The softwood R&P program operates as the Softwood Lumber Board. The board 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 2018 budget is approximately $17 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.
In 2011, AMS issued the Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order, which created the program under the authority of the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996 (pdf).
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 Washington, DC. You can access a listing of current board members on the Softwood Lumber Board Roster (pdf).
Organic Assessment Exemption
Producers and marketers of organic products may be exempt from the program's assessment for the organic portion of their shipments.