Monday, June 17, 2024

Top Story: $110M sawmill brings 500 jobs to Plain Dealing

by BIZ Magazine

Gov. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Secretary Don Pierson, Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation (GBEDF) and a host of regional and local collaborators joined Teal Jones Group leaders to hold a groundbreaking celebration in July at the site of the new southern yellow pine lumber plant that will support the creation of nearly 500 new jobs in Northwest Louisiana.

“Louisiana’s wealth of timber resources has made it a prime destination for lumber and sawmill business operations for many years,” Gov. Edwards said at the event in Plain Dealing. “We’re gratified that Teal Jones has chosen to become a part of that long tradition. This project will stimulate economic activity, create good jobs in Louisiana’s Northwest region and contribute to the revitalization of our state’s rural communities. It is a powerful reaffirmation of the important role our state’s agribusiness sector plays in the growth and diversification of Louisiana’s economy.”

Teal Jones Group, a privately held Canadian forestry products company based in British Columbia, initially proposed Plain Dealing as the site—favored by the company for its easy access to railway infrastructure—for the 235-acre sawmill facility in December 2021. Site preparation is underway and expected to be completed in Q3 of 2023.

“We are excited to invest in this project, one that will bring long-term prosperity, jobs and other development opportunities in rail and infrastructure to Plain Dealing, Louisiana,” said Tom Jones, CEO of the Teal Jones Group of Companies. “Teal Jones is a family owned and operated forestry company with operations spreading throughout Canada and the United States. The Plain Dealing mill is an exciting and important step in our continued expansion.”

The sawmill will produce a wide range of dimensional and specialty lumber products with world-class productivity and a production capacity of 300 million board feet per year. In addition to lumber, the company plans to sell residual fiber products, including chips and sawdust, to local pulp and pellet plants.

“To date, our company has purchased four tired old sawmills in the South that are on track to be transformed into top quartile operations, thereby preserving existing jobs and increasing the workforce by 150%,” remarked Dick Jones, President of Teal Jones. “We would like to extend our gratitude to Governor Edwards, Mayor Shavonda Gay, the dedicated team at Louisiana Economic Development and our many new partners and friends in the region for their warm hospitality and for investing and otherwise supporting this project.”

A competitive incentive package was offered by Louisiana to secure the project, including LED FastStart workforce development services to support recruiting and training; the state’s Quality Jobs program; and, from Bossier Parish, a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement.

According to GBEDF Executive Director & President, Rocky Rockett, collaboration among local and regional partners with state leadership was key in bringing the project to Louisiana. 

“Having these critical strategic incentives and the active participation of our local and State partners enabled GBEDF to help get the project approved and funded expeditiously for Teal Jones Group,” said Rockett. “It’s exciting to see our collaborative process working for the good of the region and bringing new economic prosperity to this community.”

“Plain Dealing is honored to have a new employer locate here. Both our community and the surrounding towns welcome Teal Jones to our home,” said Plain Dealing Mayor Shavonda Gay. “Plain Dealing is committed to helping find qualified employees for Teal Jones. We want Teal Jones to succeed in producing superior product for the marketplace. We thank the State, Bossier Parish and its related government, and Teal-Jones and its investors for choosing our area for this sawmill.” 

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