03 February 2023- The Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO) recognizes the importance of the forest-based businesses in Maryland from various economic, environmental and consumer perspectives, and seeks to assist in growing a strong and diversified wood products industry across the State.
In 2019, forestry contributed over $3.3 billion to the State’s economy, supported 12,890 jobs, and over $131 million in State and local tax revenue. But the industry has also encountered challenges more recently caused by mill closures and the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Recognizing these challenges, the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly authorized $500,000 in funding for MARBIDCO in the FY 2023 State Budget to establish the Maryland Wood Products Industry Equity Investment Program (WPIEI).
In response, MARBIDCO is offering WPIEI to individuals and businesses with Forest Products Operators licenses currently operating in Maryland to facilitate the purchase of commercial forestry equipment.
“MARBIDCO aims to support many of the goals outlined in the Maryland Forestry Economic Adjustment Strategy by making financing available to wood fiber entrepreneurs implementing innovative technology purchases or pursuing new markets”, said MARBIDCO Executive Director, Steve McHenry.
The Maryland Forestry Economic Adjustment Strategy (EAS) was commissioned by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council, and with the support of other organizations, to provide a roadmap for the future development of the forestry industry in Maryland given the recent downward trends. A final EAS Report was published in October 2021.
Applicants for WPIEI can be forest industry professionals, primary processors, and secondary wood manufacturers from around the State including in rural, suburban, and urban areas.
Under WPIEI, MARBIDCO will match up to 25% of total project cost, with a maximum grant award not to exceed $50,000. All equipment purchases must be made and facility improvement contracts no later than April 5, 2023. Equipment or capital asset purchase made before January 31, 2023, are ineligible for this program. An ancillary objective of this program is to complement the financial services offered by private commercial lenders by leveraging funds to facilitate larger scale projects which will enable industry growth.
Examples of eligible expenses could include wood processing equipment and facilities, sawmills, dry kilns, skidders, in-woods chippers, primary and secondary wood processing equipment, optimization systems for maximizing fiber yield recovery, shaving and pellet mills, and sawdust dryers.
MARBIDCO is seeking applications for projects or purchases that will improve operations and/or efficiency, increase productivity and/or workforce expansion, or aid in the pursuit of new markets. This should be evident in the project description and business plan that is submitted. The application deadline is February 15, 2023.
Electronic submissions of applications are encouraged. Applications received in the U.S. Mail and postmarked no later February 13, 2023, will also be accepted. Applications are available at www.marbidco.org.
For more information, please contact Sierra Criste at 410-267-6807, or by email at: email@example.com.