President Obama signed into law the 2014 Farm Bill on February 7, 2014. The new law provides many important authorizations for rural development, energy, forestry, and conservation programs that serve the Northern Forest. This is a significant step forward after Congress delayed passing a Farm Bill for two years. Congratulations to all the advocates and partners that worked hard to make sure a collective voice for the Northern Forest was heard in the process.  Some provisions of note:

With funding from the USDA Rural Development program, the Center is underwriting a series of profiles in Northern Woodlands magazine to showcase innovative wood product manufacturers. Read about Lyndon furniture in the fall issue,  and Maine Wood Concepts in the winter edition. The magazine kicked off the series with a feature article on how the industry has changed.

A new Maine Woods Discovery website offers a fabulous tool for the collaborative of leading outdoor recreation tourism providers to highlight their quality, nature-based experiences for potential and returning Maine Woods visitors. The website serves as one place visitors can come to explore the possibilities of an authentic Maine North Woods experience. Maine Woods Discovery also serves as a “quality label,” for which the website effectively exhibits the top notch offerings of the partnering tourism providers as a standard.

Public policy is an important tool for accelerating the adoption of modern wood heating across the Northern Forest and beyond. Using the stories and data from our Model Neighborhood Initatives, the Center advocates for energy policies at the state and federal level that will make it easier for the domestic wood pellet and wood chip heating sectors to grow.