industry top news in 2018
Major expansions in wood products manufacturing, and
consolidations of interests among some of the industry's
heaviest hitters, made top headlines in The Piney Woods
Journal during 2018. Major moves were announced by
Ruston-based Hunt Lumber Company, Catchmark Corporation
of Atlanta, Georgia, and Arborgen in Jasper and Tyler,
And Atlanta-based Drax, a compressed wood pellet
manufacturer and shipper, moved its headquarters to
This being Louisiana, politics was never far from the
news during 2018. District Four U.S. Representative Ralph
Abraham emphasized Louisiana's advantages for a wide
variety of business and industry.
State Senator Gerald Long of Natchitoches, said
Louisiana voters want solutions to problems in fiscal
affairs, Medicaid, and the TOPS program for higher
education. And the Winnfield-based Political Hall of
Fame, in a special New Orleans event, presented
Congressman Steve Scalise a special award, acknowledging
his recovery from gunshot wounds when a shooter attacked
a Congressional baseball game in Washington.
Two leaders in the Louisiana Forestry Association Joe
D. Burns. a founder and longtime leader in the region's
forest affairs, and Martin Wade Toms, the then-current
President of LFA, died.
He was succeeded by then vice president Paul Spillers
of Monroe, who was elevated to the Presidency at the 71st
annual LFA Convention in Shreveport in October.
Major interest was noted in the announcement by Hunt
Forest Products, based in Ruston, that it would begin
construction of a new $115 million sawmill in Urania in
neighboring LaSalle Parish. The new mill, when complete,
will reate 110 new jobs, with an average annual salary of
$45,000, plus benefits.
The company said it will require up to 850,000 tons of
wood per year, to produce approximately 200 million board
feet of lumber annually. Hunt currently also operates one
of two major hardwood lumber mills within the region the
other being Hanna Manufacturing Co. in Winnfield.
Scanning The Piney Woods Journal headlines month by
month, these items are of interest:
A pre-holiday snowfall covered the North Louisiana hill
country in white, with temperatures dropping to a ,low of
18 degrees in January. The annual recap of weather marked
a record rainfall totaling 24 inches in August.
Kevin Reeves, with connections in Jackson Parish, was
named Superintendent of State Police.
Martin Wade Toms, 60, President of Louisiana Forestry
Association, died unexpectedly at his home in Bienville
Parish. He was a forester for Weyerhaeuser.
Jim Pratt, an Arkansas native and Deputy Director of the
Sabine River Authority, announced retirement.
Winnfield logging contractor Henry Bubba Hubbard, died at
Annual Uncle Earl's Hog Dog Trials is annoucned for
Hundreds of Louisiana youth win prizes in annual LSU
AgCenter Livestock Show in Gonzales.
The 33rd annual ArkLaTex AgForum is held in Monroe.
Louisiana Ag and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain is
elected President of the National Association of State
Departments of Agriculture.
Political Hall of Fame Induction is held in New Orleans,
bring in new members former Governor and U.S. Senator
O.K. Allen, Quentin Dastugue, Newell Normand, Henry
Joe Heckel of Homer, is named Logger of the Year at the
annual Louisiana Loggers Association banquet in
Sam Rivers, Jr., is recognized at the Oldest Logger at
the annual Loggers Festival in Zwolle.
Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell announces
reduction in electgricity rates by Entergy.
Joe D. Burns, founder and owner of Burns Forest Products
at Danville in Jackson Parish, dies at 94.
Open hazardous waste burning at Colfax site criticized by
Ruston toxicologist Dr. Robert Flournoy.
State Senator Francis Thompson criticizes budget adopted
by Legislature as being irresponsible to people.
Town of Zwolle announces plan s for 120th anniversary of
founding on June 9.
Atlanta, Georgia based Catchmark acquired 1.1 million
acres of timberlsnds from Campbell Global, in a joint
venture with a consortium of institutional investors.
Ricky Kilpatrick announces his retirement as LSU
Extension Forester in Shreveport.
Ardagh Group lays off 227 employees at glass plant in
Ken Murphy sponsor vintage tractor show at Arcadia.
Vernon Parish is top producer of harvested timber for
prior year, at $35.6 million.
Banker, logging contractor Dennis Aucoin of Clinton
announces plans to run for seat in Louisiana House of
Americasn Tree Farm System announces regional winners of
Tree Farmer awards.
Paul Spillers, Monroe attorney specializing in forestry
issues, is elected president of Louisiana Forestry
Association at annual convention in Shreveport.
Louisiana Political Hall of Fame moves museum exhibits to
new Main Street location in Winnfield
Drax Biomass, Inc., compressed wood pellet manufacturer
announces move of its corporate headquarters to Monroe.
Drax has manufcturing plants in Bastrop, Urania, and
Gloster, Mississippi, and a shipping port in Baton Rouge.
Columbia, Louisiana, celebrates its annual Riverboat
Statewide elections are announced for local offices, U.S.
Congress, State judges, and other positions.
LFA President Spillers reviews factors creating extra
value for timberland ownership.
Veterans Day remembers those who went to war to preserve
Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain says
2018 was rough on some farmers, including soybean growers
seeking international markets.
Arborgen announces agreement with TexMark Timber to lease
the Triple seedling nursery and seed orchards in Jasper
and Tyler counties in East Texas.