U & M Program


Noteworthy Newsflashes

New Law is a Next Step in Closing down Minn. Wood Biomass Energy

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

June 6th, 2017 (Minnesota Star Tribune) - While Governor Dayton showed concern over the provision that would allow Xcel Energy to use clean energy development funds in negotiations to shut down three plants that take wood biomass, the Omnibus Jobs, Economic Development, Energy and Commerce Bill, was signed into law. The governor also sympathized with the Prairie Island Indian community stating that he was concerned that ending the biomass mandate may make the state and Xcel less motivated to find a permeant storage solution for the nuclear waste kept at Xcel's Prairie Island plant. Under the new law, if the Public Utilities Commission and the plant's owners agree, Xcel could decommission the Benson plant and get an early release from their power purchase contract with the Laurention Energy Authority curtailing the use of wood biomass. Logging contractors and turkey growers oppose the closures because of lost investments made to supply the facilities and loss of markets for wood and turkey manure. Xcel states the cost of electricity produced by biomass is the most expensive energy on the utilities system. Environmentalists object to using clean energy development funds to buy-out the power purchase agreements.

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Illegal Theft of Birch Poles in Minnesota and Wisconsin

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

March 29, 2017 (Duluth News Tribune)-Illegal harvesting of birch poles is on the rise in Wisconsin and Minnesota. These products are bundled and taken from public and private forests often without payments or permits. These products are bought by wholesalers or retailers then sold at stores or online as northwood's decorations for homes or events. This illegal harvesting can damage forestland and has become epidemic in some areas. It is difficult for wholesalers or retailers to know if birch poles were harvested legally. Wisconsin conservation wardens along with county, state, and federal foresters will meet and share information to make plans to combat the theft. Minnesota is also active in exploring ways to prevent birch pole theft.

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State Fair Tree Cookie Display Is Ready

By Kim Lanahan-Lahti, Forestry Web Content Coordinator, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

In spring 2016 the DNR Forestry state fair committee and the Utilization and Marketing Program asked for donations from forest products companies for tree cookies to fill two wall banners at the Minnesota State Fair. Thanks to several donors we collected 33 of the 52 native species, filled two 11-foot tall wall banners, and still had some tree cookies to spare. The tree cookie wall banners are installed next to the DNR's forest products tree highlighting the various forest products that are made from our forests. The tree cookies were sanded and oiled by DNR volunteers in the Park Rapids office. The tree cookie wall banners are impressive to see. Thank you for your support. Please stop in the DNR building at the State Fair to see the new banners!


It's Settled: Biomass is a Carbon-Saving fuel

By Don Deckard, Forest Economist, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

July 11, 2017 (biomassmagazine.com)—In May, the Biomass Power Association completed and released a yearlong study of the carbon emissions of biomass power. Working with two highly respected professors, Madhu Khanna with the University of Illinois and Puneet Dwivedi with the University of Georgia, we analyzed the carbon emissions of one 50-megawatt facility in New Hampshire. Because natural gas is often touted as a cleaner baseload option than coal, we compared the results of biomass carbon emissions to those of a natural gas power facility. The results were decisive in proving the carbon benefits of biomass. In one year, the biomass-fueled power plant saved 115 percent of the carbon emissions of natural gas. Comparing the two fuel sources for 100 years, the carbon savings held steady at 98 percent, after taking into account the fuel needed to cut, chip, and transport the fuel to a biomass facility.

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2017 U.S. Forest Service Wood Innovation Grant Award Winners Announced

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

May 25, 2017 (Biomass Magazine) The U.S. Forest Service announced the winners of the 2017 Wood Innovation Grants. This year the Forest Service committed $8.3 million to accelerate wood products and wood energy markets and will leverage $37 million from 36 grant match partners. There were 114 proposals submitted to the grant program with 38 projects funded. This program since 2013 has helped fund state wood energy and innovations teams of which Minnesota has one of each. Congratulations to Minnesota-based Dovetail Partners and the University of Minnesota for successfully securing a 2017 Wood Innovation grant.

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Optimism for Capital Investments in the Lake States Region

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

June 16th, 2017 (Forest Resources Association)—Steve Kariainen, the FRA Lake State Coordinator, is positive about the forest products industry and the capital investments made by industry in the recent years. He highlights the ARAUCO facility in Grayling, Michigan, the single largest project currently underway in the lake states. He also gives insight into how the recession took its toll on the region's industry and the things he's seeing that make him hopeful for the future of the forest products industry in the lake states region.

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Birchdale Minnesota Logger Awarded the Forest Resources Association and STIHL Inc.'s 2017 National Outstanding Logger

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

May 11, 2017 (International Falls Journal) Hasbargen Logging Inc. of Birchdale, Minn. was first awarded the Minnesota logger of the year award in 2016 and was entered in a national completion. In 2017 they were awarded the Forest Resource Association's and STIHL Inc.'s National Outstanding Logger of the Year award. Several members of the Hasbargen family accepted the award in Charleston, South Carolina on May 3. Hasbargen Logging was one of six regional finalists. The award is designed to raise the visibility of professional logging contractors in the industry. Congratulations to Hasbargen Logging Inc. The Forest Resources Association, Inc. is a nonprofit trade association.

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Emerald Ash Borer Research Conference in Duluth, Minnesota

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

July 23, 2017 (Duluth News Tribune) Emerald ash borers (EAB) are invading Minnesota and risking its 1 billion black ash trees. Although the EAB has a history in the Midwest, until recently it has primarily attacked green, white, and blue ash species. Those ash species grow in drier forest conditions with a more diverse tree species mix. Black ash grows primarily on wet soils in a forest stand with a low diversity of species. The scientists were eager to discuss early results of experiments in black ash because it will have different impacts and could greatly affect the water table in the wetlands black ash dominate. The natural rate of EAB spread is only a few miles a year but the swift spread of the borer is attributed to people moving infested ash nursery trees and firewood.

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ARAUCO North America Working With Local Conservation Groups in Grayling, Michigan

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

July 10, 2017 (Business Bridge)—ARAUCO is set to open a new production plant in Grayling, Michigan in 2018. Local conservation groups in Michigan are concerned with water quality, fishing habitat, and stream aesthetics. ARAUCO executives were quick to share ideas about setback from rivers and streams in the area. The new plant will use 60 percent pulpwood and 40 percent wood residues. Tom Baird, president of Anglers of the Au Sable, an environmental group, says his group believes the company appears to be responsible and so far have no specific concerns about its Grayling plant.

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Stockholders Approve AgStar Merger

By Don Deckard, Forest Economist, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

April 7, 2017 (greenseam.org)—Stockholders have approved a proposal to merge three farm credit organizations in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Effective July 1, 1st Farm Credit Services, AgStar Financial Services, and Badgerland Financial will become Compeer Financial. The new organization's headquarters will be in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, and each organization's existing office locations will continue to provide local service. The boards of directors for 1st Farm Credit Services, AgStar Financial, and Badgerland Financial began exploring a potential merger in February 2016 and unanimously recommended moving forward in August. As Compeer Financial, the new organization will operate in 144 counties through 47 offices in parts of Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Compeer Financial will have nearly 50,000 clients, and $18.6 billion in assets.

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WoodSwimmer Video

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

June 21, 2017 (Sploid) WoodSwimmer is a video where Brett Foxwell cut and combined hundreds of cross sectional photographic scans of pieces of hardwood stems, burls, and braches. This video uses stop-motion techniques one frame at a time. It shows the trees biological cellular growth processes. A unique video, likely a first of its kind.

Watch the video: Slowly Slicing Through a Log Reveals an Alien World This link leads to an external site.