More Mississippi logging businesses could shut down if gas prices continue to rise

PARIS, Miss. (WCBI) – As fuel prices climb, small logging businesses throughout Mississippi are seeing their profits drop.

The average price of diesel in Mississippi is about $4.98 a gallon, according to AAA.

“(My friend) wanted to build a house here and he had a place he wanted to cut out (trees) and it’s such a small job, people don’t want to fool with it, so I told him I would try to come help a friend out,” says Calvin Yates, owner of D & C Contractors.

Taking on smaller jobs like the one Monday at a site near Paris, Mississippi, is one of the things Yates has had to do as the price of fuel keeps going up.

“It’s a great impact on your livelihood,” he says. “What little profit there was has dropped tremendously.”

D & C Contractors uses two skidders, one feller buncher, one log loader, one bulldozer and two 18 wheelers for their logging operation.

All of those machines run on diesel fuel.

Yates estimates that fuel accounts for about 60% of his operating costs.

“As far as the machinery goes, we don’t just let them sit and run like we normally do,” he says. “If they’re not working, they’re shut off.”

He says they’re also minimizing the distance they have to transport wood.

“Certain mills in Alabama, which they probably pay a little more but by the fuel prices being more expensive and everything we try to haul to the closest mill possible,” Yates says.

He says the rising fuel prices also make it harder to bring in other trucks to haul the logs. Small logging businesses like his also don’t receive surcharges like the larger companies do.

“I imagine if the fuel keeps going up, there’ll be a lot of people that park their trucks and logging equipment,” Yates says. “Mills are only going to pay so much for the product, so what can you do?”

Yates says that the price of off-road diesel, which is what his logging equipment (except for the 18-wheelers) runs on, is currently $4.39 per gallon in Mississippi. He says if that gets to $5 per gallon, he’ll have to shut down.

Categories: Featured, Local News