Forestry: Louisiana’s No. 1 Agricultural Commodity

Linda Benedict  |  4/5/2005 1:15:04 AM

The projected Louisiana gross farm value of forest products decreased in 2003. The 2003 total sawlog harvest fell by more than 111 million board feet (9.5%) to a cut of 1,116,383,390 board feet.

The estimated pine sawtimber harvest decreased by 9.1%, for a total statewide harvest of 1,006,519,286. The hardwood sawtimber harvest decreased to 109,864,104 board feet (a 13% decrease) in 2003. Pine chip-n-saw harvested in 2003 totaled 801,191 cords, a decrease of almost 17% from 2002 totals. The estimated 2003 Louisiana pulpwood harvest was 5,259,976 cords, down 61,698 cords (1.17%) from 2002’s harvest. Pine pulpwood harvest increased 2.34%, from 3,805,550 cords in 2002 to 3,895,733 cords in 2003. Hardwood pulpwood harvest decreased by 151,860 cords (10.54%), from 1,516,124 cords in 2002 to 1,364,264 cords in 2003.

Stumpage prices for 2003 were mixed when compared to 2002. On average around the state, pine sawtimber prices were 1% higher in 2003. Oak sawtimber prices were 2% lower on average around the state in 2003. Statewide average pine pulpwood prices increased by 19% in 2003, reversing a trend of a 33% decline in prices in 2001 and 2002. Hardwood pulpwood prices increased an average of 23% around the state in 2003. Chip-n-saw prices declined 4% on average in Louisiana in 2003.

With wood-using industries and commercial timber harvesting activities occurring in all parishes, forestry provides benefits to both urban and rural areas. In 2003, Louisiana’s private forest landowners received an estimated $536,706,681 from the sale of forest timber, down 6.65% from $573,743,837 in 2002. Timber harvesting contractors and their employees earned $417,816,083 from harvesting the trees and moving wood to mills. This total was down 1.21% from $422,904,659 in 2002. This income is re-spent many times throughout the economy. In addition, Christmas tree growers received $1.1 million from the sale of trees. Louisiana-produced pine straw sales made $132,530 in 2003. Louisiana’s private sector forest tree seedling nurseries produced a crop worth $585,900 in 2003.

The payroll and income derived from money generated by the forestry and wood products industry totaled an estimated $3.7 billion in 2003, a 3.54% decrease from 2002 totals. The gross farm income produced by all forestry-related products, such as timber, pine straw and Christmas trees, totaled $956,351,993 in 2003, down 4.97% from $1,005,087,540 generated in 2002. The value added through further processing and delivery was $2,744,730,221, down 2.86% from the 2002 value added of $2,824,295,987. Total value (gross farm value plus value added) declined slightly in 2003, mainly because of lower harvest volumes for most forest commodities combined with only slightly improved prices for the most valuable commodities, pine and hardwood sawtimber.

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