Reports are still coming in about damage from Hurricane Laura. We do know there is some downed timber. In some cases, there are losses to timber acreage. The LSU Ag Center says companies and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry are conducting aerial surveys. This is all happening as the industry is facing a backlog in prices to show for it.
Matt Dorsch is working on some home improvements as he’s putting up a new fence in Northern Indiana.
“We are all stuck at home and [we have to get] something to do,” says Mishawaka, Indiana resident, Matt Dorsch. “Home improvement it is!”
Yet, he had a harder time getting access to lumber.
“I was able to get what I needed but it was very slim pickings,” says Dorsch.
That's the situation for many throughout the country. According to madisonsreport.com, for the week ending August 28, lumber prices are up 50% to more than 200% over one year ago depending on the type and location.
“Nationwide, they are at record levels we’ve never seen before,” says Marc Measells, a senior extension associate with the Department of Forestry at Mississippi State University.
Measells says there are a couple of reasons why. Mills initially shut down, more homes are being built and more people are remodeling their homes. He says it doesn’t help there are transportation issues.
National reporter Betsy Jibben asks, “Has the supply chain caught up?” Measells says, “No, not really. In most states, the mills are back up in full operation. In a lot of states, the mills were shut down for four to six weeks.”
Lumber futures are started to tumble. There are also tariffs on some Canadian lumber as well.
K-Wood Products Company Incorporated is located in South Bend, Indiana. Janet Ericson, with the company, says the pricing from its distributors are the highest the company has seen but business is the busiest it’s been since the company was founded.
“In our 63 years of business, we’ve never seen price increases like we have in the last couple of months,” says Ericson.
Ericson says it's taking much longer, in some cases weeks, to receive certain types of lumber from the company's distributors. Yet, consumers are buying and business is booming.
“[We are] very, very busy with the pandemic and consumers looking for wood for projects,” says Erickson. “It’s just been very hectic.”
It’s the hope buyers like Dorsch will continue to work on some projects, even when the weather starts to change.