The Vermont Forest Industry Network Launches “The Rough Cut”

The Rough Cut

Issue No. 1, May 2020

By Christine McGowan, Forest Products Program Director at Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.

Dear Network Friends,

Christine McGowanI hope this inaugural Vermont Forest Industry Network newsletter finds you healthy and safe. I’ve started to write this many times in the last few weeks, only to have the world change – again – and make me strike it all out and start over. Such is life in a COVID-19 world.

We’ve been meaning to launch a newsletter for some time, and given that our Network is challenged by not getting together physically for a while, now seems like the right time to create a place to post updates, share industry stories and use technology to stay connected as best we can.

My hope is this will become a regular newsletter that keeps us all apprised of changes happening throughout Vermont’s forest economy – from forest management, logging and processing to woodworking, building and biomass, and all things wood in between. It can be a place for all of us to share market news, ideas and resources that can help strengthen our industry and our connections to one another.

The next several months will be a challenge for everyone. Markets are uncertain, the economy is shaky and, until a vaccine becomes readily available, our collective priority will be staying healthy and safe and protecting one another. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we truly are all in this together.

No virus can stop us from helping help each other out, making new business connections and working together to solve problems that will improve the state of Vermont’s forest economy for everyone. So please enjoy this first edition of The Rough Cut, and let me know if you have ideas on how to improve it.

I wish you all health, and hope to see you in the woods or on the shop floor sometime soon!


Dispatch from the Forest

Network News and Beyond

Summit Update – Postponed Until 2021

The Vermont Forest Industry Summit has been postponed due to COVID-19 until 2021. Up to date information and will be posted here.

Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation
Regional Market Assessment

FPR recently (April 30) released a market assessment for hardwood, softwood, pulp and biomass markets in the region, based on a survey and interviews with businesses coping with COVID-19 or other market disruptions. This assessment will be updated in the coming weeks.

Connecting the Forest to Green Building

Network Coordinator Christine McGowan recently joined the board of the Vermont Green Building Network, whose mission is “to advance the environmental, economic, community, and health benefits of green design, construction, and building operation practices.” Christine intends to make stronger connections between Vermont’s green building community and our forest and wood products industry. Learn more about VGBN here.

Noteworthy Links:

The Overstory

Our industry has a story to tell, so settle in and enjoy some good news from around the Network. Have an idea for a feature? Let us know!

J.K. Adams Shifts to Making Face Shields in Response to COVID-19. Photo courtesy of J.K. Adams.

J.K. Adams Shifts to Making Face Shields in Response to COVID-19. Photo courtesy of J.K. Adams.

From Cutting Boards to Cutting Face Shields: JK Adams Responds to COVID-19

As stay-at-home orders rippled through Vermont’s business community last month, one of the state’s oldest manufacturers, J.K. Adams, began to experiment with cutting plastic instead of wood. “We have five Computer Numerical Control (CNC) routers and an amazingly talented workforce,” said CEO Dan Isaac, “so the question we were all asking was ‘what can we do to help?’”

Read the full story here.

COVID-19 Resources

  • Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development COVID-19 Resources.
  • Vermont Department of Labor COVID-19 Resources.
  • Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) COVID-19 Resources.
  • Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) Quick Response Support for Working Lands Businesses: COVID-19 Resources.

Upcoming Events

  • May 6 @ 1 p.m. – Weekly Zoom Meeting hosted by the Vermont Wood Works Council.
  • May 6 @ 2 p.m. – Webinar: COVID-19 – Taking the Temperature of the Woodworking Industry.
  • May 7-8 – Living Future 20, a green building ‘un-conference’ by the International Living Future Institute.
  • May 14 – FPR Webinar, topic TBD.

Vermont Forest Industry Network Steering Committee

Trevor Allard, Allard Lumber; Liz Gleason, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board; Dave Frank, Sunwood Biomass; Paul Frederick, VT Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation; Charlie Hancock, North Woods Forestry; Lucas Jenson, Treehouse Hardwoods and Mill Shop and Vermont Wood Works Council; Ricky McLain, Woodworks; Joe Short, Northern Forest Center; Tim Tierney, VT Agency of Commerce and Community Development; Allan Thompson, Consulting Forester; Network Coordinator: Christine McGowan, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

About the Vermont Forest Industry Network

Like most, the forest products industry in Vermont is experiencing uncertainty during COVID-19 and finding ways to innovate and respond. From JK Adams making face shields to county foresters hosting virtual forest walks, and woodworkers turning out birdhouse kits for kids, the industry is finding ways to support their employees, customers and communities. The Vermont Forest Industry Network creates the space for industry professionals from across the entire supply chain and trade association partners throughout the state to build stronger relationships and collaboration throughout the industry.

Vermont’s forest products industry generates an annual economic output of $1.4 billion and supports 10,500 jobs in forestry, logging, processing, specialty woodworking, construction, and wood heating. Forest-based recreation adds an additional $1.9 billion and 10,000 jobs to Vermont’s economy. Learn more or join at

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