John Kitzhaber, Governor of Oregon, recently signed a lottery-funded grant to assist the Western Juniper Commercialization Steering Committee develop and sustain commercial markets for juniper. The two components of the project are: Industry Development Facilitator and Alternative Fiber Markets. Feedback from companies and organizations participating in a 1995 juniper commercialization project, funded through the same mechanism as this one, resulted in the current project.
The specific problem the Industry Development Facilitator will address is the inherent difficulty in establishing and maintaining buyer/supplier linkages between small, geographically-isolated businesses. There are no networks or infrastructure in place to process and market juniper, as there are for other commercial species. The specific problems the Alternative Fiber Markets portion of the project will address is the lack of diversified markets for bulk juniper fiber products, and how to capitalize on characteristics unique to juniper fiber and oils.
Competition is intense for the lottery funds dispersed through Oregon Regional Strategies local boards and the Multi-Region program. Critical to the success of the current grant were:
Advertisement and recruitment of the Industry Facilitator is in progress. Selection will be made by the beginning of October. The person or group who is selected will perform as a private contractor. Contract length is not expected to exceed two years. Industry Facilitator performance and activities will be supervised by a subcommittee of the Western Juniper Steering Committee. The Alternative Fiber Market project is expected to get started late this summer.
Input and recommendations are welcome concerning Industry Facilitator activities, and the process and goals of the Alternative Fiber Market project.
For More Information: by Larry Swan, USDA Forest Service, Winema National Forest, 541-883-6714.