Photo: Kevin Barfield, Manager of the Weyerhaeuser Pearl River Nursery, describes the process of seedling production for Mississippi pine trees to visiting international trade delegates during MDAC’s Mississippi Inbound Trade Mission and Timber Products Showcase. (MDAC photo)
This week, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) and the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) hosted timber buyers from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, United Kingdom, Spain and Vietnam.
“Forestry is Mississippi’s third largest agricultural sector, and I am delighted with the efforts put forward by our agency’s Timber Commerce Division to host multiple trade delegates from several countries,” said Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson. “This historic, cooperative project has brought together stakeholders with the purpose of strengthening Mississippi’s timber industry and opening important international trade markets that have been untapped by our producers statewide.”
The trade delegation toured Jones Lumber Company in Natchez, Weyerhaeuser Pearl River Nursery in Hazlehurst and Thomasson Lumber Company in Macon before attending the first-ever Mississippi Timber Products Showcase at the Mississippi Trade Mart. During the showcase, these international trade delegates held business to business meetings and visited with Mississippi timber exporters from around the state.
MDAC provided the visiting timber buyers with a look into the entire process of Mississippi’s timber industry from seedling to sawmill. In addition to leaders in the timber industry and top logging companies, trade delegates and exporters alike met with logistics experts in transportation and international shipping ports located in the state. The tours included demonstrations from harvesting outfits, as well as translating facilities, of hardwoods and southern yellow pine softwoods, which exhibited the extensive capacity and sustainability of Mississippi timber.
“It was a pleasure to represent the Port of Gulfport at the Mississippi Timber Product Showcase and highlight the role we can play in helping connect international consumers with high quality Mississippi goods. By working together with thriving Mississippi industries such as forest products, we can continue to drive growth for the state’s economy and create great jobs for Mississippians,” said Jon Nass, CEO & Executive Director of Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport.
“We were honored to participate in the first Mississippi State organized Timber conference where we had the opportunity to connect and interact with some of our trading partners and were exposed to potential business that will expand our commercial base and increase exports. Our sincere thanks to Ginger Williamson from the Department of Agriculture for the invitation to a well-organized event,” said Rafael Quesada, Director of Trade Development with the Port of Pascagoula. “We saw a lot of interest from several participating parties and are hopeful for the continued development of these newfound relationships across the waters.”