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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Homegrown timber now okay

From a story on WISC-TV:

MADISON, Wis. -- While timber is an abundant resource in Wisconsin, building with home-grown lumber in the state used to be impossible, unless the wood was a person's own. Now, that's changing.

Starting in April, small sawmills like one owned by Jim Birkemeier, of Spring Green, will be selling locally-grown wood to home builders and home owners who want a sustainable lifestyle, WISC-TV reported.

Until recently, state building standards prevented small sawmills like Birkemeier's from doing just that.

Republican state Sen. Dale Schultz's 17th district was one of the legislators that pushed the change through the senate. He said that the bipartisan effort to keep wood local will help keep money local.

"We can do it by having a smaller carbon footprint, and at the same time adding value to our resource," said Schultz. "Making a sustainable economy as well as a sustainable environment."

But it's not just about the economy or about living "green." It's about keeping forests healthy.

Alex Greene, of Red Beard Lumber, said, "The trees with inferior genetics and things like that, you're taking those out. From a management point of view, you're continually improving the quality and the volume of your forest."

Greene and Birkemeier will now be certified to sell local lumber to home builders and home owners, but not to retailers.

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