By Horace McQueen
After spending millions of dollars trying to convince folks that fake meats are the way to go, those efforts have come to naught. Not long ago the burger chains got into the action with all sorts of plant-based burger look-a-likes. Their efforts failed to convince beef lovers their product makes a real burger. That’s good news for beef producers!
Those East Texans raising pine timber as a source of income are still awaiting a bonanza. The housing boom is proving a bust and the interest rates are running many would-be homeowners to cover. With interest rates at 6%--and probably more soon—the price of home ownership is just too risky for some. Also some timberland owners are disappointed with the glowing returns they thought to achieve when planting pine seedling 15-20 years ago. That never came to pass and in our area, timber offers little in the way of a decent return on the investment. Rob Hughes, Lufkin-based head of the Texas Forestry Assn. says we have an oversupply of timber and landowners are questioning their future plans. He said some timber owners are converting their timber tracts into pasture and hay meadows.
Though times look bleak for the next few years, timber production still is an amazing dollar generator in east Texas. Bill Oates, Associate Director of the Texas Forest Service, says last year the Texas forestry sector had a total economic impact of $41.6 billion while supporting 170,000 jobs. The forest-based industry was one of the top ten manufacturing sectors in Texas and timber ranked seventh among our agricultural commodities.