It’s Official! Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau Merges with NELMA

Effective January 1, 2017, the Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau (NSLB) has merged into the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (NELMA). The decision to start the merging process was finalized at an August 2016 Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau Board of Directors meeting following several previous meetings held to review and discuss the positive benefits of joining NELMA. The NELMA name will remain in place to represent mills and associate members located in both regions.NELMA Map Graphic Green

The merger marks the first time two grade rules writing agencies have merged in North America leaving a total of six grade rules writing agencies overall.  Grade rules and species specific to NSLB’s Grade Book were approved by the ALSC Board of Review to be incorporated within NELMA’s Standard Grading Rules as a new supplement until a new book is reprinted at a future date.

“We are very excited to join forces with the Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau and welcome their members into NELMA.  We look forward to working with them to extend NELMA programs across the Great Lakes area,” said Jeff Easterling, president of NELMA. “To address specific needs of our new members, a Red Pine Subcommittee will be added to the NELMA structure, with a kick-off meeting to be scheduled for early spring.”

Positive Impact

Both associations enjoy an existing long-standing relationship, as NELMA has provided inspection services for the NSLB since 1985. NELMA’s region now includes mills in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. (Worth noting: NELMA’s export wood packaging program reaches currently as far west as North Dakota.)

As a result of the merger, NSLB members will have access to marketing programs and industry support not available before.  NSLB members produce approximately half a billion board feet of lumber production, with Red Pine the dominant species of the Great Lakes states region but also includes Eastern Spruce, Balsam Fir, Jack Pine, and Eastern White Pine.

“With the expanded geographic footprint provided by this merger, the influence of the wood industry on key issues is expanded and deepened, which will benefit the industry as a whole,” continued Easterling. “New members bring experience and knowledge to the table, and we are already moving forward to increase marketing efforts beginning with our overall online presence together.”

Possessing a deep history in the Great Lakes region, please refer to this summary document that highlights NSLB as an organization from its beginning, located here.

Jack Hedstrom Retires after 45 Years

Jack Hedstrom, Vice President and head of Sales for Hedstrom Lumber Company in Grand Marais, Minnesota, retired from his position in September, ending 45 years with the company his grandfather began 99 years ago. Jack’s diverse responsibilities at Hedstrom Lumber have included production planning, dry kiln operations, sales and shipping coordination. A celebration dinner and program is being held for Jack on Friday, October 11 in Lutsen, Minnesota.

Jack served as President of the Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau (NSLB) and since 1990 has represented NSLB on NELMA’s Board of Directors. He has also represented NSLB as a member of the American Lumber Standard Committee during his lumber career.

Jeff Johanns, who previously served as vice president and plant manager at Stewarts Forest Products in Fort Ripley, MN, has replaced Jack at Hedstrom Lumber.