U & M Program


Noteworthy Newsflashes Fall 2017

UPM to Permanently Shut down Paper Machine #5 affecting 150 workers

By Kristen Bergstrand, Utilization and Marketing Coordinator, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

October 24, 2017 (Minnesota Star Tribune) October 24th, 2017 (Duluth News Tribune)—On October 24th 2017 Finland based UPM announced permanent closure of its UPM Blandin Grand Rapids MN #5 paper machine. This closure will reduce the mills capacity by 128,000 tons a year of coated magazine paper. This will result in a job loss of 150 UPM Blandin mill employees. The Grand Rapids UPM Blandin mill is not the only affected mill 220 people in Germany will also lose jobs due to the decline in coated magazine paper markets. The machine closure is expected to be complete by the end of March. The mill will continue to operate its #6 paper machine.

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U.S. Forest Service Announces Request for Proposal for 2018 Wood Innovation Grants

By Kristen Bergstrand, Utilization and Marketing Coordinator, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

October 18, 2017 (US Forest Service Wood Education and Resource Center)—U.S. Forest Service announced a request for proposals for the 2018 Wood Innovation Grants. This year the Forest Service anticipates 7 million to accelerate wood products and wood energy markets. These grants leverage millions of nonfederal dollars as well from grant match partners. This program since 2013 has helped fund multiple opportunities to accelerate wood product and energy markets in Minnesota. The proposals need to be submitted by January 22nd, 2018. Full application details can be found on the US Forest Service Northeastern Area Wood Education and Resource Center This link leads to an external site. website.


Potlatch Combines to Create Leading Timberland REIT and Lumber Manufacturer

By Kristen Bergstrand, Utilization and Marketing Coordinator, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

October 23, 2017 (Potlatch)—Today Potlatch announced it will be combining with Deltic Timber. The combined company will significantly increase in magnitude and unite their complimentary business. The combined company will have 1.2 Billion Board Feet of lumber capacity, 300 million square feet of panel capacity and a timberland base of approximately 2 million acres. The companies land holding will be in the U.S. south, Idaho and Minnesota. The companies' combined will operate six lumber manufacturing facility, one medium density fiberboard facility and one industrial plywood mill. Mike Covey, Potlatch CEO stated that this transaction was a natural fit and will uniquely position them to drive value for stockholders and benefit customers, partners and employees. The transaction is expected to be complete in the first half of 2018 and will require approval of stockholders from both companies and is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

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Sappi Cloquet Mill is Winning Awards and Meeting the Company's Vision

By Kristen Bergstrand, Utilization and Marketing Coordinator, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Sappi's Cloquet mill manager Mike Schultz says his facility is in a growth mode while competitors are looking to shrink and dealing with layoffs, idling and closures of late. The bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that nationwide paper and manufacturing jobs have dropped 40 percent since 2000. Sappi with continued investment, new and diversified product offerings and earnings rising says their Cloquet pulp and paper mill should remain viable if not vibrant and aligns well with Sappi's corporate vision. Sappi received two awards over the last few months one from the Minnesota Office of Foreign Direct Investment under the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The award praises the investment in MN and the company's contribution in keeping MN a world-leading business destination. Sappi also received a safety award for over two million hours worked without a lost time injury report a company milestone at the Cloquet mill by the American Forest & Paper Association.

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PCA Boise Paper's New Video of International Falls Mill

By Kristen Bergstrand, Utilization and Marketing Coordinator, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

October 4th, 2017 (Boise Office Papers You Tube Chanel)—Insider's Look: Take a tour inside Packaging Corporation of America's (PCA) Boise paper operation in International Falls, Minnesota. The videos shows the people and processes that create Boise Paper.
Watch the video » This link leads to an external site.


Blue Ribbon Commission on Forest and Forest Products Research and Development in the U.S. in the 21st Century Report Available

By Kristen Bergstrand, Utilization and Marketing Coordinator, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

October 6th, 2017 (U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities)—Independent commission recommends new approaches to forest sector research in the United Sates. A five member panel study lasting over a year makes findings that forest sector research and development in America is unfocused and underfunded. The report says changes are needed to focus direction, advance forest health, and rebuild the nation's competitiveness. During the week of the report's release the endowment shared the reports significant findings with key congressional staff and federal agency research leaders.

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Loggers Purchase Nearly a Half Million Dollars of Timber at Crow Wing County Timber Auction

By Kristen Bergstrand, Utilization and Marketing Coordinator, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

October 5, 2017 (Brainerd Dispatch)—Crow Wind County Land Services Department manages 72,500 acres of productive forest lands. On September 29th the land department sold nine timber tracts totaling $445,000 dollars. The revenues from these sales help fund the land department and its forest management costs as well as supply any surplus funds to schools, cities and townships in the county offsetting the local tax levy. In the last five years $880,000 has been distributed to school districts, townships and cities. The county forest is managed to FSC/SFI third party verified environmental certification standards and has been certified for the last eight years.

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NRRI Creates a Wood Replacement for Coal

By Kristen Bergstrand, Utilization and Marketing Coordinator, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

October 4, 2017 (Duluth News Tribune)—University of Minnesota's Natural Resource Research Institutes Coleraine lab has been working to make a roasted wood or torrified product that can be used as renewable coal. The focus is to create a lower carbon emission fuel that can bridge the transition away from coal fired plants but still utilize existing equipment and technologies. The process concentrated the BTUs per pound of energy to achieve higher BTU's then coal or dried wood pellets. This product could be a way for utilities to get more life out of coal plants and meet lower carbon goals. Torrified wood can also be used to create active carbon that can be used in wastewater treatment and other cleanup applications. Rolf Weberg NRRI director highlights other opportunities for wood waste such as transportation fuels.

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Brokaw WI Champions Bill to Restrict Activist Hedge Funds

By Kristen Bergstrand, Utilization and Marketing Coordinator, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

August 30, 2017 (CNBC)—Brokaw a small Wisconsin paper mill town with 250 residents effectively went bankrupt when its century old mill closed a few years ago. The town will now we absorbed by its two neighboring towns and will cease to exist except as the Brokaw Act which would require more disclosures by activist hedge funds that allegedly promote short-term gains over long-term health of companies they battle for change. This bill was introduced last session by sponsor Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and will be reintroduced this session with a co-sponsor David Perdue (R-GA) and backed by business leaders such as Home Depot. Hedge fund activists say if the bill becomes law it would severely restrict them in the ability to take minority stakes in companies and push for change. Brokaw paper mill management believes the mills circumstance may have changed if not for the hedge fund Starboards involvement.

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Hancock Timber Resources Group Buys Wisconsin Timberland

By Kristen Bergstrand, Utilization and Marketing Coordinator, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

September 21, 2017 (Hancock Timber Resources Group)—Hancock Timber Resources Group acquires nearly 80,000 acres of timberland in Wisconsin's Burnett, Bayfield, Douglas and Washburn counties from an Investment fund managed by the Lyme Timber Company a private timberland investment management organization. More than 90% of the timberlands are managed under working forest conservation easements purchased from the timber management group by the WI DNR. These easements are part of the Brule-St. Croix Forest Legacy Project and ensure the land will be available for forest management and provide timber production as well as remain open to the public for recreation.

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