The Western Juniper Commercialization Steering Committee is an ad hoc group formed to pursue and coordinate activities related to commercializing western juniper. It had its origins in a well-attended 1993 "Juniper Forum" in Bend, Oregon. The organizers of the Forum set a goal of 50 participants, but knew they were on to something when over 150 registered.
The Steering Committee's first meeting was in January, 1994. A Strategic Vision was drafted to help focus and guide activities. Following is an excerpt:
"The purpose of the Committee is to encourage awareness and development of an integrated western juniper industry, in a manner which ensures long-term sustainability of the resource, benefits landowners and local communities, and stresses full-utilization and value-added processing of surplus material from management activities."
Steering Committee membership reflects the wide range of interests potentially involved in commercializing a new species. It is about equally divided between industry, landowners, and government/non-profit agencies.. Meetings are held three to four times per year at locations around the state. All meetings are open to all interested parties. The U.S. Forest Service, WPCC, Inc., and OSU Extension cooperate in managing logistics for the Steering Committee.
Steering Committee meetings are an excellent way to meet people with similar interests and locate assistance for individual company or agency needs: Buyers find suppliers, public land managers find people interested in assisting with design of juniper projects, and technical information is provided to answer questions or resolve problems in harvest, processing, and drying.
One activity of the Steering Committee is to define and prioritize potential projects, and work together to locate partners and funding to make them happen. Projects are identified based on problems identified by industry, scientists, and other cooperators. Committee- sponsored projects have ranged from management issues, such as improving inventory information, to marketing, such as investigating diverse bulk fiber markets.
Over 40 western juniper projects have been completed, are in progress, or are in various stages of planning. A total of 80 different businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private landowners have participated. A summary table of project results and bibliography of reports so far completed are available from any one of the contacts listed in this newsletter.
If you are interested in participating on the Steering Committee, please contact Larry Swan, USDA Forest Service, Winema National Forest (541) 883-6714