Archived Story

Task force created for wood products industry

Published 12:25pm Saturday, March 2, 2013

FRANKLIN—To assure there’s enough loggers to provide materials to the region’s growing wood products industry, a task force has been formed.

There’s a possibility the demand could create up to 75 logging-related jobs, including truckers and equipment operators, said Amanda Jarratt, president and chief executive officer for Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc.

The Southeast Virginia Logging Capacity Task Force in February hired Branchville forestry consultant C. Harrell Turner as its coordinator. The task force also plans to work with Paul D. Camp Community College to train potential logging employees and develop new companies.

“We are still in the early stages of the process and feel there is significant room for expansion,” said Jarratt, who is also a task force member. “The ability to get the resources out of the woods is what we want to make sure we can meet.”

Southeast Virginia experienced a dramatic downturn in wood products industries over the past decade, but that trend is beginning to reverse as a number of new projects by wood-using industries are being developed, according to a news release from the task force.

The $91 million repurposing of the International Paper mill in Franklin for manufacturing fluff pulp, the construction of two wood pellet plants by Enviva including one in Southampton County, and the conversion of two coal-burning power plants to wood-fuel by Dominion Power, including one in Southampton County, are creating new logging opportunities.

Preliminary estimates indicate that based on these new projects, annual wood consumption in the area would increase by more than 3 million tons by the end of 2013.

“We want to make sure the new and existing businesses can get the raw supply they need,” Jarratt said.

The task force sent surveys to 80 logging companies in Southeastern Virginia to determine their needs to expand.

“Those small businesses keep our large industry running,” Jarratt said. “Our larger industry cannot be successful unless we have the small businesses.”

Turner is reviewing survey results and plans to have them available next week.

The hope is to find logging companies interested in expanding, he said.

“But there will still be a big gap,” Turner said. “We have to find people willing to go into the logging business. There are certain barriers, (like) finding the finances to buy the equipment.”

He noted when IP shut down in 2010, logging was no longer a demanding career choice.

The task force is grant funded, with an initial $12,000 grant secured by the PDCCC Regional Workforce Development Center to fund the efforts of developing training programs and resources. Additional grants have been provided by International Paper Foundation and Enviva. The task force is also seeking funds from Gov. McDonnell’s Agricultural and Forestry Industries Development Fund.

This task force on June 7 will sponsor a mini-logging expo at the Regional Workforce Development Center, develop business counseling services for existing and potential loggers, develop a logging resource center at the Workforce Development Center, pursue a truck driver training program and provided career counseling to encourage logging start-ups.

Other task force members include William Snyder with IP, Paul Howe and Shannon Fowler with Virginia Forestry Association, Jim Mooney with Virginia Loggers Association, Randy Fields and Ed Sontag with Enviva, Marc St. John with RockTenn, Scott Barrett with Virginia Tech Sharp Logger Program, Neil Clark with Virginia Tech Extension, Carl Garrison, a state forester, and Randy Betz with the PDCCC Division of Workforce Development.

  • 98 indian

    This site was further up river in Sussex County.

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  • http://www.blackwaternottoway.com Jeff Turner

    That is Good 98 Indian. Thank you for doing what you can and your offer. I think I’ll take you up on that some day.
    Where was that adjacent Nottoway cut located? West side of the river upriver from Hercules? I think there should be some give and take with respect to logging along the rivers actually. While I despise seeing old hollow cypress taken for mulch, I also believe if right along the shoreline if it is on low-land or highland on a eroding cliff, logger should be able to take pine that are there. Reason is, the ones right on the water in the lowland are going to die eventually and fall into the river. The ones on the high bluff are eventually going to fall off the bluff/blow over into the river and cause navigation issues. Its all a matter of common sense. Clear cutting a swamp however should be outlawed.

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  • 98 indian

    Also Mr. Turner I recently just completed a harvest adjacent to the Nottoway River and with the landowners permission I would be more than happy to take you out there so you can see that not ALL of us loggers destroy the earth. You can find my contact information in previous post. I welcome you to view my work. Thank you and have a blessed day sir.

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  • 98 indian

    I myself do not cut wetland areas . I am and upland harvesting crew that does not even have equipment capable to work in those areas. Thank you Mr. Turner For your thoughts and concearns.

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  • http://www.blackwaternottoway.com Jeff Turner

    I know!! I love wood, I love paper products!! There are more trees now also compared to the beginning of earth. Soo?
    Homework THIS, 600 year old cypress trees are cut down out of the swamps so they can be shredded into mulch for people to put on their flower beds. And watch your mouth, my homework is done looking at the disaster the logging industry bestows on this area with your “we are so earth friendly” “GREEN INDUSTRY” crap and your ridiculous self made ‘BMP’s that is given free range by the VDOF. I see your BMP”s when you log upper portions of the river right to the waterline. I see the BMP’s when the heavy equipment goes in the swamps and churns up the mud so thick that when it oozes into the river it looks like chocolate milk. And homework this, yea, silviculture is a renewable resource, and we got to have it. But leave the swamps alone because those cypress
    / tupelo stands even though technically might be RENEWABLE they won’t renew in your or my lifetime.

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  • 98 indian

    @ simplifyingit, actually it was 26 years old and once again if it looks so golden from the outside then I challenge you to jump on the golden train of loggers and join us especially since the demand is increasing, now is the time. You have my number and I will be willing to help you any way I can to get you started. The folks that TRULY know the ends and outs of a logging business will always know that NO ONE will ever be able to take the credit for creating these jobs, simply because WE the loggers are the ones who take all the risk sticking our necks out with millions of dollars of debt to work this profession. Logging is not a JOB it is a way of life, so much that I don’t even have children because I feel I would be neglecting them of the time I would not have to spend with them. And since I don’t have kids and the expense that goes along with them is simply the only reason I can afford the other things in life that seem to be an issue. As previously stated if you want what seems so golden, get you a logging, trucking and timber buying company, provide 18 jobs, donate to several local charities, deal with all of the elements that control when and how you work, then come talk to me and I will buy you drink and some groceries if you need them. As far as FSEDI spending tax dollars, it is no different than the good ole federal government cutting our military funding but sends 60 billion of aide to Syria! If you really want to be somebody in life then stop complaining and finding the negative in this and be an employer not an employee.

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  • 98 indian

    If you can’t comment with accurate information then please do me a favor and keep your negativity to your self. There will be more utilization with the new wood outlets coming online. In the past few years there have been several loggers to go out of business therefore increasing the demand for loggers when all new facilities are up and running. To simplifyingit, if you think for one minute that the logging business is a cakewalk and an endless supply of money then by all means I have a logging business I will sell you in a minute. If any thing the logging business teaches one how to manage money with a fine tooth comb. On a good year when you are able to work most days and not have any major breakdowns or delays you only stand to net a two or three percent profit which is hardly a great return on investment. We are affected by everything. The weather, the mills,laws and constantly changing regulations. Ask yourself do you put in 70 to 80 hours a week or would you want to? I do every week. I hardly think a random trip is too much! And last but not least Mr. Turner if you did your homework you would know that there are more trees on this earth today than prior to WW II. IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE ANY FURTHER INFORMATION OR CARE TO DISCUSS MY NAME IS ADAM MOORE AND I CAN BE REACHED AT 757-647-6895!In closing, may I remind you to think of where things that you use everyday come from and whether or not you could do without them if there was no more logging. No mills, no paper, no lumber to build a roof over your head while you complain, no boxes, no cellulose for computer or phone touch screens, no fluff pulp so you can have TP to wipe your behind, no furniture. Think about it!

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    • simplifyingit

      at 30 yrs old you started your own business, in the worst economy in the last 50yrs, and have (guessing here) 200k home-50k truck-50k boat-wife and kids? I am not convinced that logging only gives 2-3% ROI……unless you pay your own 100k salary before you equate that? Or does the business own the house,boat, trucks, pay gas bills, repairs on all that…..you know the stuff average joe has to pay from his meager weekly paycheck?

      I am proud of a local man doing what you have done and no doubt you earned every bit. It is just a hard thing to accept spending tax money on an industry that is doing so well. FSEDI in a year will be telling us they created the upswing and all the jobs…….You willing to give them the credit for all your hard work?

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  • BigBadBrown

    The assumption that we need more loggers is puzzling when just three years ago we logged as much wood as we will with the new industries.

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  • simplifyingit

    Great idea FSEDI…spend our tax money to help the already wealthy logging industry. These guys have money to vacation in Cancun, ocean fishing trips, hunting all over the U.S. while the rest of us have been wondering where we’d get the money for groceries next week. Seems like a great govt decision! You’re on your way Mrs. Jarratt!

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  • http://www.blackwaternottoway.com Jeff Turner

    I don’t know where those figures come from indicating logging has had a downturn in the last few years. However I’m glad to hear logging will be on the increase in the future. Its so rare to see a cut-over around here. It will nice when they finally cut down all the trees so we can have a better view 360 degrees. It will also keep us cooler in the summer with the perpetual never ending wind. Also getting rid of all the trees around here will do away with all those pesky critters that live in the woods. Now we will be able to enjoy watching the animals in our own yards eating our shrubs and each other. It will very educational.

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