Faculty Research & Creative Activity

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2008


As energy prices rise and there is a push for energy to be produced from renewable resources, the contribution of Indiana’s corn and soybean industry often overshadows the impact that the State’s wood residues can have in response to these demands. Reports show that the wood products industry is the largest, by paid wages, of any agricultural industry in Indiana and employs 47,000 Indianans.1 In fact, Indiana has more than 4.5 million acres of forest land,2 compared to about 12.3 million acres of cropland.3 In addition to the millions of acres of forestland, Indiana has more than 1,600 wood products companies in the primary and secondary sector.1 Because the wood products industry does not use the same resources, markets, or technology as many industries in the grain and livestock agricultural sectors, it is sometimes excluded in agricultural discussions. However, the discussion of lignocellulosic (“plant-based”) materials for use as a bioenergy feedstock would be incomplete without mentioning the contribution that wood and wood residues can add. In fact, of the six strategies to expand and strengthen Indiana’s agricultural economy that were laid out in A Strategic Plan for Indiana’s Agricultural Economy,1 two were related to growing Indiana’s wood and wood products industry and one to bioenergy.