Randy Piper: Colorado lumber needs a more even playing field | SummitDaily.com

Randy Piper: Colorado lumber needs a more even playing field

We have been providing Colorado “Blue Pine” lumber, log and timber framed homes, and other wood products for about six years now. To say the least it has been very difficult on all fronts. Most media has focused on repeating some the problems, with far too little emphasis on the potential solutions. Ultimately, this forest devastation will cost billions in losses and costs, and we need to set goals to offset some of those costs. There is a tremendous need for PR in the way of education and awareness.

There is far more production capacity than what is indicated in a recent article. Colorado mills can quite easily provide between 9-12 million additional board feet per year – if consumer demand is present. Until consumer demand peaks current production capacities, we should not be concerned with availability.

Further, I continually hear that Colorado lumber is “not competitive,” but never have I seen parameters that explain these statements. Simply put, outside market conditions have created an unsustainable cycle and consequently an unprofitable traditional business model. Lumberyards naturally seek the least expensive products to compete. I can buy imported, government-subsidized Canadian blue-stain lumber for about half the cost of production. How can anyone compete with high production government-subsidized lumber? Big USA mills are forced to compete with Canadian blue stain, and they lose money on every truckload sold. Why would any logger or sawmill want to cut lumber that costs them money instead of making a profit? No wonder the Forest Services is paying loggers to remove timber. And why should the most eco-friendly lumber (that also cost more to produce) be the cheapest wood on the market when other “green certified” lumber costs about 30 percent more than the same lumber that is not certified?

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