US Wood Products Hearing
Volatile timber markets continue. At the same time, lumber mill operations continue to support good-paying jobs in the rural southeast.
Caroline Dauzat, a 4th generation owner of the Rex Lumber Company, spoke to a House Ag committee looking at how the US wood products industry fared in the wake of the pandemic.
Dauzat told members that more federal investment in direct sales and research would help support their efforts.
“Our primary constraints are workforce and transportation shortages. While residential construction has been and will continue to be a major portion of our revenue base, the industry is looking for ways to diversify our market base to lessen the impact on sawmill infrastructure when the next recession hits. We are looking to increase the use of mass timber for non-residential and larger multi-family housing construction projects. Utilizing more wood through mass timber also locks up carbon in the built environment.
This expands markets for landowners who produce trees for the benefit of society and the environment but most importantly creates and sustains good-paying jobs in our rural communities.
Dauzat’s company owns timberland in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. She told Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry that there is a need for additional research into new wood products and more large government projects such as those managed by the General Services Administration and the Department of Defense. Those projects directly expand mass timber markets but also advance the acceptance of innovative wood products in the commercial markets.
Additionally, she says her company has been looking into biochar production but so far has not found the markets to support their investment.
Dauzat is a member of the Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association and chair of the Softwood Lumber board.