Boiling Down Our Message

Supporting, following and learning from organizations like Future Forests + Jobs helps the industry push back and stand up for itself when misleading and inaccurate stories are published.
By Anna Simet | December 11, 2019

Since the last issue of Pellet Mill Magazine, I attended the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association’s annual conference in Miami. Lots of great discussion, and many fresh topics for future articles. Perhaps one of the most standout points made during panel conversations was made by Rick Taylor, head of fuel at Drax, who emphasized the industry needs to do a better job of conveying its message in a straightforward, concise manner. “We need to make it snappy and keep sharing what we’re doing—that it doesn’t make sense to use whole trees,” he said. “We have to keep telling the story and be certain we’re clear when sharing our convictions about what we’re doing.”

Further driving those points home, industry advocacy organization Future Forests + Jobs was formally introduced, which Spokesman Brian Rogers said has a main mission of advancing the conversation around renewable wood energy and the forest products sector, and fighting back against misinformation.

All of this in mind, fast-forward to this week, when I was contacted by a reporter from a news outlet in North Carolina, asking to reference some pellet map data on our website. I inquired about the type of article that was going to be published, guessing who they had already interviewed (dropping names of the same well-known biomass antagonists who are interviewed in every “horror story” done by the mainstream news media). He admitted that yes, they were interviewed. But promised that the reporters were doing their best to provide a balanced article. My opinions aside, I said I would be pleasantly surprised if that ended up being the case.

My point here is that supporting, following and learning from organizations like Future Forests + Jobs helps the industry push back and stand up for itself when misleading and inaccurate stories are published. If you haven’t already, find their Twitter page and website, and catch up on what they have been working on.

Other stories in this issue focus on downstream operations. Senior Editor Ron Kotrba wrote a detailed story on pellet handing and storage facility projects at U.S. ports, which will help accommodate increasing exports as producers expand capacities. For exporters, expanding capacity means not only adding equipment and buying more fiber, but addressing many other facets of the supply chain. The upgrades and expansions discussed in “Southern Sprawl” on page 10 are much-needed as the industry expands to meet rapidly growing global demand.  

Finally, our page-22 contribution is a case study focused on the domestic wood pellet industry, detailing an end-of-line packaging technology that producers interested in better load containment, improved line efficiency and preservation of product quality may want to check out.

I’ll close with a plug for the International Biomass Conference & Expo, which will undoubtedly cover all the topics discussed above, and more. Wood pellet producers are eligible for free passes, so be sure to join us in Nashville, Tennessee, Feb. 3-5.


Author: Anna Simet
Editor
asimet@bbiinternational.com