Idaho-based lumber producer Idaho Forest Group (IFG) has secured initial approval for its plans to build Lumberton’s first new sawmill since the 1920s, clearing the way for the company’s expansion into the South.
The project is a $120 million corporate investment and will create up to 135 jobs. Operations are scheduled to commence by mid-2022.
The Lamar County Board of Supervisors approved a proposal to transfer 174 acres of county land to IFG.
The Mississippi Development Authority is providing a $3 million grant for site preparation rail. It will make a $1.25 million loan to Lamar County, if needed, for public infrastructure.
“We are pleased to have the confidence of the Lamar County leadership,” said Marc Brinkmeyer, owner and chief executive of IFG.
The Lumberton advanced manufacturing facility will produce a variety of wood products. Mill supervisors, information technology and human resources staff, engineers, technicians and operators will all be recruited from the local area.
IFG is working closely with Pearl River Community College (PRCC) on several work-force training initiatives. Details about training and employment opportunities will be available in early 2021.
Headquartered in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, IFG currently operates six sawmills and a finger-joint plant in Idaho and Montana. IFG sources logs from across the Northwest and is committed to collaborating with landowners, including federal and state agencies, to bring value to their lands.
The company manufactures, markets and distributes a variety of lumber products to consumers predominantly across North America and has the capacity to produce more than 1 billion board feet per year, making it one of the country's largest lumber producers.
Company officials began visiting Lumberton and other sites in the region over the past year, looking for an opportunity to expand into the South. “We felt welcomed by local officials and encouraged by workforce and education leaders in Mississippi,” said Tom Schultz, vice president for Resources and Government Affairs. “Between the availability and sustainability of raw material and the warm embrace we have received from locals, it was an easy decision to choose Lumberton for IFG’s first home in the South.”
Lamar County Board of Supervisors President Warren Byrd stated: “Our community was founded on the very resource that remains a key to our livelihood today. We are grateful for IFG’s confidence in our community and we look forward to many years of strong partnership with this great company.”
Mayor Quincy Rogers of Lumberton stated: “This is the most exciting news we’ve received in Lumberton in quite some time and we are thrilled that IFG has chosen Lumberton as their new home in the Southeast U.S.”