GOLDEN, Miss. (WTVA) -- It was tough news for timber growers in north Mississippi when International Paper announced it was closing its Alabama plant.
"Even though the mill had about 1,100 people, I think it will indirectly affect about 5,000," said Don Thompson, forestry consultant.
Thompson has spent his adult life working in the field of forestry as a teacher and in the business world.
He doesn't claim to have a crystal ball, but he admits there could be some problems.
"Well, we really don't know the full impact yet. We know that a mill that is using 400-500 truck loads of wood a day. If that's taken off the market, that wood got to go somewhere and there just aren't the industries in the area to take that much timber up," Thompson continued.
Therefore,Thompson says demand for the wood will likely go down which will cause the price to go down for private landowners who sell the wood to the mills.
That's especially true he says of pulpwood which is used to make paper products.
International Paper is a maker of paper products like copy paper and envelopes.
Thompson says demand for both has been going down the past decade with the rise of electronic filing, communications, and email.
"In addition to just the people who work in the mill, you've got the loggers who work in the woods delivering to the mill. Then you've got the suppliers. To them who supply fuel, supply tires, equipment manufacturers. It just runs the whole scheme of things as far as people who will be impacted by this," Thompson said.
Thompson adds it would take another company to open in the area to ease the recovery from the projected losses to the industry.
Timber consistently ranks in the top three agricultural crops in Mississippi.