Texas Farm Bureau leaders get first-hand look at forestry in action
The Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) recently visited Georgia-Pacific’s Diboll particleboard plant in East Texas as part of a day-long look at the area’s top commodity. The visit underscored the significant impact that forestry has on the East Texas economy.
“When you think about agriculture in Texas, perhaps thoughts of cattle, hay, and cotton first come to mind. For those who call East Texas home, it’s hard to imagine anything but pine trees and the robust forest products industry,” said Rob Hughes, Executive Director of the Texas Forestry Association (TFA).
The TFA hosted the East Texas tour to help Texas Farm Bureau State Directors gain a fresh perspective of the local timber industry. These important state and federal advocacy leaders spent time getting a deeper understanding of how forestry is made up of many sectors from farming trees for 30-plus years to logging and transportation, to a multitude of building products manufactured in the region.
During their time at Georgia-Pacific’s Diboll Particleboard plant, TFB State Directors had the opportunity to see first-hand how wood shavings and timber residue are transformed into useful products for various applications, including countertops, shelving, and even furniture.
“The particleboard process was amazing, “said Allen Kaminski, TFB State Director-Sealy, Texas. “I was very impressed with all of the automation at the plant and the many uses of particleboard. They are taking a waste product and making it into a product of value.” TFB State Director John Griffith of Alto, Texas who had the opportunity to tour the Georgia-Pacific facility a couple of times this year, says he excited to see how this plant is impacting not only those in East Texas, but beyond. “I am continually fascinated at the amount of production—as well as the diversity of product applications—with the movement of completed product not only throughout Texas, but across the U.S.”
The Diboll Particleboard plant is just one of six Georgia-Pacific facilities in East Texas. The area is also home to three Georgia-Pacific lumber mills and two plywood facilities which are staffed by approximately 1800 employees. “I was very impressed with the long tenure of their employees,” said TFB Vice President Mark Daniel from Seymour, Texas.
“We were made aware of an employee on the management team who had been with the company more than 45 years.”
TFB State Director Pat McDowell of Shamrock, Texas agreed with Daniel. “There is a lot of pride in that facility. They work together to make sure everything is running smoothly. There’s a real sense of teamwork and collaboration,” said McDowell.
The TFB visit comes on the heels of a recent statewide Farm Bill tour by U.S. House Committee on Agriculture Chair, Congressman Glenn Thompson, and Congressmen Pete Sessions and Ronny Jackson.
“Forestry advocates for the Farm Bill typically focus on the wildfire response and recovery for our federally owned forests,” said Hughes. “The month’s Texas tour was designed to turn their attention towards family forest owners, small logging companies, and forest products manufacturing for a booming Texas population.
The Texas Farm Bureau represents more than 500,000 members from all regions of the state. As an independent non-government advocacy organization, the TFB works to ensure a viable future for Texas farmers and ranchers.