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Forestry Sets Record For 1996 Production
By Rhonda Whitmire
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's forestry industry set a production record in 1996 of almost $1.2 billion as actual figures released in July exceeded the previously estimated values.
"Mississippi's forest industry recorded an all-time high for timber production," said Dr. Bob Daniels, extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University. "Due to a strong fourth quarter, the figures were higher than originally estimated.
"The actual figures of $1.18 billion for 1996 were 7 percent higher than in 1995," Daniels said.
The estimated figures for 1996, based on production through September, were $1.06 billion. That was almost 4 percent lower than the $1.1 billion recorded for 1995.
Even though this is a record high, forestry remained in second place in agriculture commodity production. The poultry industry continued to hold the top spot, with $1.3 billion production for 1996.
The Southern pine lumber market gained strength during the last quarter of 1996. The demand for lumber surpassed availability, and the prices increased, giving the industry a strong finish for the year.
This trend has continued through 1997. The harvested volume increase seen at the end of 1996 carried over into 1997.
"The Southern pine lumber market has experienced a strong year," Daniels said. "Strong prices from late 1996 held through May, 1997."
The large amounts of rain received this spring also contributed to the sustained higher stumpage prices.
The high prices and the continued product demand brought in profits and kept the market strong.
Daniels said as is normal, prices began to drop after May. Loggers harvest more during drier summer conditions.
"Looking at the market, it is obvious that forestland is more valuable now than ever," Daniels said. "Forestland owners should learn how to manage and know the value of their forestland."