts of Western New York, the industry represents approximately 1/3 of New York’s forest industry sector, with nearly $7 billion dollars in economic output and over 27,000 employees with $1.8 billion dollars in labor income.
The New York State Wood Products Development Council this week also launched its new website, https://woodproducts.ny.gov. The website will be a resource for both consumers and the industry, helping to further grow the industry through improved public understanding of and appreciation for forestry and New York’s forest and wood products.
In addition to the impact New York’s forests have on the State’s economy, they also are critical to the environment, producing renewable and sustainable natural resources and contributing to the wood products marketplace, which consists of thousands of products that are renewable, recyclable and energy efficient.
Nearly two million acres of New York’s forests are certified through a third party—American Tree Farm System, Forest Stewardship Council or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative—as having sustainable forestry practices. Among all states, New York has the second highest number of forest acres enrolled in the Sustainable Forestry Initiative at more than half a million acres.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “New York, with more forestland than any other Northeast state, will benefit from the Wood Product Development Council’s strategies to develop and expand viable markets for our high-quality wood products and build on the significant economic impact of our forest industry.”
About the Wood Products Development Council
The Wood Products Development Council is a Governor appointed member organization charged with promoting the economic activity of New York’s diverse forest products industries by funding projects and supporting state agency work to achieve its statutory priorities and objectives.
The Council includes members from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Empire State Development, and ten other members from forest industry and other forestry-related entities. It works to fund projects and studies affecting the wood products industry and coordinates with stakeholders to increase private investment in working forests, maintain access to privately held forests, improve education and promotion of the industry, and increase export and other market opportunities for New York forest products.
For more information on the Council, contact the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, Division of Agricultural Development at 518-457-7076 ext. 3 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
Today’s announcement complements “Southern Tier Soaring,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan – attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.
–NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
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