Hunt Forest Products in Ruston and Tolko Industries Ltd. today announced they will build a new state-of-the-art sawmill in Bienville Parish near Taylor. Construction on the $240 million facility is expected to start in early 2022 and begin operations in the first half of 2023, according to the companies.
The new sawmill will employ about 60 people when operations begin and 130 when it gets up to full capacity of 320 million board feet of lumber annually.
“We are excited to be bringing our second high-tech sawmill, and the skilled jobs it will provide, to Louisiana, and to provide a local outlet for the massive inventory of southern yellow pine that exists in this state,” James D. Hunt, co-owner and vice chairman of the Board of Directors of Hunt Forest Products, said in a prepared announcement.
The new sawmill, the second the partnership of Hunt Forest Products and Tolko Industries will produce, will be constructed on a 255 acre site, part of which was the site of a mill previously operated in Taylor. It require 1.3 million tons of wood for its production each year, which Hunt said the company will prioritize buying timber locally.
Like the LaSalle Lumber Company in Urania, Tolko will own a 50 percent share and Hunt Forest Products will manage and handle day-to-day operations.
“Our first venture into the United States was in partnership with Hunt Forest Products, a family-owned company like ours, and that has been very successful,” said Brad Thorlakson, Tolko president and CEO. “So, we are looking forward to working with the Hunt family again to bring another state-of-the-art sawmill, and jobs, to Louisiana.”
With LaSalle Lumber at full capacity, the companies' first joint venture there now employed about 130 people and has given a big shot in the arm to the local economy there.
“With the success of our mill in Urania, and the availability of timber and employees, we believe this project is in the right place, at the right time,” Hunt said. “This will boost the local economy, bring a new generation of sawmill technology to this part of the state, and provide another much-needed outlet for regional Louisiana timber. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said the state strongly supports the project and is particularly pleased that the facility will be in Bienville Parish.
“This project is a great economic boost to the northwest part of the state, strategically located to have access to the heart of our historic timber industry, and it will help create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs across the construction, forestry, industrial services, and retail sectors in the town of Taylor and in Bienville Parish,” Edwards said.
Edwards also said that the Louisiana Department of Economic Development will be using the state’s nationally recognized LED FastStart® workforce development program, in coordination with Bossier Parish Community College (BPPC), to build and train the local skilled workforce the new state-of-the-art sawmill will need.
About Hunt Forest Products
Hunt Forest Products L.L.C. is a full service wood products company founded in 1978 with the purpose of providing quality products and superior service. We manufacture a variety of plywood, lumber, and other specialty wood products, and whatever the specification, we can meet your needs. Hunt Forest Products is a family owned and operated company practicing sustainable forestry, and we are certified by the American Tree Farm System and APA – The Engineered Wood Association. For more information: http://www.huntforpro.com/
About Tolko Industries
Tolko is a leading manufacturer of a wide range of forest products for customers around the world, including lumber, plywood and veneer oriented strand board co-products, biomass power and a growing number of specialty wood products. For more than 60 years, our family-owned company has delivered reliability, flexibility, efficiency and quality. We hold third-party certification on the forestlands we sustainably manage in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, and we play an active role in the communities where our employees live and work. For more information: http://tolko.com/