Rex Lumber Troy manager talks trees at Pike County Treasure Forest Association meeting

Published 10:51 pm Monday, June 11, 2018

The Pike County Chapter of the Alabama Treasure Forest Association held its annual meeting on Friday at Cattleman Park.

Jared Banta, general manager with Rex Lumber Company, a manufacturer of yellow pine lumber and located in Graceville, Florida, was the featured speaker. Banta brought the gathering of local ATFA members up to date on the construction that is underway on the state-of-the-art lumber mill that will bring industrial growth and new jobs to Pike County.

Banta said the June groundbreaking date for the Rex Lumber, Troy, LLC., facility has been pushed back to July 17.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“In Florida, we are flatlanders,” he told his audience. “We are not accustomed to the hills. It is taking a lot of groundwork to make the land flat. It’s taking a lot of environmental modeling.”

Banta said expectations are that the target opening date of June 2019 will be met.

Rex Lumber, Troy is making an investment of more than $100 million in the local economy and 110 direct employment opportunities. Companywide, Rex Lumber employs about 550. There will also be a lot of ancillary jobs and support jobs.

Banta said he always tells people that whatever they think about a lumber company is “wrong.”

Any image of a lumber mill workers toiling away with saws buzzing is no longer reality.

There is optimization everywhere.

“We can’t get any extra value out of a piece of wood; we can only extract the value that is there,” he said. “If we make a bad cut, we’re taking value away. The only time somebody touches wood in a sawmill is if something goes wrong.”

Banta said Alan Jaye, procurement manger of the company, will soon be the most popular man in the county due to his role in procuring timber.

Jaye said noted three reasons that Rex Lumber chose Troy as a mill site, “Location, location, location.”

“There’s a lot of timber here and the competitive sawmills are not so close by,” he s said. “The Troy mill is also close enough to the company’s other mill sites to be advantageous. But the main reason is the availability of timber with a large percentage belonging to non-industrial private landowners.

Jaye said private landowners adhere to the guidelines of sustainability. They invest and reinvest in soft timber.

Rex Lumber has left room for growth at its Troy location.

“We plan to be here for the long term,” Jaye said.

The Pike County Chapter of Alabama TREASRURE Forest Association awarded TREASURE Forest certification to John Dorrill III and Lee Dorrill and also presented the brothers with the association’s coveted Stewardship Award.

Carol Dorrill, the chapter’s immediate past-president was recognized for her outstanding chapter leadership and her commitment to the philosophy of ATFA.

The Pike County Chapter of ATFA recognized its new board members Dr. Cliff Eubanks is the chapter’s president, Jeff Knotts will serve as vice president, Al Rotton as secretary and Deborah Huggins-Davis as treasurer.

The annual activities report including Take a Kid Fishing Day, Senior Day at Clay Hill Farm, Ambassador’s Day at the Dorrills’ Barn, two sessions of Project Learning Tree Training, Classroom in the Forest at the Renfroe Preservation and the tree give-away at Court Square in Troy.