Louisiana is a national leader in the forestry industry, employing more than 17,000 people in wood manufacturing. However, the forestry industry has been reeling since Katrina and then a downturn in demand. This financial downturn severely affected the Roy O. Martin Company.
Historically, the Martin Company has focused on southern pine forests and softwoods, but was facing losses in their hardwoods division. To preserve cash and shore up the balance sheet, the Martin Company opted to sell the cutting rights on almost 150,000 acres of hardwood forests in Louisiana. Additionally, the firm sold a hardwood saw mill and processing plant near LeMoyen, Louisiana.
The Forestland Group utilized New Markets Tax Credits to complete the purchase. This is important to the regional area, because it preserved 200 existing jobs in the wood mill and forests. The mill is the largest hardwood mill in a 100-mile radius, and supports logging in three states.
Over 100 different public and private groups have been utilizing these properties for hunting, camping and other uses. The forests and mill have been used as an occupational training area for regional prisoners of the state, a service that will continue.
Forestland is known for its land stewardship across the United States, and will utlize best management practices for planting, cutting and processing lumber from the forest.