Timber Market Outlook
By Dr. James Henderson, Extension Forestry
Slowly but surely markets for sawtimber are beginning to grow again after the sharp declines seen after the collapse of the U.S. housing market and recession. The Southern Forest Products Association reported southern pine lumber shipments for 2013 reached 15.026 billion board feet (Bbf) which is a 5% increase over the 2012 amount of 14.279 Bbf and a 27% increase over the 2009 volume of 11.279 Bbf. U.S. home construction continues to rise and the forecast is for continued growth. In 2009 the U.S. built about 554 thousand new homes and the forecast is that the U.S. should be building nearly 3 times that volume by 2015. So we are on pace for over 1 million homes built in 2014 and around 1.5 million in 2015. The overall U.S. economy is continuing to grow and recovering from the recession of the 2000's. Reflecting these improvements in lumber demand the south-wide 4th quarter average stumpage price for pine sawtimber was up 8% from this time last year according to Timber-Mart South. Mississippi stumpage prices as of the 4th quarter 2013 statewide averaged at $24 for pine sawtimber, $15 for pine chip-n-saw, $36 for mixed hardwood sawtimber, $9 for pine pulpwood, and $11 for hardwood pulpwood. Timber price reports for Mississippi are available at: MSUCares.com/forestry. Pulpwood markets in north Mississippi will obviously be disrupted by the closure of the IP paper mill in Courtland, Alabama. It is reasonable to assume that prices for pulpwood in some portions of north Mississippi will fall in 2014 as compared with 2013. So the outlook for Mississippi's timber markets are somewhat mixed. Sawtimber should show continued gains over the next several years and pulpwood in northern Mississippi may struggle as compared with previous years.
Previous Market Commentaries
Although construction costs are through the roof timber prices have not kept pace, and Mississippi forest landowners are waiting for improved markets. Shaun Tanger, a forestry economics specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the recent increase in construction costs is a demand-side phenomena.
In 2019, Mississippi’s agricultural industry faced the prospect of dipping below $7 billion for the first time in eight years, but federal payments pushed its value up enough to post a slight gain over 2018.
The estimated value of Mississippi agriculture in 2019 is $7.39 billion, a 0.2% gain from last year’s $7.37 billion. Included in the total is an estimated $628 million in government payments, the largest amount of federal assistance Mississippi producers have seen since 2006
Mississippi’s timber industry remained its second highest producing agricultural commodity again in 2019.
Coming in with an estimated production value of $1.15 billion, timber followed the state’s poultry industry, which generated an estimated value of $2.78 billion in 2019. Timber’s value of production is estimated by monthly severance taxes collected by the Mississippi Department of Revenue.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Despite a slow housing market and other lingering effects of the recession, Mississippi’s forests remain the state’s second most valuable agricultural commodity for 2017.
John Auel, an assistant Extension professor of forestry at Mississippi State University, estimates the value of forest products is $1.4 billion, which is a decrease of 8.6 percent from 2016. However, 2017 numbers are almost 40 percent higher than they were in 2009, when the industry experienced its lowest valued harvest of the 2007-2009 recession.
During his tenure as an engineer at Boeing, Ottis Bullock helped build machines that went into the air and to the moon, but he always had an interest in the trees that grew from the ground where he came of age.