Virtual summit on Future of Maine’s Forest Bioeconomy set for Friday, April 9

AUGUSTA – Gov. Janet Mills will address a virtual gathering of forest industry professionals looking to the future of Maine’s forest bioeconomy. Forwarding the Future of Maine’s Forest Bioeconomy is produced by Maine’s Forest Opportunity Roadmap, or FOR/Maine, and is set for 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, April 9. 

“Maine’s heritage industries, including forest products, are at the heart of our economy, and like Maine people they have demonstrated their grit and resilience by adapting to meet the challenges of a changing, global economy,” said Mills. “FOR/Maine and its partners have been at the forefront of recent efforts, and I am excited to support their ongoing work with this summit and look forward to continued innovation and success in our forest economy.”

The half-day virtual summit will feature keynotes, panelists, and presentations on a variety of Forest Products Industry-related topics, including workforce development, woodland owner outreach and engagement, strategic investment attraction and communicating the opportunity of Maine’s forests.

“This summit is being presented free of charge and is an interactive way to gather, learn, motivate each other, and continue forward with our plan to collectively grow and diversify this industry,” said Steve Schley, chair of the FOR/Maine steering committee. “By working together, we are stronger, smarter, and better positioned for success.”

The summit is being presented virtually, with all elements and presentations available online in real time. Keynote panelists include Hannah Pingree of the Maine Office of Policy Innovation & Future, Ryan Bushey of Louisiana-Pacific, Jake Ward from the University of Maine and Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Heather Johnson. Additional sessions are being presented by industry and business officials working as part of the FOR/Maine coalition. There is no cost to attend the summit, although registration is required at www.formaine.org/for-me-summit-2021/

FOR/Maine is a unique cross-sector collaboration between industry, communities, government, education, and non-profits, with a focus on Maine’s role in the global forest economy. The coalition was created with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Maine Timberlands Charitable Trust and Maine Technology Institute.

FOR/Maine, released an action plan in September of 2018 with a goal of creating actionable steps to grow Maine’s forest-based economy. The plan included a combination of transportation, community outreach, workforce development and strategic investment attraction.

More details on the FOR/Maine initiative can be found at www.formaine.org