On 22 April 2011, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Marketing Service proposed a Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order that would be financed by assessing a fee on softwood lumber shipped within or imported into the United States. The initial assessment rate would be US$0.35 per thousand board feet of lumber. The stated purpose of the program is “to strengthen the position of softwood lumber in the marketplace, maintain and expand markets for softwood lumber and develop new uses for softwood lumber within the United States.”

A referendum among domestic softwood lumber manufacturers or importers will determine whether the program is implemented. The program will be implemented if a majority of those voting back the program. Both the referendum and procedures for voting were published in separate notices in the Federal Register.