Softwood industry leaders determined that a checkoff program would benefit of the industry and was the best path forward to drive preference and demand for their products. And while some producers opposed the checkoff, it was overwhelmingly approved by a majority of producers in 2011. In 2018, producers had the opportunity to vote again on continuing the Softwood Lumber Checkoff, with 78% of those participating, representing 94% of the volume of softwood lumber represented in the referendum, voting yes.
What has the checkoff meant for softwood lumber producers? Since the Softwood Lumber Board began funding checkoff programs in 2012, the industry has experienced 6.3 bbf of new demand and an incremental $2.4 billion of revenue. Efforts funded by the checkoff include Wood Works, an effort designed to expand softwood lumber in commercial and multi-family construction. The campaign targets architects, developers, engineers, and commercial and residential contractors, building interest and intent to specify wood. The checkoff also funds Think Wood, a campaign that provides commercial, multifamily and single-family home design and build resources to architects, developers, and contractors.
Research is another priority for the Softwood Lumber Checkoff, designed to drive innovation and increase use of softwood. One of the current research priorities focuses on diversification into new markets, including mid-rise and tall buildings, and positioning softwood as the superior building product.
Year over year, the softwood lumber industry is real-time proof of the effectiveness and power that comes when producers work together to advance their industry and product.