Martin breaks ground for mill
First new plywood mill in 14 years in Louisiana due at Chopin

The Roy O. Martin Lumber Company, based at Alexandria, Louisiana, last month held formal groundbreaking ceremonies for a $60 million expansion of its plywood manufacturing facility located at Chopin, in southern Natchitoches Parish.

The expansion will take approximately ten months for completion, and will add 100 new jobs, and produce 140 million square feet of plywood. Approximately 150 construction jobs will be created during the ten-month project, according to Roy O. Martin III, company president.

During a brief presentation prior to the ceremonial groundbreaking, Martin acknowledged Natchitoches Parish public officials who were involved in granting Enterprise Zone status for the new project. The presently operating plywood mill on the same site has operated under a similar incentive which abates local property taxes for ten years. Martin said, "I'll be dealing with Dick Hargis (the Natchitoches Parish tax assessor) now that our present plant goes onto the Parish tax rolls."

Martin said the completed operation will employ 450 in manufacturing, require 300 loggers providing wood, and hundreds of suppliers in general, to produce 330 million quare feet--eight million sheets--of plywood, with zero environmental discharge.

President Martin said engineering on the new facility is almost complete, and letting of construction contracts is starting. "This addition will allow us to peel smaller, less expensive timber that is abundant in our company-owned lands to make products in today's panel markets."

The Martin company is one of the largest privately held manufacturing companies in Louisiana, and owns and manages over 600,000 acres of forest lands in the state. The company's dedication to long-term sustainable forest management is demonstrated by the independent certification of the Forest Stewardship Council, Martin said.

Jonathan E. Martin, company chairman and CEO, said, "These are exciting times for our company. With our new OSB production facility currently being constructed in Oakdale, and the expansion of the plywood operation in Chopin, we continue to make significant economic investment in central Louisiana, and look forward to many years of continued success for all stakeholders."

Several state and local dignitaries witnessed the ceremonial groundbreaking. Briefly speaking were also Joe McKay, Chopin mill manager, Martin Chief Operations Officer Scott Poole, State Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Bob Odom, and Senator Mike Smith of Winnfield.

The Martin companies include Roy O. Martin Lumber Co., LLC, Martin Timber Co. LLC, ROMEX World Trade Company LLC, COlfax Treating Co., MARTCO Limited Partnership of Morrow, LA, and MARTCO Limited Partnership of Chopin. The various divisions operate timber land management, and manufacture hardwood lumber, plywood and veneer, landscape timbers, softwood, hardwood, and cypress chips, poles and piling, oriented strand board (OSB).