Longtime Minnesota forest management professional Rick Horton has been named Executive Vice President of Minnesota Forest Industries, the association representing Minnesota’s forest products companies.
Horton, who for the past three years has been MFI’s Vice President of Forest Policy, is a Wildlife Society Certified Wildlife Biologist with 22 years’ experience advocating for active forest management in Minnesota to provide habitat for a broad array of wildlife species. Prior to joining MFI, Horton was a regional biologist for the National Wild Turkey Federation and a state biologist for the Ruffed Grouse Society.
“Rick Horton is respected far and wide for his knowledge of Minnesota’s diverse forests and how to responsibly manage them,” said MFI President Cameron Lewis, General Manager of the West Fraser oriented strand board mill near Bemidji. “It’s a seamless transition for Rick to move into this new leadership role, which is good for the organization, the forest products industry and the environment.”
Horton replaces Mike Birkeland, who will soon become Vice President of Electrification and Member Experience for Beltrami Electric Cooperative.
“We need a healthy and thriving forest products industry in order to manage our forests for a multitude of values,” said Horton, “including game habitat, biodiversity, clean water, rural economies, forest health, wildfire prevention and carbon storage. Logging is the primary tool for meeting those expectations. MFI strives to maintain an environment where Minnesota mills can be competitive in a global forest products arena.”