With Mills Closing, Forestry Facing Challenges in South Carolina

There’s a forestry crisis brewing in South Carolina. I’m Mike Davis. Several paper mills in South Carolina and North Carolina have shuttered recently, due to several factors. President of the South Carolina Forestry Association Cam Crawford:

“It’s real capital intensive to run a paper mill to start with. And if it’s an older paper mill, it’s even more expensive and it’s more expensive to upgrade. So you got those two factors, then the global market price was, I think, maybe 2% growth or something they were telling me and in our sector, it was not strong enough with the slowdown in the economy to keep some of these mills going. So some of the older ones got closed. You know, these companies had to make a tough decision.”

Steve Hudson is a timberland owner and he’s concerned.

“Well, I’m gonna definitely be worried about mulch, merchandising pulpwood I’ve got several 100 acres it’s gonna be pulpwood size in several years and I don’t know where I’m ready to go with it. And then I’ve got several 100 acres of mature timber that I don’t want to cut because I’ve got replant. And then I have no market for the replanting.”

Crawford says they’re looking for new markets.

“The European Union, they have a demand for both wood pellets and wood chips. And we’ve met wood pellet manufacturers who says South Carolina is a great state. It’s a perfect environment. The only thing you need is a bulk shipping facility at your state board, and he says they’re looking for the place to put it at Charleston right now. The governor, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, the chairman of the Senate, Fish Game and Forestry Committee, the Forestry Association, Forestry Commission, we’re all working together to try to work with the board and find a location to put that bulk facility.”