Panel producers in the US are pressing the federal government to change its mind on a biomass subsidy programme they fear could thwart its ability to source wood fibre, according to industry newsletter Random Lengths.

The US agriculture department’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program will subsidise the biomass industry’s purchase of wood, providing a fund matching facility on the sale of raw wood fibre up to US$45/ton.

The Composite Panel Association says this could price particleboard and MDF producers out of the market.

It wants to see the department remove sawmill shavings, sawdust, wood chips and roundwood from the list of materials eligible for the subsidy.