The Valdosta Daily Times
With the Wednesday morning groundbreaking ceremony complete, Rayonier’s director of Southeast wood procurement said the organization is ready to grade the ground at the Johnson Short Road site and begin the construction of a $5 million facility that is expected to create 50 new jobs in Brooks County.
Rayonier, an international distributor of forest products, will unveil a new facility for its performance fibers division by the spring of next year, said Director Stephen F. Worthington of Rayonier’s Southeast Wood Procurement operations. Worthington said the impact of the new facility on Brooks County will be experienced both short-term and long-term.
“Long-term, this mill will benefit the landowners, loggers and truckers in this area and the local businesses that support them,” said Worthington. “We plan to be purchasing hardwood pulpwood next spring. But for the next 200 days or so, it will benefit a host of construction workers and the local businesses that support them.”
The new facility will ship wood chips to a Rayonier mill in Jesup that processes 330,000 metric tons of cellulose fibers annually, said Worthington, and the Brooks County chip mill is expected to boost the Jesup mill’s annual production by roughly 190,000 metric tons.
Rayonier has an economic impact on Georgia of more than $400 million annually, said Worthington. Performance fibers is one of three sectors that compose Rayonier, with real estate and forest resources accounting for the other two.
“We own, lease or manage 2.7 million acres of timber and land in the United States and New Zealand,” said Worthington. “Seven-hundred-thirty-thousand acres of that land is here in Georgia, making Rayonier the second largest private landowner in the state.”
JG Leone Enterprises has been awarded the facility’s construction contract and The Price Companies will operate the chip mill on behalf of Rayonier, said Worthington. The chips will be used in the manufacture of products like filters, pharmaceuticals and LCD screens.
“Rayonier is certainly glad to be a part of this community” said Worthington. “We look forward to many years of cooperation.”