$3.5 Million for Forest Products Research
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, recently announced a $3.5 million provision in the 2016 Agriculture Appropriations bill for forest products research. A portion of this funding will support University of Maine research to improve innovation and maintain a sustainable and globally competitive domestic forest products industry. According to Senator Susan Collins in her press release, “Maine has a thriving agricultural sector, and this bill provides direction on a range of important issues from wild blueberries, to aquaculture, to forest products and advanced biofuels, as well as increased funding for potato research.”
According to Jake Ward, Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development at the University of Maine, the funds will go into a competitive fund with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service to which organizations like the University of Maine can apply.
We think that one of the best potential uses for these funds is for research in biobased manufacturing. For example, the University of Maine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute is active in the development of biobased technologies that convert wood into higher-value products, fuels, and chemicals. The type of research conducted by FBRI is critical to advancing Maine’s emerging biobased manufacturing sector. As certain industries in Maine decline (like pulp and paper), innovations in the forest products industry are critical to sustaining our economy in the long-term.
Thank you to Senator Collins for supporting this important research and helping to encourage Maine’s emerging biobased economy, which can help to revitalize rural economies.