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MDARD Director Gary McDowell Joins Ambassador of Finland Mikko Hautala and Minister Mika Lintilä to Discuss Sustainable Forest Bioeconomy and Growth Opportunities

Washington D.C. - Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell met with Mikko Hautala, Ambassador of Finland, and Minister Mike Lintilä in Washington D.C., to participate in the newly formed bioeconomy collaboration group between Finland, Maine, and Michigan. Forest bioeconomy development uses sustainable forest biomass, plant or animal material, to make bioproducts like consumer goods and industrial products. Through this process, petrochemical-based products continue to be reduced globally.

"I’m thrilled to be able to represent Michigan as we partner with Finland and Maine to further innovation, business connections and the state’s bioeconomy sector," said McDowell. "Forests are a key part of Michigan's economy, and deeply rooted in our history and culture "We have started this endeavor with a pilot carbon credit project in Michigan's forest system and look forward to identifying other opportunities through our collaboration. I’m looking forward to the future progress this group will yield."  

The bioeconomy collaboration is important to Michigan's economy and the implementation of Governor Whitmer's MI Healthy Climate Plan. Natural working lands and forest products will help assist in the goal of economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2025.

Michigan has become a global leader in agricultural commodities, wood, and institutional furniture. According to reports by Economic Impact of Michigan’s Food and Agriculture System and Forest Products Industries’ Economic Contributions, Michigan’s food and forest product sectors contribute an estimated $125 billion annually to our economy.