Wet Weather Hurting Logging Industry - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/08/05 - Nacogdoches

Wet Weather Hurting Logging Industry

by Donna McCollum

Log trucks sit idle in muddy lots. Somewhere, inside, their drivers bide time. Donald Randall drinks coffee at a large equipment rental business that is also suffering from all the rain. "I'm just a logger in East Texas waiting for it to dry up."

Too often in the last 14 months, loggers have been without work. Randall knows it's part of the business."Had to set back and take the hard times with the good times."

Heavy log trucks can't move even when it isn't raining. The ground is so saturated that, if taken to the woods, they're certain to get stuck.

Consequently, supplies at wood yards across the region are dwindling. Norbord, a manufacturer of oriented strand board, is receiving less than half its normal amount of log deliveries. Wood Procurement Manager Randy Schiefer says, "We try to build our inventory going into the winter and the wet weather, and right now, we have roughly 12 days of inventory."

G & S Lumber, a much smaller mill, has enough hardwood logs to last to lunch time. "Last week, we went down on Wednesday and today on Tuesday is the first day we're back up and running," said Wood Procurement Manager Buddy Hawkins.

They worked primarily to give the crew and loggers a much needed pay check. Hawkins shared, "I talked to one yesterday, and he told me he was in the worst shape right now that he's ever been, and he's been in the logging business for 35 years, so it has a great impact on all of them."

With more rain in the forecast, the competition for logs remains fierce. Norbord is paying a bonus price for logs and increasing its buying radius from five counties to 20.

Logger Hollywood Cook says, "You just have to sit at the house." That's causing Cook's savings for a rainy day to dry up. The pad is already gone for some of his buddies.

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