LUMBERTON, Miss. (WDAM) - A new sawmill is coming to Lumberton thanks to an Idaho-based lumber producer.
On Monday, Idaho Forest Group officially announced its plans to build Lumberton’s first new sawmill since the 1920s.
“This is the first green-field mill that we’ve built, which is exciting and challenging,” said Marc Brinkmeyer, owner and CEO of IFG. “We’re going to be depending on a lot of people in the area to help us.”
Brinkmeyer said the facility will produce a variety of wood products and create up to 135 jobs.
“We’ll be hiring from here, so we’ll be bringing our technology and our culture and our family values to Lumberton,” Brinkmeyer said.
“These will be outstanding job opportunities out of Idaho Forest Group,” said Todd Jackson, Executive Vice President of the Area Development Partnership. “This is a highly automated, advanced manufacturing facility. Average wage at the facility will be $44,000 a year. That will go up to $55,000, including benefits. To put that in perspective, the average household income is Lumberton, Miss. is $43,000 a year. So, this one job, one employee, will have an average wage that is higher than an entire household income in that community.”
Jackson said IFG is working with a local community college on several workforce training initiatives.
“They are already working with Pearl River Community College to put together the right workforce training package to ensure that those interested in these great job opportunities will have the skills they need to make themselves more employable,” Jackson said.
“We talk about having a career, not a job,” Brinkmeyer said. “If you want a job, we’re not sure we’re the best place to be. We want people who have an appetite to learn, the ability to reason, which means to solve problems and a work ethic.”
IFG has worked with the ADP on this $120 million project for the past several months.
“We’re quite impressed with them,” Brinkmeyer said. “We’ve not had this level of experience before.”
“Idaho Forest Group had their choice of numerous different sites and numerous different communities across several different states in the south, and ultimately, our community shined through, and so we are so proud to play a part in that,” Jackson said.
Construction of the new sawmill is set to begin in early 2021 and is expected to be operational by mid-2022.
Jackson said the project site will be located in between Lumberton and Interstate 59, just along Old Highway 11.
To learn more about IFG’s Lumberton mill, you can visit the company’s website here.