USDA Forest Service moves to support timber market, offers extension of timber contracts to address falling timber markets amid the COVID-19 pandemic
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is offering to extend contract deadlines on certain timber sales, sale of property stewardship contracts and forest product permits awarded or issued before April 1, 2020. Extending these deadlines supports the long-term viability of the timber industry in markets where conditions have been significantly disrupted, especially in rural, forest-dependent communities.
This decision is based on a combination of factors that have affected the national economy and the timber market, including the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Individual purchasers of the timber sales contracts may request extensions – up to two years in the lower 48 states and up to three years in Alaska – or continue to work to meet their obligations.
This deadline extension option also offers relief to businesses scheduled to make timber sales payments on April 15, 2020. Without the extension, firms and individuals who bought timber sales from the Forest Service may find themselves in default from late payments.
Detailed information about the contract deadline extension is published in the Federal Register.
The Forest Service adopted the procedures to extend contracts in the early 1990s to avert contract defaults, mill closures and residual effects on forest-dependent communities. Most Forest Service timber sale contracts of more than one year contain these provisions.
USDA has taken many immediate actions to assist farmers, ranchers, producers, rural communities, and rural-based businesses and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on these actions, visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus.