Dear Network Friends,

T his July edition of The Rough Cut comes as Vermont continues to re-open parts of our economy and allow travel to and from nearby states, but also while the coronavirus spreads rapidly in other parts of the country, which means continued uncertainty for everyone until there is a vaccine and/or more and better treatments to prevent overwhelming healthcare systems.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 relief to businesses continues to flow. Most recently, the Legislature passed and Gov. Phil Scott signed, bills to offer more relief funds to Vermont businesses, including $5 million specifically set aside for forest products businesses. These businesses are defined as " a Vermont enterprise that is primarily engaged in managing, harvesting, trucking, processing, manufacturing, crafting, or distributing forest or wood products derived from Vermont forests…Forest products business [also] includes consulting forestry services and secondary manufacturers of wood products."

So, if you own a forest or wood products business in Vermont, stay tuned for more details from the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation regarding upcoming grant availabilities, or email Additional funds will also be available begining July 6 from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to assist small businesses that have seen a dramatic drop in revenue due to COVID-19. Go to ACCD’s Recovery Center for details . And, last but not least, the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative will have additional COVID relief funds available to farm and forest enterprises. Learn more at the Agency of Agriculture's website . If you need help navigating these opportunities, shoot me a note and I’ll connect you to folks who can assist you.

Summit or no summit – that was the question

Last month, we asked you if you would attend a virtual Vermont Forest Industry Summit this fall. I honestly wasn’t sure what you’d say. But the results are in: 60% of you who responded said yes; 18% said no, and 21% said not sure. So, it seems like the ayes have it.

Now the question is, what topic or topics do you want to focus on? We were working on a really strong lineup of topics for the in-person summit, and any number of these are still quite relevant, notwithstanding more pressing COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts in the short survey below so we can design an online event or series that best meets the needs of Vermont’s forest and wood products businesses.

And speaking of online events, while Stay at Home orders left our woods pretty empty this spring, one county forester found a way to get people into the woods – without getting people into the woods. Read about it in our latest feature story . And check out all the other news happening in the industry. If you have news to share, shoot me an email and we’ll include it next time.

Stay safe out there,