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May 17, 2016

USDA grants focus on biomass, forest product outreach

The Maine Forest Service is getting a $380,170 boost from a pair of grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including $130,170 to establish a support technical, outreach and financial assistance program for Maine's biomass industry and $250,000 to fund an outreach program for forest products markets issues.

The biomass industry assistance team, known formally as The Maine State Wood Energy Assistance Team, will deliver technical, outreach and financial assistance to interested individuals, communities and organizations in addition to working to promote high efficiency, low emissions biomass heating technology through outreach, education and technical assistance.

"For generations, Maine's forest-based economy has helped to form the bedrock of many of our rural communities," Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King said in a joint statement. "At a time of severe challenges for the pulp and paper industry, we must work across all levels of government to leverage resources and build opportunities for the entire forest products sector."

The outreach program, known formally as the "Strengthening and Expanding Maine Wood Markets" project, would establish a Forest Products Industry Development Specialist position to serve as the "go-to person" on forest products markets issues. The specialist would develop strong working relationships with associations, industry leaders and state and federal agencies in addition to promoting Maine's forest resources assets, according to a press release.

Read more

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