Louisiana Pacific plays a vital role in the community
When industry in Panola County is mentioned, generally oil and gas is the first that comes to mind. But another successful industry in the area is Louisiana Pacific. The 56 acre plant, located just north of the loop on CR 201, manufactures oriented strand board, or OSB, which has become a very popular and cost-effective substitute for plywood.
Louisiana Pacific is the largest manufacturer of OSB in the world with 14 plants in the United States, Canada, Chile and Brazil. Approximately 80% of the OSB made in the plant is used for roof decking and walls in new construction. Much of this roof decking has a foil overlay called TechShield® Radiant Barrier Sheathing which helps block radiant heat from entering the attic and reduces the temperature about 20 degrees. The end result is a more energy efficient home and a lower electric bill. Underlayment, which is primarily used on the upper floor of two story houses, is another product made at the plant. More recently, OSB is being used to make framing for furniture companies such as Ashley. According to Plant Manager Steve Doffitt, "OSB is much more cost effective than plywood because we can take any size tree—we use the first thinning. There is no waste to the logs we use. The bark is used for fuel, a lot of the sawdust is sold, and then everything else is processed into board. If you took all the products that we make, it would translate into approximately 40,000 new homes per year."
Accounting Manager David Fleming put together some statistics that show the importance of the plant's operation to Panola County. "The company maintains 140 permanent jobs with a payroll of over $9 million and a workforce that comes mainly from Panola County. LP pays approximately $500,000 in property taxes, $600,000 in sales taxes, and the accounts payable (supplies purchased to do business) runs a little over $10 million per year. We purchase nearly $19 million worth of logs, much of which comes from Panola County, and that translates into 531 truck loads a week that are needed to operate the plant. With a $250,000 electric bill and $100,000 natural gas bill per month, it's not hard to see that Louisiana Pacific is a big contributor to the local economy. We also make charitable contributions to such organizations as the Carthage Fire Department, Mission Carthage, the Carthage ISD Education Foundation, and the Panola County Livestock Show. We take great pride in our employees in the work they do for the plant and in the community as well."