Wood Education and Resource Center (WERC)

To provide funds, on a cost-share basis, for projects that focus on enhancing opportunities for sustained forest products production for primary and secondary hardwood industries located in the eastern hardwood forest region.

In order to maintain and improve the health and stewardship of our eastern
hardwood forests, local wood-using industries need to be vibrant and able to utilize a wide variety of resources from the forest.

Priorities include: Maintain the economic competitiveness of hardwood industries.

Bring information and technology to existing and emerging businesses involved in the development and manufacturing of wood products.

Bring marketing and business-related skills to existing and emerging wood products businesses.

Encourage the adoption of new technology to improve competitiveness and profitability.

Provide support and key information to entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.

Address global issues and assist communities and industries facing threats from invasive species, such as the emerald ash borer.

Increase the use of woody biomass for domestic energy use.

In addition, the primary mission of WERC is to foster interaction and information exchange with the forest products industry to enhance opportunities for sustained forest products production in the eastern hardwood forest region of the United States.
Examples of Funded Projects

Projects range from developing how-to documents, to software tools for improved manufacturing efficiencies, to technology development and implementation, to workshop and training focused on leadership and management skills needed in forest products businesses, to methods for maintaining and/or expanding economic competitiveness.

Grants for this Program


Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - USDA Forest Service, Wood Education and Resource Center, 301 Hardwood Lane, Princeton, WV 24740.

Telephone: (304) 487-1510.

Fax: (304) 487-6661.


Program Accomplishments

None.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Projects need to compliment existing activities and/or focus on niches that are not being met by either industry or service providers.

In addition, projects need to clearly document industry support and involvement.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Nonfederal agencies; public and private agencies including State, local and tribal governments; institutions of higher education; non-profit organizations; for-profit organizations; corporations; businesses; and others.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Nonfederal agencies; public and private agencies including State, local and tribal governments; institutions of higher education; non-profit organizations; for-profit organizations; corporations; businesses; and others located in the 35 states of the eastern hardwood forest region including: AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VT, VA, WV, WI.

Credentials/Documentation

None.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

An application package (including instructions, application, and electronic location of financial forms) is developed each year that provides guidelines for applicants to follow in developing their proposal.

Standard financial application forms (SF-424, SF-424A, and Certifications) are required.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

A formal request for proposals is announced at http://www.na.fs.fed.us/werc/ as well as www.grants.gov/ normally around December 1st of each year.

Award Procedures

Proposals are submitted to the Forest Service. Proposals are evaluated based on a number of criteria including: alignment with WERC's mission and goals, focus on yearly priority items, clear deliverables, industry support, minimal duplication, length of time.

Deadlines

Completed applications are due to the Forest Service normally two months after the announcement of the request for proposals.

Authorization

Public Law 105-277, Div. A, Section 101(e) Title III, Section 343, 112 Stat. 2681-231, 2681-297; Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978, as amended, 16 U.S.C. 2101 et. seq.; Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Act of 1978, as amended, 6 U.S.C. 1600-1614.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately 90 days after the application the application deadline.

Appeals

None.

Renewals

SF-424A with SF-424 application is required to amend the awarded amount or length of commitment. Unsuccessful applications can be resubmitted in a future years.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

No formula funding. Funds reimbursed by the Federal Government for competitive grants may not exceed 50 percent of the support expended by a grantee. Non-federal share of matching funds may be in the form of cash, services, or in-kind contributions.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Grants are normally awarded for a period of 18 months.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Annual accomplishment reports and final accomplishment report.

Audits

Periodic and annual accomplishment reports are required. In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.

Records

All recipients need to maintain records adequate to collect and report statistical data.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-1105-0-1-302.

Obigations

FY 07 $1,700,000; FY 08 est $1,000,000; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Range varies from $10,000 to $200,000. Average grant award is about $63,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

OMB Circular Nos. A-102 and A-87 are applicable to State and Local Governments, A-110 and A-21 are applicable to educational institutions, and A-110 and A-122 are applicable to Nonprofit Organizations. USDA Implementing Regulations 7 CFR 3015, 3016, 3017, 3018, and 3019 also apply depending on the type of recipient. The program is announced through the Wood Education and Resource Center website and Grants.Gov website.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

USDA Forest Service, Wood Education and Resource Center, 301 Hardwood Lane, Princeton, WV 24740. Telephone: (304) 487-1510. Fax: (304) 487-6661.

Headquarters Office

USDA Forest Service, Wood Education and Resource Center, 301 Hardwood Lane, Princeton, WV 24740. Telephone: (304) 487-1510. Fax: (304) 487-6661.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

An evaluation panel is convened on an annual basis to evaluate and rate proposals received. Proposals are evaluated on a number of criteria including alignment with WERC's mission and goals, focus on yearly priority items, clear deliverables, industry support, minimal duplication, length of time, multi-state project, training.



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