Emerging Market Opportunities for Minnesota’s Wood Reserve

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Regional stakeholders gathered at the end of May to learn more about the Bioeconomy Coalition of Minnesota and explore opportunities for Minnesota’s wood resources. This special event was hosted by the Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), the Blandin Foundation, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and the Great Plains Institute (GPI).

“This event gave us a chance to discuss emerging opportunities for innovation in wood products,” said Matt Shermoen, Business Developer at APEX. “Leaders from Minnesota’s forest products industry had excellent ideas on how we can drive the industry forward together.”

The meeting first focused on the role of the Bioeconomy Coalition of Minnesota in bringing everyone involved in the Bioeconomy together to collaborate and grow along the entire value chain, from research and development to production and use. Facilitated by GPI, the Coalition aims to position Minnesota as a global leader in the Bioeconomy by working together on a shared strategy.

Eric Singsaas, Initiative Director of Wood Products and Bioeconomy at the University of Minnesota Duluth Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI), shared insights on the opportunities and challenges surrounding the utilization of wood products for energy generation or biofuels.

Tamara Lowney, President of IEDC, presented results from a recent mass timber study, which assessed Minnesota’s capacity for strengthening our forest products industry with mass timber manufacturing capabilities.

After learning more about emerging technologies, industry professionals discussed opportunities, challenges and barriers to innovation in Minnesota’s forest products industry. These ground-level insights will help determine next steps in diversifying the sector.

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