Financial Relief for the Forest Economy
On Friday, June 26, 2020, the Senate and house passed S. 351 to provide financial assistance to the agricultural community and included appropriations to the Forestry sector. The house amendment included appropriating $5,000,000 for the Forest Economy Stabilization Grant Program. Under this legislation, a Forest Product business that can demonstrate economic harm related to COVID-19 may apply to the Vermont Economic Development Authority for funds. “‘Forest products business’ means a Vermont enterprise that is primarily engaged in managing, harvesting, trucking, processing, manufacturing, crafting, or distributing forest or wood products derived from Vermont forests.”… “‘Forest products business’ [also] includes consulting forestry services and secondary manufacturers of wood products.”
Applications for up to $100,000 will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis with all $5,000,000 spent by December 20, 2020.
Details on how to apply will be forthcoming, and VWA will help to distribute that information. However, don’t wait. If you are a Forest Product Business, it would be wise to consider your COVID-19 related losses that occurred since March 1, 2020 and before December 1, 2020 and prepare to provide “evidence of lost revenues or expenses related to business interruption…” for your application.
This is a big pot of money and applies across the board to a broad spectrum of the forest industry. Loggers may have had timber sales delayed or cancelled, truckers will be moving less wood, sawmills will be sawing less wood, foresters may have delayed or cancelled harvests, forest landowners engaging in timber harvests will have reduced revenues, manufactures will have reduced production as the value and demand for wood products has dwindled or been complicated.
As passed: S. 351