(Host) The Vermont Council on Rural Development warded nearly a half million dollars in grants today to help promote the state’s wood products industry.
Officials are convinced that the grants will help the industry make a significant contribution to the state economy.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:
(Kinzel) Officials say the grants are important because the wood products industry represents the fourth largest sector of exports from the state.
The grants will be used for a variety of purposes: to help wood manufacturers market their products to tourists, to encourage architects to use Vermont wood materials, to create tours of woodshops throughout Vermont and to expand the state’s presence at national trade shows.
Paul Costello is the executive director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development:
(Costello) “We’re building a Vermont market presence nationally. We’re increasing production in Vermont. We’re looking to jobs. We’re looking to bring dollars to rural communities and communities across the state as a foundation of our future prosperity.”
(Kinzel) Mary Jeanne Packer is the executive director of the Vermont Wood Manufacturer’s Association.
She says an effort to encourage architects to use Vermont wood products has generated a lot of interest.
(Packer) “We have some incredible success stories just based on this one manual. A college library that had no idea they could buy the furniture they needed to redo their library from a wood worker that was less than 50 miles away from their library.”
(Kinzel) Packer also says the new grants will be used to bring tourists directly into workshops across the state.
(Packer) “What we know of experiential tourism is it’s about 120 million Americans are involved in this kind of tourism where they want to understand how things are made. They want to participate. They want to watch the craftsmanship taking place.”
(Kinzel) Cabot Creamery is also a partner in the promotion of a Vermont Wood Products brand.
Cabot is placing information and links to websites on more than 2 million packages of butter this fall to encourage consumers to learn more about the state’s wood products industry.
For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.