Over the last few years, the drought stricken South has performed rain dances, fought over water rights, and held prayer vigils just to get a little water. Those prayers have been answered in 2013. Atlanta is currently at 152% of the normal year-to-date rainfall amount with 13” of extra water. While this is great for recreational boaters and southern peanut farms, it is wreaking havoc on the logging and sawmill industry. Cypress producers have been the hardest hit.

Cypress is niche product used primarily for exterior products due to its decay resistance, attractive grain pattern and color, and stable market pricing. It is particularly popular in the southern coastal regions and is an environmentally friendly alternative to treated lumber and non-timber products. Atlanta Hardwood Corporation is one of the largest distributors of cypress with an annual usage of approximately 8 million board feet.

Summer months typically bring strong demand for the product and drying swamps provide ample supply. While the late winter and early spring months bring flooding and decreased production, we are able to recover in May and begin to rebuild inventory through the summer and fall. This year, the relentless rainfall has left the swamps full of water and the loggers unable to get to the standing timber. The popular show “Swamp Loggers” has even seen its all-star cast pulling from the swamps in pursuit of plantation grown pine… not the norm for July. The result will be little to no product into late summer, short supplies, and increased pricing. Customers that are used to picking length and demanding short lead-times will have their patience tested as the rain saga continues. Those that have supply will be in the driver’s seat. With extensive cypress inventory and innovative mill partners, Atlanta Hardwoods will weather this storm and provide its customers with a continuing supply of quality cypress.

Hal Mitchell
Atlanta Hardwood Corporation