October 2012

Beasley Forest Products

THE PROJECT

In October 2012, AMCREF Community Capital (AMCREF) provided $14.6 million of New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing to two subsidiaries of Beasley Forest Products and its affiliates (Beasley). Beasley owns and operates various sustainable timber related businesses across rural, highly distressed communities in Southern Georgia. Beasley is the 2nd largest private employer in a county with an unemployment rate of 14.5% at the time of AMCREF’s investment. Therefore, Beasley’s economic stability is vital to the region.

Beasley is an innovative forestry company whose operations include sawmills, wood pellets (for renewable energy), timberland and environmental remediation products. The company is also engaged in logging and timberland management. Beasley has an ownership interest in numerous sawmills as well as two pellet mills. Beasley was in need of low cost NMTC financing to reduce its high debt costs in order to expand operations, including constructing a new wood pellet mill, which generated an additional 80 FTEs and a significant number of construction jobs for the economically depressed region. Beasley owns approximately 24,000 acres of timberland and is committed to good environmental stewardship by participating in the Sustainable Forest Initiative (“SFI”) certification program.

COMMUNITY IMPACT

  • Job Creation and Support: Beasley maintains over 690 FTEs at Beasley and over 100 FTEs via third party contractors. Creates 80 FTEs at the new pellet mill. Beasley provides health benefits, job training and pays average wages well above the regional living wage.
  • Environmental Benefits: Beasley currently generates 295,000 metric tons of wood pellets / year. The new $70mm Hazlehurst pellet mill will produce an additional 500,000 tons / year and is expected to be operational in 2015. Use of wood pellets for energy generation provides a baseload source of renewable energy and reduces water and air pollution (including carbon and mercury emissions). Beasley’s sustainable forestry practices are SFI compliant, resulting in a net “carbon sink” because SFI practices plant more trees than are harvested every year.
  • Community Impacts: Beasley is the 2nd largest private employer in a community with few employment opportunities. Commended locally for their work with community leaders as well as providing high quality jobs, advancement opportunities and fair and reasonable hiring practices.
  • Economic Impact / Catalytic Effects: Tax base of the local area is highly dependent on Beasley as one of the largest employers in the nine counties that comprise its operations. The continued employment of almost 700 employees at above average wages will mean not only tax revenues from income and sales taxes, but also less stress on unemployment, food stamp and other entitlements programs in the region. Beasley is strongly supported by regional and local government leaders and economic development groups.