Although the Softwood Lumber Check-off program was officially approved by the North American softwood lumber industry in the second half of last year, I’m hearing an increased buzz about this program lately, and for good reason. A unified softwood lumber promotion program — promoting softwood usage both domestically and internationally — is an exciting growth opportunity.
This long-term investment in the future of the softwood lumber industry reaches a major milestone at the end of this quarter when all producers will be submitting their first program assessment payments of 35 cents per thousand board feet. The expected “war chest” for yearly marketing efforts is $12 million to $19 million per year. Official promotions will begin this October once the recently elected 21-member Blue Ribbon Commission finalizes its strategic plan and conducts the necessary market research.
And regarding that buzz, we don’t intend to ignore it. We plan to explore this program in-depth (and specifically how it intends to affect softwood lumber usage in international markets) in an upcoming webinar series. We’ll let you know more details soon.