OPINION: MS Senate Bill 2525 will help state’s forestry industry

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By Tyler McCaughn

Jackson Advocate Guest Writer

As chairman of the Mississippi Senate Forestry Committee, it is crucial for me to listen to the concerns of timber owners, loggers, and timber processors. With over 19 million acres of land growing timber, the forestry industry continues to be the third largest agriculture industry in our state.  A growing concern for our timber owners is problems securing timber harvest contracts, and those contracts not being as profitable as they once were.  Over the past several years, we at your Capitol have worked to determine what state efforts can be implemented to assist our landowners with those concerns.    

Experts consistently say that prices of timber will only increase with more access to mills and secondary processors. As such, your Mississippi Senate, through efforts of the Forestry Committee and the Lt. Governor’s Office, developed and passed Senate Bill 2525, which is better known as the “Forestry Facility Grant Program.” This program is capped at $10 million and is administered through the Mississippi Development Authority. The program is aimed at assisting counties, municipalities, and other entities with infrastructure costs associated with the building of new timber mills, new pellet mills, the expansion of current forestry operations, and the development of secondary processing facilities across our state. 

In general, this grant program will not be the magic fix to the depressed timber markets, and landowners will not see immediate changes to their timber prices. Even so, the key is to take that first step for our future generations. As chairman of Forestry, I will continue to work with our stakeholders to find any assistance available for our industry. I’m thankful for the leadership of Lt. Governor Hosemann, Speaker Philip Gunn, and Governor Tate Reeves for working with the Forestry Committee to further the $1.3 billion forestry industry across our state.  

Senator Tyler McCaughn is Senate Forestry Chairman, District 31 – Newton, Scott, and Lauderdale counties.

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OPINION: MS Senate Bill 2525 will help state’s forestry industry

By Jackson Advocate News Service
July 17, 2023