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Angelina Forest Products to build $100 million sawmill in Lufkin in 2019

Lufkin, Texas (KETK) - After the close of Lufkin Industries, many feared for their town's economy.

But little by little industry returned with companies like P.I.D hiring those laid off from by GE, or new companies starting like Luftex Gears.

Now Angelina Forest Products recently announced they will join this trend and build a $100 million sawmill.

"We think we're filling a need for the southern yellow pine lumber business, and being able to do it here in Lufkin, Texas is a great thing," said Stephen Raley, Angelina Forest Products Executive VP of Marketing and Sales. "We also feel there's a lot of talented labor in this area that we will be able to tap in to."

The decision to put a sawmill in, or near, Lufkin came after some research from the Texas A&M Forest Service.

"Our primary role is to determine is there enough wood out there for the mill," said Ed Dougal, Texas A&M Forest Service Wood Utilization Marketing specialist. "And most importantly is it sustainable into the future."

And the research was in Angelina Forest Products favor.

"We have an abundance of forest in East Texas, as you know, and right now our growth and projected growth into the future exceeds our removals or usage of it in sawmills," said Dougal. "So we certainly found...that there would still be enough saw log to supply the proposed mill." 

In short, Lufkin is prime location for this business and not just because of the trees but also where it is located.

"The demand for southern yellow pine is on the increase and Lufkin is very well logistically placed to five of the top housing markets (Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston) in the country," said Raley. "We feel that we will be able to service those markets efficiently and effectively."

In the same place industry left it will return.

The new sawmill will be built at Lufkin Industry's Buck Creek facility on Highway 69 just south of the city of Lufkin.

"There's a lot of infrastructure already in place here," said Raley. "We can utilize the buildings that are on site, it should save us a lot of time in being able to construct the sawmill safely, quickly and efficiently."

But most of all, the sawmill is expected to give a nice boost to the local economy by not only creating 100 new jobs but it will also create a trickle down effect.

"Not only with us selling the lumber but people that bring the logs to us and also restaurants, hotels, other people in businesses here should be able to benefit as well," said Raley.

Something Lufkin Mayor Bob Brown is looking forward to.

"These are good blue-collar jobs and there will be families that get to stay in this area and be employed for many many years so it all just comes together," Mayor Brown said.

Mayor Brown says he is optimistic for what all the sawmill will bring to his town, he believes it will attract other industry to the area boosting the economy even more.

"The foresters, the people that own trees, the harvesting people, just all the way around I see it as 200-300 jobs when it's all said and done," he said. "You got truck drivers, you got the harvesters themselves doing the cutting and it's just a great industry and it will be a never-ending industry because everybody needs lumber."

Even the lesser viewed group in this development, the Texas A&M Forest Service says this new sawmill will also be good for them.

Dougal says in order for forests to thrive good management and good practices are needed.

"In terms of us doing our mission, it certainly helps us in terms of markets that thereby helps us provide programs and that type of thing that support the landowners in keeping up their lands and being good stewards of the forest," said Dougal.

The sawmill is expected to be completed around March or April 2019, and production is expected start soon after.


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