" We define our landscapes as much as they define us "

Wood Supply Systems

Minority Logging

When Mississippi State University student Orlando Ellerby began his master’s project associated with the long term cost and productivity of logging firms in the Eastern United States, he noticed a huge demographic hole. There were no minority loggers currently participating in the study even though roughly 30% of the logging firms in Mississippi are minority owned. There had been limited participation in the past, but those firms had withdrawn over time. Ellerby’s participation provided a great opportunity for rectifying that situation. A native of Dekalb, Ellerby’s family has been in the logging business for several generations. Having received his bachelor’s in forestry at MSU, his knowledge of the industry and ability to communicate were a natural fit for working with businesses regardless of race. Ellerby’s study--which is the only long term study of the business, production and demographic characteristics of logging firms in the United States--focuses on the business situation, equipment, personnel, challenges, and opportunities of logging businesses. Each contractor is recommended by current participants, state loggers associations or councils, state forestry organizations, and/or industry representatives. Participants must meet certain qualifications including a reputation as a stable business of good standing that maintains good business records, SFI training, compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and a willingness to share information for the betterment of the industry. The contractors are contacted several times and visited at least once a year. The contractors are asked to provide financial and production records quarterly, either directly or through accountants. The identification of how minority loggers’ personal and educational backgrounds play into their choice of business will also be identified in this study. Most of the minority business owners thus far share a common background with other loggers. They hauled short logs with their father or grandfather. Businesses were then expanded into a mechanized, fulltime independent contractor. One expectation from the study is to aid minority participation in the logging and trucking sector.