Nebraska’s wood products business is growing.
The Nebraska Forest Service reports there are roughly 100 full-time and part-time sawmills in the state. There were about 60 mills just seven years ago.
Scott Josiah, Nebraska state forester, says the effort to remove Eastern Red Cedars from pasture land is helping the industry grow.
“It’s a really valuable wood. Actually, the second most valuable wood we have in Nebraska, just below walnut,” Josiah tells Nebraska Radio Network. “And it has export potential. There’s a mill that exports (cedar) to China.”
The wood products industry supports about 4,000 jobs in Nebraska.
“Which is really surprising to a lot of people,” Josiah says. “Some of these exports sum up to about $850 million a year in exports, which is, you know, a fairly significant amount of exports of wood.”
One upcoming product is called biochar, which can improve soils and may help with carbon sequestration.
“We’re pursuing (biochar) through our forest products utilization program as well,” he says. “There are a lot of exciting applications and new ones that are emerging all the time.”