FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the Softwood Lumber Checkoff?
The Checkoff is an industry funded program established for the purpose of growing the market for softwood lumber products in the United States.
- The Checkoff as approved by a super-majority vote of the softwood lumber industry in 2011.
- Established under authority provided by Congress the Checkoff and its programs are governed by the Softwood Lumber Board with oversight by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Funds provided by industry support marketing and research programs to grow demand.
- Checkoffs are in place for a variety of agricultural products (i.e. milk, eggs, pork, beef, blueberries, etc.).
Who supports the Checkoff?
All U.S. manufacturers and importers shipping at least 15 million board feet annually into the U.S. market invest in the Checkoff.
What products are covered?
Softwood lumber, flooring, and siding products identified in the Harmonized Tariff System of the United States under headings 4401.10, 4409.10, and 4418.99.10, are covered by the Checkoff and are promoted by the Softwood Lumber Board’s programs. For a specific list, please see paragraph 1217.52(h) of the Softwood Lumber Order.
How much do softwood lumber companies invest in the Checkoff?
The promotional work supported by the Checkoff is funded by an industry assessment of $0.35 per thousand board feet.
How is the Softwood Lumber Checkoff governed?
- The Checkoff is governed by the Softwood Lumber Board, which is elected by softwood lumber manufacturers and importers who invest in the Checkoff.
- The regionally balanced board has 16 seats in five regions with 11 U.S. and 5 Canadian seats.
- The Board reflects the diversity of the industry that invests in the Checkoff with respect to regional differences, company size, family owned independents, variety of products, experience of members, methods of production and distribution, marketing strategies, and the other factors that will bring different perspectives and ideas to the table.
Are there exemptions?
Yes, there are three exemptions:
- a small company exemption for domestic manufacturers or importers shipping less than 15 million board feet of covered softwood lumber products into the U.S. market;
- an equity exemption of 15 mmbf for all companies who pay an assessment; and
- an export exemption which exempts all softwood lumber products exported out of the United States.
Does the Softwood Lumber Board evaluate its effectiveness?
Yes. USDA requires an evaluation every five years, and the Softwood Lumber Board supports an ongoing performance evaluation by the independent, third-party evaluator, Prime Consulting. From 2012-2019 the evaluator has shown that the Board’s programs generated more than 7 billion board feet of incremental demand, primarily in the non-residential, multifamily residential, and commercial sectors.