The Vermont Forest Products Council (VFPC) was convened in 2001 with 11 members representing state government, natural resource agencies, and wood manufacturers.
VCRD established the VFPC for two reasons:
- First, because VCRD is dedicated to the conservation of the open working landscape in Vermont, it sought a direct and significant way to advance the economy that had underpinned and successfully perpetuated the forest landscape. The economy, of the primary (foresters, loggers, and mills) and secondary (value-added craftsmen and manufacturers) forest products industry was in serious trouble due to international competition.
- Secondly, in 2001, Governor Howard Dean’s Development Cabinet called for a study of how to promote and advance the value-added forest products industry as one cornerstone of the prosperity of Vermont’s rural communities.
VCRD chose to build a policy council, and ultimately a set of working strategies to advance the secondary value-added industry, knowing that the complexity of issues and policy challenges on the primary side could derail a start-up effort, and recognizing that success on the secondary side would benefit the primary industry and potentially situate VCRD to convene leadership around issues in that area at a later date.
The council spent two years studying the value-added wood products industry in Vermont. A guiding premise to the Council’s work was the understanding that Vermont’s working landscape of fields, farms, and forests is an integral part of both the state’s identity and its long-term economic security.
VREC built a set of clear strategies designed to advance the industry through their collective action and as a platform to draw together state, federal and other resources. See the list of strategies and recommendations in the final report (link below).