Last month, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Canfor Corp. President and CEO Don Kayne announced the company has selected Beauregard Parish for final engineering and feasibility for a $160 million state-of-the-art lumber mill. Based in British Columbia, Canada, Canfor is one of the world’s largest producers of sustainable lumber, pulp and paper. The facility would be the first Louisiana investment for the company.
Canfor would create 130 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $59,921, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project also would result in 386 new indirect jobs, for a total of 516 new jobs for Beauregard Parish and the southwest region. The sawmill project is expected to support 175 construction jobs.
“Agribusiness remains one of our key industries for growing Louisiana’s economy, and our state offers unique advantages that attracted Canfor here,” Gov. Edwards said. “This major new manufacturing project can resonate across the region’s economy in a variety of ways. We welcome plans for this foreign direct investment in Louisiana by this industry leader, and we look forward to the good jobs this project is expected to create in Beauregard Parish for the region’s skilled workforce.”
Canfor would locate the facility on an LED Certified Site at the Beauregard Regional Airport. The sawmill would process yellow pine from Louisiana forests, with the manufacturing capacity and flexibility to produce a wide variety of high-quality wood products for Canfor’s customers. Start-up is expected to begin late in the third quarter of 2022.
“Canfor is excited to be investing in a new world-class sawmill in Louisiana that will support our growth and diversification in the U.S. South and ensure we continue to deliver high value products to our global customers,” Kayne said. “Canfor selected Louisiana for its first greenfield project in the United States because of the sustainable and high quality fiber supply, the skilled labor force and the long history of wood products manufacturing,” Canfor Southern Pine President Tony Sheffield said. “In addition, the significant incentives and support we are receiving from the State of Louisiana are helping to make this project possible.”
To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered a competitive incentive package that includes the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart® – the nation’s number one state workforce development program for the past 11 years. The package also includes a performance-based grant of $1.5 million, subject to the company reaching specified investment and payroll benchmarks. Should the project move forward, the company also is expected to recognize significant value from the use of Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
“This project announcement would represent the largest initial investment in Beauregard Parish’s history,” parish Police Jury President Mike Harper said. “The vast renewable resources of Beauregard Parish initially attracted interest in the area, but the people, communities and quality of life sealed this agreement. This commitment promises a bright future for hundreds of families of this parish and region.”
“I am thankful that I had the opportunity to meet with the executives of Canfor to share the wonderful story of our community,” DeRidder Mayor Misty Clanton said. “I am delighted to formally welcome them to DeRidder. We look forward to the opportunities for our people and the relationships that we will undoubtedly build. Our community is a place where business needs and goals can be met. It is a place where you can grow and prosper. We want everyone to reach their fullest potential in DeRidder. This indeed would move our city in the right direction.”
“This significant project would bring jobs to Beauregard Parish,” said President and CEO George Swift of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “Importantly, this would be the first industrial project at the Beauregard Regional Airport Certified Site. The future is strong for this property. Also, I want to thank R.B. Smith, vice president of workforce and business development for the SWLA Alliance, who has worked tirelessly with Beauregard officials and the company to make this project happen.”