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One of Idaho’s industries hardest hit by the recent housing boom and bust is forest products.According to the U.S. Forest Service, the timber harvest from Idaho national forests dropped from 172 million board feet in 1999 to 121.2 million board feet in 2008.The Idaho Division of Financial Management’s 2011 economic forecast reported there are about half as many mills in the inland region as there were 20 years ago.Still, the report projects growth in the industry over the next few years.“Idaho lumber and wood products employment hit a trough of 5,700 jobs in 2010 which was about 40 percent below its 2006 peak of 10,000 jobs. It’s projected to grow each year of the forecast, but it’s not fast enough to top the previous peak.” - DFMThe Division of Financial Management believes an increase in housing starts will help fuel a mild recovery in wood production.

Loss Of Federal Timber Payments Hit Idaho Harder Than Most States

Idaho is among five U.S. states losing the largest amount of federal timber payments aimed at rural counties and school districts.

Congress let the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act expire in the fall of 2014, leaving Idaho counties and school districts with $26 million less than expected.

Idaho counties will bear the brunt of this loss. Seventy percent of Secure Rural Schools money goes to counties for things like road maintenance. Thirty percent goes to school districts.

Ten states will lose 90 percent of the Secure Rural Schools money it anticipated. These 10 states are ranked by dollars lost.

  1. Oregon,$61.9 million
  2. California, $26.9 million
  3. Idaho, $26.2 million
  4. Washington, $19.4 million
  5. Montana, $19.2 million
  6. Alaska, $13.7 million
  7. Arizona, $13.5 million
  8. Utah, $9.9 million
  9. New Mexico, $9.7 million
  10. Colorado, $8.3 million

Click around the map to see how much each state is losing in Secure Rural Schools money.

Data: U.S. Forest Service, Map: Emilie Ritter Saunders

Click here to explore a county-by-county map showing Secure Rural Schools losses in Idaho. And click here to learnhow this loss of money is affecting one rural Idaho school district.

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