MADISON - Forest Products Week highlights and recognizes the forest products businesses and organizations that keep this manufacturing sector of Wisconsin healthy. Gov. Scott Walker proclaimed the third week in October as Forest Products Week in Wisconsin [PDF], encouraging citizens to recognize the many products that come from our forests because of the people and businesses that work in and care for forests.
"A century ago, Wisconsin's forest industry helped build the Midwest and many of Wisconsin's cities," said Scott Lyon forest products specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Today, Wisconsin has 17.1 million acres of forestland covering nearly half of the state and is home to more than 1,200 forest products companies producing a variety of products that we use daily. The forest products sector is a major economic engine, generating $24.7 billion in goods and services annually, and is especially vital to our rural communities."
Wisconsin also celebrates Manufacturing Month during October and the forest products sector continues to be a vital component of Wisconsin's manufacturing. "Primary and secondary forest products businesses make up to 14 percent of all manufacturing jobs in the state," Lyon said.
Forest products are in hundreds of items we use every day. Those produced in Wisconsin include paper products such as food packaging, fine writing paper and tissue paper; additives such as liquid smoke, food ingredients and cosmetics; and lumber used for homes and furniture. In addition, Wisconsin remains the No. 1 papermaking state in the nation for more than 60 years, producing 5.3 million tons of paper annually.
"Our forests directly provide more than 64,000 jobs for Wisconsin residents with a payroll of $3.7 billion," said Collin Buntrock, DNR forest products specialist. "In fact, forestry is the number one employer in 10 counties, and every forestry job supports 1.7 additional jobs in the state."
For people who want to learn about locally produced forest products and their economic benefits, several forest products businesses and organizations will host open house events during Forest Products Week. To find an event near you, visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword "Forest Products."