NASHVILLE — Funds to research exports of Tennessee’s hardwood will benefit the wood products industry statewide and strengthen international markets. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) has been awarded an Emerging Markets Program (EMP) grant from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service to study Tennessee hardwood viability in Vietnam.
TDA will receive approximately $200,000 under the EMP grant. Funds will be used to conduct a research mission to Vietnam to meet with furniture manufacturers to survey supply chain needs, species and grade preferences and current Tennessee hardwood utilization.
Dr. Andrew Muhammad along with TDA Business Development consultants will conduct and compile the research. Dr. Muhammad is an agricultural economist and the Blasingame Chair of Excellence in Agricultural Policy at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA).
“The research that is now possible with the EMP funding will have an impact across Tennessee – from our largest sawmill to our smallest forest landowner,” Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “We appreciate the support from USDA and the partnership with UTIA to make meaningful and long-lasting efforts like this possible.”
An additional research mission will take place in Tennessee with Vietnamese furniture manufacturers to tour wood supplier facilities, educate manufacturers on product availability, and create supply chain connections. Research and analysis of the Vietnamese wood products market will complement the trade mission activities.
“It’s fulfilling to lead research that impacts decision-makers and industry participants,” Dr. Muhammad said. “This EMP project is an excellent research opportunity that will inform how Tennessee can increase wood product exports to Vietnam.”
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s mission is to serve the citizens of Tennessee by promoting responsible uses of our agricultural and forest resources, developing economic opportunities, and ensuring safe and dependable food and fiber. Visit www.tn.gov/agbusinessdevelopment to learn more.