New Details on $240 Million Sawmill in Bienville Parish

(Site of the new sawmill in Taylor)

The new Hunt Forest Products Sawmill in Taylor will be the largest new industrial project in the parish in recent memory. 

On September 8, Richie LeBlanc, President of Hunt Forest Products, gave a presentation to the Bienville Parish Police Jury on the new sawmill which will be built in Taylor.  Click Here to see the full presentation. LeBlanc said, “We’re excited to be in Taylor, Louisiana, in Bienville Parish.”  Hunt hopes to start pouring concrete in May, 2022, with a startup in April or May of 2023.  Construction is expected to take about a year.

The original sawmill on the site required log trucks to cross the mail Kansas City Southern rail line, which was dangerous.  The entrance to the new sawmill is slated to be located east of the Hwy 80 bridge in Taylor, which will allow log trucks to enter the sawmill without crossing the rail line.  Rather than using Pete Lyons Road, which is a public road, Hunt plans to build their own road through the sawmill property. (see sawmill schematic below)  This offers more surge capacity to keep the trucks off of the highway and to avoid crossing the main rail line.  They have a rail spur and two 35-ton cranes.  The estimated turnaround time from scale to scale will be about 12 to 14 minutes.  This will be a double line sawmill rather than a single line, which means log trucks will be in two lines to deliver logs to the sawmill rather than one.  This double line will expedite the unloading process.  

There will be an enormous increase of traffic on the east side of the Hwy 80 bridge.  Hunt is working with the Louisiana Department of Transportation to work on ways to solve the traffic issues.  The mill will be about 33 miles west of Ruston.  The proximity to I-20 is one of the key reasons why Hunt decided to build the sawmill in Bienville Parish on the I-20 corridor. 

The mill will run 4 days a week in two 10 hour shifts (80 hours per week).  This state-of-the-art sawmill will require only five people in the actual sawmill from the time the stem hits the deck to the time a forklift driver pulls the lumber out of the stacker to go into the kilns.  The maintenance, electrical and programmer staff are who make mills such as this run.  Hunt will be working with Delta Community College in Minden to ensure that they develop a curriculum which will benefit those seeking employment in modern sawmills such as the one in Taylor. Hunt has been successful in the past at hiring graduates from these programs to work in their sawmills.

The sawmill will consume:

  • 1.3 Million Metric tons of logs annually
  • 40,000 loads of logs annually
  • 800 loads of logs per week
  • 80-90 loads of residuals per week

The forest resource surrounding Taylor, LA is primarily comprised of southern yellow pine, with a smaller component of oak/hickory and oak/gum/cypress types.  Southern yellow pine forest types cover 53% of the total timberland area while hardwood and mixed hardwood-conifer forest types cover the remaining 47%.

Facts about the new sawmill:

  • Location:  1643 Highway 80, Gibsland, LA; site of the former Weyerhaeuser Taylor Sawmill
  • Acreage: 255 acres, including the existing Taylor sawmill site and adjacent timber land
  • Construction Start: First Quarter of 2022
  • Estimated Completion and Operation: Second Quarter of 2023
  • Cost: Approximately $240 million
  • Employees: 60 at initial operation; 130 at full operation
  • Indirect Jobs: 300+during construction
  • Average wage: Close to $20 per hour
  • Production Capacity: 320 million board feet annually
  • Timber Requirements: 1.3 million tons annually
  • Log Dimensions: Maximum butt diameter: 20 inches, Minimum tip diameter: 6 inches. Maximum log length: 65 feet, Minimum log length: 20 feet.
  • Workforce Training: Louisiana Department of Economic Development FastStart workforce development program, in coordination with Bossier Parish Community College
  • Ownership: 50/50 joint ownership between Hunt Forest Products of Ruston, LA, and Tolko Industries Ltd. of Vernon, British Columbia.  Hunt will manage and operate the mill day-to-day.

About Hunt Forest Products

Hunt Forest Products L.L.C. is a full service wood products company founded in 1978 with the purpose of providing quality products and superior service.  We manufacture a variety of plywood, lumber, and other specialty wood products, and whatever the specification, we can meet your needs.  Hunt Forest Products is a family owned and operated company practicing sustainable forestry, and we are certified by the American Tree Farm System and APA – The Engineered Wood Association.  For more information, visit

About Tolko

Tolko is a leading manufacturer of a wide range of forest products for customers around the world, including lumber, plywood and veneer oriented strand board co-products, biomass power and a growing number of specialty wood products.  For more than 60 years, our family-owned company has delivered reliability, flexibility, efficiency, and quality.  We hold third-party certification on the forestlands we sustainably manage in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, and we play an active role in the communities where our employees live and work.  For more information, visit

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