Although 2012 has largely just started, Forest Business Network is hard at work laying the groundwork for the 2013 Small Log Conference, March 13-15, 2013. We’re shooting for the moon on this one—aiming for the conference to not only be the best we’ve ever done, but an industry-leader to boot.
That’s a pretty ambitious goal, no doubt. But with timely content topics, a reverse trade mission, and a cutting edge webinar series leading up to the conference, I think we’re going to meet it.
1. Content that matters right now
We’re taking an exciting, three-pronged approach to the content that we’ll offer at the 2013 Small Log Conference. Each of the prongs represents three important conversations making the rounds in the forest products industry today.
Small diameter timber utilization and woody biomass. This has always been the core content for our conference and we’ll continue to address the key issues that affect lumber mills, machinery manufacturers, conservationists, forest restoration, pellets, biomass use, technology and more.
Biofuels, and the quest for a woody jet biofuels industry in the Pacific Northwest. Last fall, the USDA issued the largest grant in its history—$40 million—to the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA), which is tasked with creating a sustainable industry in the Pacific Northwest to produce aviation biofuels and important co-products from wood feedstocks. This five-year effort spearheaded by Washington State University could not be more important for promoting quality jobs; cleaner, price-stable aviation fuel; and American energy independence. NARA will use the conference to discuss its progress over the previous 20 months and network with specific industry people that can help the project come to fruition.
Wood exports. A partnership with the Montana office of the World Trade Center (MWTC) will help conference attendees discover how their forest products business can take advantage of wood exports and new markets overseas. We will also work with MWTC to bring international delegates to the conference to meet attendees and hopefully foster quality relationships that can lead to new business.
2. Reverse trade mission
The international delegates that attend the Small Log Conference will take part in a reverse trade mission in Western Montana for three days following the conference. This will involve key conference sponsors and attendees, and various other economic development partners to ensure the trade mission’s success.
3. Wood exports webinar series
The Montana World Trade Center and Forest Business Network will produce a regular series of webinars focused on international trade, beginning with an informative discussion by Paul Owen of Vanport International on wood exports, that continue into early 2013. We’ll even discuss the Softwood Check-off program and how it’ll play a role in increasing international demand for U.S. softwood lumber. The webinars will be an extension of the Small Log Conference, with topics building on one another and culminating in the high impact agenda we’ll have at the event. The primary focus of the webinars is to help conference attendees prep for the networking opportunities offered by the international buying delegation’s presence at the conference.
So there you have it. FBN and its partners certainly have our work cut out for us. If you’re as excited about this agenda as we are, trust that we’ll keep you posted with updates as they come available via our email newsletter.