Cumberland, Maine – The Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau has merged into the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association, headquartered in Cumberland, Maine. The decision to start the merging process was finalized at an August 2016 Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau board of directors meeting. The NELMA name will remain in place.
The merger marks the first time two grade rules writing agencies have merged in North America; there are now six grade rules writing agencies.
“We are very excited to join forces with the Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau and welcome their members into NELMA, and 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 Committee will be added to the NELMA structure, with a kick-off meeting scheduled for first quarter 2017.”
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.
As a result of the merger, NSLB members will have access to marketing programs and industry support not present before. Possessing a deep history in the region, NSLB members will add approximately half a billion board feet of lumber production to NELMA’s lumber inspection program. Red Pine is the dominant species of the Great Lakes states region.
“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 ready to start moving forward to increase marketing efforts and our overall online presence together.”