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Forest-products businesses get COVID relief

MONTPELIER — The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) announced the Forest Economy Stabilization Grant Program (FESG), to provide $5 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds available to eligible forest products businesses in Vermont. FPR is working with other state agencies and the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) to deliver this program to provide economic relief to forest products businesses experiencing economic harm as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency. Stay safe, stay home orders have resulted in a significant decrease in the use of paper in offices, schools, media, and other institutional forms and has a direct connection between the paper mills in the region and the pulp wood supply chain that begins in Vermont’s forests. Forest products produced in Vermont’s rural economy for domestic and export markets have also been impacted by the pandemic and changes in consumer use. 
Grants from $5,000 up to $100,000 for revenue loss replacement are available to eligible businesses on a first-come, first-serve basis. To be eligible, applicants must be a forest products business primarily engaged in managing, harvesting, trucking, processing, manufacturing, crafting, or distributing forest or wood products, any portion of which must be sourced from Vermont forests.  Businesses may not receive Forest Economy Stabilization Grants that would reimburse them for revenue losses previously covered by a grant from another State of Vermont Agency, Department or Program.
“The diversity of businesses engaged in Vermont’s forest economy are critically important to so many dimensions of life in Vermont – our commerce, our culture, and our quality of life – and they have experienced significant harm during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Michael Snyder, Commissioner of Forests, Parks, and Recreation. “We are pleased to offer this significant emergency financial assistance to support a quick and lasting economic recovery for this critical sector and we are grateful to so many who worked to make it possible.”
The grant application went live on Wednesday, Aug. 5.

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