Softwood Lumber Manufacturers/Importers Approve National Research and Promotion Program [August 3, 2011, News Release
Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, and Consumer Education and Industry Information Order; Final Rule. Docket Number: AMS-FV-10-0015; FR. EFFECTIVE: August 2, 2011. [Notice
] [News Release
Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, and Consumer Education and Industry Information Order; Proposed Rule and Referendum Order. Docket Number: AMS-FV-10-0015; PR-A2. EFFECTIVE: April 22, 2011. Voting Period: May 23, 2011-June 10, 2011 [Notice
] [News Release
Proposed Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order Referendum Procedures. Docket Number: AMS-FV-10-0015; PR-A1. Effective: October 1, 2010. Comment Period: October 1, 2010-November 30, 2010 [Notice
] [News Release
] [Referendum Procedures
In February 2010, the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) submitted a proposal to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) for a softwood lumber research and promotion program covering domestic manufacturers and importers. The BRC is composed of 21 industry members representing the United States and Canada. Softwood lumber is used in products like flooring, siding and framing. AMS conducted a referendum from May 23 through June 10, 2011. In the referendum, 67 percent of those voting representing 80 percent of the volume of those voting approved the program. The Order is authorized under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996.
A final rule to implement the program was published in the Federal Register on August 2, 2011. The first Softwood Lumber Board (Board) was appointed by the Secretary in October 2011. The Board held its first meeting on November 29, 2011. Assessment collection under the program began in January 2012.
The program is financed by an assessment on softwood lumber domestic manufacturers and importers and administered by the Board with oversight by AMS. The initial assessment rate is 35 cents per thousand board feet and could be increased to a maximum of 50 cents per thousand board feet. Entities that domestically ship or import less than 15 million board feet are exempt along with shipments exported outside of the United States. Assessed entities will not pay assessments on the first 15 million board feet shipped or imported.
The Board’s 2012 budget is approximately $11.5 million. The funding will be used to promote softwood lumber within the United States. The Board reimburses AMS and USDA’s Office of General Counsel for expenses in program oversight.
The Board is composed of 19 members appointed by the Secretary. Of the 19, 12 are domestic manufacturers and 7 are importers. The 12 domestic seats are allocated between 3 regions within the United States - the U.S. South (6), the U.S. West (5), and the Northeast and Lake States and others (1). The six importer seats are allocated between the west (4) and east (2) regions of Canada. A 19th member was appointed by the Secretary to represent all other countries except Canada and the United States. The Board’s composition may change periodically to reflect geographic shifts in volume.
The Board’s headquarters are in Chicago, Illinois.