Type of Event: Study Tour
Topic: Family-Owned Forest Products
Organization: Hampton Lumber
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Host: David Hampton / Co-Owner
International Fellows: Meei-ru Jeng (Taiwan), Xuejiao Li (China), Thammarat Mettanurak (Thailand), Tuan Manh Phan (Vietnam)
WFI Staff: Shadia Duery / International Fellowship Manager
Another week, another fascinating study tour for the World Forest Institute (WFI) International Fellows! In late May, the Fellows visited Hampton Lumber in Willamina, Oregon and were given a guided tour by David Hampton, co-owner (along with his two siblings, Elizabeth and Jamey) and board member. Hampton Lumber is a third-generation, family-owned company and currently has 300 employees. The company was started by David’s grandfather, Bud Hampton, in 1935 and now includes nine sawmills in the U.S. and two in Canada. The sawmill facility in Willamina was purchased in 1942 and currently includes two sawmills: a quad mill built in 1970 designed for 34”-diameter logs and a curved-saw mill from 1997 designed for 18”-diameter logs. Over the years, the Willamina sawmill has changed greatly in terms of safety. The facility has shifted away from production to recovery, and the company has shifted from awarding production bonuses to safety bonuses. This facility is now the top-producing sawmill in the U.S. and ranks 8th globally, with roughly 20% of production used for export to Taiwan and China. Very impressive!
Of course, such high production levels require large amounts of raw materials, along the order of 150 log trucks daily. Hampton Lumber owns over 140,000 acres of forest, but this produces only 10% of the company’s consumption. To fill in the gap, Hampton Lumber purchases timber from the Oregon Department of Forestry, various timber investment management organizations (TIMOs), and small woodlands, engaging in sealed-bid sales when competition for logs is high. Three weeks’ worth of inventory is kept on-hand at the sawmill.
Many thanks to Hampton Lumber for your hospitality and for sharing your knowledge!