Faculty Research & Creative Activity

Document Type


Publication Date

September 2007


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 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 Hoosiers (Biocrossroads 2005). In fact, Indiana has more than 4.5 million acres of forest land (USDA FS, FIA 2005) compared to about 12.3 million acres of crop land (NASS 2006). In addition to the millions of acres of forestland, Indiana has more than 1600 wood products companies in the primary and secondary sector (Biocrossroads 2005). 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 (Biocrossroads 2005), two were related to growing Indiana’s wood and wood products industry and one to bioenergy.