Sustainable forestry
Forest products remained Maine’s largest export industry in 2016, with $626 million in sales in 2016, nearly 22 percent of all state exports.

After a dark decade, secondary wood manufacturing rebounds to contribute $1.8 billion to Maine’s economy

Colorful wooden eggs made by Wells Wood Turning in Buckfield have been featured at the White House Easter Egg roll since 2006.

Secondary wood manufacturing once played an enormous role in Maine’s rural economy, with mills in many towns across the state. Then from roughly 1998 to 2008, a flood of imports put many mills out of business. In 2003 alone about a dozen closed.  The survivors, however, learned lessons about how to survive in global markets and their industry is now growing again.

Secondary wood manufacturing, also known as value-added wood manufacturing, is generally defined as continued manufacturing beyond the production of lumber.

“Maine has the strongest secondary manufacturing of all the Northern New England states by far,” said Dave Redmond, director of Wood Products Initiatives at the Northern Forest Center. “Several wood products busi­nesses during the recession went out of business, but the remaining businesses were stronger and were able to pick up the pieces and move forward.”

At the request of the Maine Forest Products Council (MFPC), Dr. Mindy Crandall and doctoral candidate James Anderson III studied the economic impact of secondary wood manufacturing in Maine in 2014, comparing it to similar Michigan research, which was released in 2016.

They found the total impact was 8,884 jobs and $1.8 billion in 2014, about 20 percent of the forest products industry’s $10.2 billion 2014 impact. “Those jobs can make a big difference for specific communities,” Crandall said.

MFPC’s report, Secondary Wood Manufacturing in Maine: An ‘almost invisible’ $1.8 billion industry, includes Dr. Crandall’s findings, interviews with Maine’s secondary wood manufacturers and long-time industry observers, and a partial directory of wood processors throughout the state. The report, which also includes a partial directory of wood processors across the state, was presented at the Council’s 57th Annual Meeting at the Samoset Report in Rockland.

“Maine’s secondary wood processors are a great example of the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit in our industry,” said MFPC Executive Director Patrick Strauch. “They are constantly researching and adapting their products to fit into the global markets. Despite the challenges in our industry, we are also finding opportunities.”

News Archive
Calendar of Events

Executive Committee Meeting

Budget Meeting
When: Thu November 9 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Board of Directors Meeting

When: Thu November 9 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

MFPC Executive Committee Meeting

When: Thu December 14 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Where: MFPC Office
Membership Benefits

Up-to-Date Information
Sign up to receive MFPC Forest News, MFPC Forest Advocacy Review, Forest Products News, and Maine’s forest products industry.

 

Legislative Advocacy & Regulatory Monitoring
Make your voice heard in Augusta and Washington! MFPC employs three lobbyists who stay on top of legislative and regulatory initiatives affecting Maine’s forest products industry.

 

Networking
You’re invited! Take advantage of the Council’s many opportunities to visit with the who’s who of Maine’s forest products industry at any of our special events.

become-a-member