This week, United States Representative Matthew Rosendale stopped by Marks Lumber to take a tour of our facility and discuss the current state of Montana’s timber products industry. As Representative Rosendale toured the sawmill with operations manager Jeremy Glatz, a very candid conversation commenced regarding current lumber prices, forest management practices and policies, and our operating procedures.
Current lumber prices were, of course, at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Glatz explained how Montana mills are still seeing the effects of the West Coast mills shutting down due to COVID-19 and are currently doing everything they can to keep up with the current demand.
“There was a time when we would purchase two-inch blanks for next to nothing,” Glatz said. “These were beautiful boards, but the mills were getting nothing for them and barely breaking even. Now, with the rise in lumber prices, mills are finally starting to make money off those boards, as they should.”
“Our prices increased due to two major factors,” Glatz continued. “Trying to keep up with this unprecedented high demand, and to reflect the increase in log prices, which went up somewhere around 10%-15%.”
Log supply and quality was another topic that came up during the tour, as a primary focus for Marks Lumber right now is on how the timber products industry can help create and maintain healthy forests that are economically viable.
The timber products industry and healthy forests go hand in hand, and it is important for us here at Marks Lumber to help people understand just how interdependent they are. At Marks Lumber, approximately 95% of our fiber comes from private land, and we take special care to ensure that we are only using loggers that follow Montana forestry’s Best Management Practices.
“Most everyone follows these guidelines,” says Glatz. “They’ve become common practice because almost everyone, all major players in the forest products industry, want to keep our forests healthy.”
Glatz went on to discuss the Good Neighbor Authority timber sale Marks Lumber is currently working on, explaining how owner Steve Marks has taken on a local reclamation project despite the extremely low ratio of sawlog material the project is expected to yield. He shares how the forest products industry is an incredible asset that can be used to create healthy forests, healthy communities, improve air and water quality, and lower the risk of catastrophic wildfire.
The Marks Lumber crew was honored to have Representative Rosendale come out and tour our facility. We appreciate the Congressman standing up for the timber products industry and forest management as we all share the one common goal – to create and maintain healthy forests that will continuously produce renewable, sustainable building products.
Photos courtesy of Philip Drake of the Helena Independent Record.