Mississippi: Wood Pellet Producing Powerhouse

January 4, 2023

Mississippi is becoming one of the premier sources of sustainable and renewable wood pellets in the world.

Major international wood pellet producing companies are investing billions in the Magnolia State, taking advantage of the tremendous supply of wood and forest products and the state’s unique access to water transportation.

Almost 20 million acres, about 65% of Mississippi’s landmass, are covered with pine and hardwood timber. There are several forestry agencies and organizations in the State, working closely with private and corporate landowners to promote sustainable forest resources and maximize earnings for the owners.

The 234-mile Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway runs from the northeast corner of the state, through the industry-rich “Golden Triangle,” to Mobile’s deep-water port and into the Gulf of Mexico.

On the west, the State is bordered by the mighty Mississippi River, the premier commercial shipping waterway in the U.S., which empties into the Gulf of Mexico, giving Mississippi pellet producers access to water transportation to countries all over the world.

The industry takes wood waste currently left on the forest floor to rot after harvesting and turns it into a valuable asset that tree farmers can sell to pellet producers. This is an environmental plus for a healthy forest, removing waste wood which can become a habitat for destructive beetles and a significant fire hazard.

Wood pellets are burned to produce electricity in formerly coal-burning plants, reducing the environmental damage caused by burning coal. The United Kingdom and Europe are large consumers of these Mississippi grown and manufactured wood pellets.

Wood is “farmed” in Mississippi using good agricultural practices similar to other crops like corn and soybeans. After wood is harvested, property owners plant replacement seedlings, assuring a sustainable and environmentally friendly forest crop.

The emergence of Mississippi as a major wood pellet producer creates a new source of income for tree farmers in an environmentally sensitive and sustainable manner. The substitution of wood pellets for coal to produce electricity is clearly good for the planet.

Wood pellets are a win-win for the state of Mississippi, the state’s timber producers, and the world environment.

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Ian RH Tailyour is a Senior Advisor with BSS Global who advises clients about start-up and international business issues.

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