When you think about Indiana’s ag industry, you might not think about hardwoods and lumber. Indiana is the number one producer of wooden hardwood and office furniture in the country. The industry also plays a huge role in Indiana’s economy.
“Hardwoods are the number one agricultural industry in Indiana, bigger than corn, soy, pork and poultry combined,” according to Ray Moistner, the Executive Director of the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association.
“It contributes over $10.5 billion every year to the state’s economy. [It is also] the number one ag industry in terms of jobs, wages and economic impact in the state and employs over 70,000 Hoosiers involved in the forestry and production of hardwood forest products goods,” says Moistner.
Moistner says that hardwoods and lumber not only benefit the economy, but they also benefit the environment.
“There’s nothing more environmentally friendly than something that grows from sunlight and water and is renewable in nature versus plastic and concrete and all the other things that are a lot harder the environment.”
He also says the lumber and hardwoods harvested provide much of the raw materials for many Indiana businesses.
“The reason we’re such a big industry is because we have so many value-added companies here [in Indiana]. It’s one thing to take the tree out of the woods and send it to a lumber mill to be sawed into lumber, but then you get this whole different economic multiplier, so it may get milled in Akron, Indiana or Martinsville, Indiana, and then that lumber get shipped to places like Indiana Hardwood Specialists down in Spencer, Indiana where they make flooring or it goes over to Batesville Casket.
“It’s almost limitless the number of opportunities out there for hardwood manufacturing and then secondary remanufacturing once it’s turned converted from lumber to another product,” says Moistner.
So, the next time you sit behind a wooden office desk, or put something away in a wooden kitchen cabinet. Chances are, that hardwood came from a local forest and was manufactured by an Indiana company.
“[Hardwoods are] perhaps, Indiana’s best kept secret, and grown and managed by Indiana’s most patient farmers,” says Moistner.
Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s report on the importance of hardwoods and lumber to Indiana’s economy.