Catch up with PFI in this issue of the Pellet Wire!

June 12, 2020 

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

Executive Director's Notes: Antipating Next Week's Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report 

Next Wednesday, our industry will be offered the first detailed look at how the early days of the coronavirus pandemic impacted our industry’s ability to procure wood fiber, manufacture and sell wood pellets, and build inventory for the 2020- ‘21 heating season. Next week’s report will feature data from March, which may have begun like any other March but finished unlike any most of us have ever seen. By the end of the month, most of the country was under stay-at-home orders, global travel ground to a halt, and nonessential businesses were forced to close. Our understanding of the real impact of all of this on our industry has been informed by anecdotal evidence, until next week. For reference, I looked back at the data from March of 2019. Here are some highlights:

  • 1.1 million tons of sawmill, wood product manufacturing and other residuals were purchased
  • 141,446 tons of heating pellets were produced
  • 156,516 tons of heating pellets were sold
  • The industry exited March with 68,318 tons of product in inventory

So, what should we expect to see? First, it’s important to note that as we rolled into March, wood pellet producers were off to a very strong start for 2020. Production was up over 20% when compared to the first two months of 2019. It’s conceivable that while the March data will show producers weren’t able to maintain this early blistering pace for several different reasons, March 2020 production will still eclipse the production from the same month last year. Even if the industry slowed 10% off the January-February pace (176,000 tons/month), we’re still talking about 160,000 tons of pellets produced, still more than 10% of last year’s March production total. 

Additionally, our inventory position at the end of February was already beyond what we had on the ground a month later last year, and I expect to see total inventory levels above 100,000 tons. While all the data will be informative, I’m most interested in the fiber purchase components. Fiber availability for our producer-members has been all over the map. I’ve spoken to producers who felt an impact right away, others who haven’t noticed a change one way or another, and at least one producer who has access to more fiber than he ever has. The data from next week will give all of us a better sense of the bigger picture when it comes to the impact of coronavirus on fiber availability across the country.

Last Call for Board Nominations 

Our organization relies on the energy and of the effort of a committed, volunteer board. If you or a member of your organization are interested in adding board participation to your engagement with the Pellet Fuels Institute, please let me know via email by Friday, June 19. Whether your organization has recently joined the PFI or hasn’t been represented on the board in a long time or ever, please give this some consideration.  

Registration for VirtuallyPFI is Open

Earlier this week, we announced that the agenda for VirtuallyPFI, our replacement for our coronavirus-impacted in-person conference has been finalized and registration is open. If you missed that email or haven’t had an opportunity to look at the agenda, I encourage you to have a look. We pulled the discussions from the agenda of our annual conference and I look forward to the conversations about our sector, in what may go down as one of the most unprecedented business years any of us have ever experienced.

Tim Portz 
Executive Director

Photo of the Week: Remember When?

This board selfie taken at the fall board meeting in Indianapolis in 2018 is a blast from the pre-coronavirus past, well before social distancing entered the public consciousness. We look forward to when we can once again gather in-person and catch up on our professional friendships.

Send Us Photos! Help us build a collection of photos of our members, their pellets mills, and product! Send images to Tim Portz at [email protected].

Follow PFI on Twitter, Friend Us on Facebook, and Connect with Us on LinkedIn 

We'd like to connect and interact with PFI members and anyone else involved in pellet fuels production! 

Here's how you can help us build our online community:

  1. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!
  2. Encourage your colleagues and business associates to follow us.
  3. Send Tim Portz news or other ideas to post on PFI's social media. 

Have News to Share on Pellet Wire?

We'd love to feature your company's news in a future Pellet Wire! Let us be the first to know about your company's recent developments, and we will share them with the broader pellet fuels industry.

Please get in touch with Tim Portz via email at [email protected] with information on your company's growth, job openings, promotions, or other news. 

Join a PFI Committee

We welcome and encourage all interested PFI members to get involved in our committees. There are many opportunities to help steer the association. No matter where your expertise and interests lie, we have a committee that will suit you. Help us plan our next conference, shape our policy agenda, lead communications outreach, or grow the PFI Standards Program. Visit PFI's Committee Page for more information.  

Industry News

USDA: US wood pellet exports reach 595,166 metric tons in April (Biomass Magazine) 

The U.S. exported 595,166.2 metric tons of wood pellets in April, up from the 424,680.5 million tons that were exported in April...
Read Full Article

The wisdom of logging timber (Daily Journal) 

Things have changed in the logging business since I was a kid. When our ancestors moved here, they cut the trees with axes and saws.
Read Full Article

Pellet industry remains positioned to deliver (Pellet Mill Magazine) 

In late March, as the impact of the coronavirus really started to accrue, I jotted down a list of the attributes of the wood pellet sector that other sectors might envy as they, too, navigate business during the pandemic.
Read Full Article

Connect with PFI
Join PFI

Fuel Availability

Are you a PFI member, pellet manufacturer, or distributor that has fuel available? Email [email protected] to have your listing updated or added to the PFI website.

Thanks for Your Continued Support of PFI! 

Not a member yet? Learn more about how PFI can work for you and join today! 


New Platform. Same important conversations

Learn more and register for PFI's Virtual Conference!


More Industry News

Madison’s Heating Wood Pellet Price Report: May 2020 (Madison’s Lumber Reporter)

The US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced it will award the US $1.5 million to seven rural communities through a new Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation grant program...

Read Full Article

Logging production fall off due to COVID-19 impacts (Times Record)

Arkansas’ economy is more dependent on forests than nearly every other state in the nation. Nearly 60% of our state is forested...

Read Full Report

$17 million available for biomass utilization in Tuolumne County (Biomass Magazine)

A new $17 million program that will provide loans to increase the use of low- and no-value wood from Tuolumne County forests and provide an alternative to pile burning of forest waste...

Read Full Article

Weber’s SmokeFire smart grills just got a lot better (Endgadget)

When Weber debuted its first WiFi-connected pellet grills earlier this year, there was a lot to like. The company made some unique design choices that provided benefits over the competition...

Read Full Article


Pellet Fuels Institute

[email protected] | (206) 209-5277 |