New York State hosted the first-ever Forestry and Wood Products Summit Thursday in Binghamton. At the Broome County Regional Farmers Market, state and local officials met with key players in the forestry industry to discuss ways to boost the state’s forest and wood products businesses.

According to a report by the New York State Wood Products Development Council, the state’s forest products sector accounts for a statewide economic impact of $23 billion. “The forestry sector in New York State is a major contributor to our communities — from the economic impact of its workforce to its impact on our environment and agriculture,” said Richard A. Ball, Commissioner of Department of Agriculture and Markets.

In the Southern Tier and parts of Western New York, the industry makes up one-third of the state’s forest sector, producing $7 billion in economic output and over 25,000 jobs.

During Thursday’s summit, initiatives announced to boost the industry include providing funds to support the maple industry, increasing marketing efforts, and conducting more research on key industry issues.

“But the truth of the matter is many many states and many many countries have nothing like the forests that we have here in New York. So how do we protect it and how do we use it sustainably to our advantage? And it is singular to New York it really is,” said Patrick Hooker, Deputy Secretary to the Governor for Food and Agriculture.

From Fox 40 News: