Did you know that the forest industry and forest products have a $12.8 billion impact annually on the state of Mississippi? Also, forestry is the #2 commodity, right behind the poultry industry. Each year, $13 million dollars’ worth of forestry revenue gets funneled back into the state’s education funds. Forestry supplies the people of Mississippi with over 70,000 jobs.
Scroll down to learn about two Mississippi landowners who contribute greatly to the state's forestry industry as leaders, landowners and loggers.
Mississippi landowners Vickie Roberts-Ratliff, a fourth-generation timberland owner from Winona, and Ken Martin, president and CEO of Cato-based logging company Mar-Cal Inc., are two of nine forestry professionals featured in the Southern Group of State Foresters’ (SGSF) series of videos, People of Forestry, designed to increase awareness of southern forests and the many professional opportunities they provide.
WATCh the videos
Martin and his two sons manage several hundred acres of timberland, including the land where his father started out in the 1960s. Martin’s family land provides timber for quality wood products; home for healthy cattle; a playground for his grandchildren; and a livelihood and legacy for his entire family.
“Mississippi has one of the biggest timber economies in North America, of which private landowners are the driving force. Roberts-Ratliff and Martin are two great examples of landowners dedicated to conserving their family land and legacy,”
Charlie W. Morgan Jr., former Mississippi Forestry Commission State Forester
Not only does Roberts-Ratliff share her best land and tree farm business practices with others, she also encourages other minority landowners to sustain family forestry legacy. An active volunteer and consultant in Mississippi forestry groups, she understands the economic, environmental and social benefits of having a certified tree farm, which can yield sustainable income and higher prices for timber.
70,000 jobs in forestry (5% of all jobs in MS)
With farming and logging experience totaling over 40 years, Martin has witnessed many changes to the forest industry in the Southeast and understands the challenges that a career in timber production entails. To help conserve his family timberland and the forest industry in the South, Martin continues to work with government and non-government organizations, as well as with his fellow foresters. He serves as president of the Mississippi Loggers Association, chairman of the MFC, and first vice president of the American Loggers Council.
"Our southern region has many passionate, committed foresters, firefighters and landowners. Through this People of Forestry video project, we are proud to showcase some of the industry's top working professionals.”
Joe Fox, Arkansas State Forester and Immediate Past Chair Southern Group of State Foresters
On behalf of SGSF, KPKinteractive traveled to seven of SGSF’s 13 member states to document People of Forestry, using an interview-driven and cinematic style to capture each person’s story. Their video crew captured Martin’s lifelong commitment to the forest product industry at several Rankin County locations and videotaped Roberts-Ratliff’s interactions with other landowners in Montgomery County, including foresters and tourists visiting her homestead.
Mississippi’s forest products industry consists of four major sectors:
Solid Wood Products
Pulp and Paper
Wood furniture, and
Southern forestland measures more than 230 million acres, covering more than 30 percent of the nation’s total forestland and generating more than $200 billion in annual revenue, providing for more than a million jobs. By featuring people of forestry, such as Martin and Roberts-Ratliff, SGSF’s video marketing project seeks to raise general awareness and support for forestry; to better promote all forestry topics for which SGSF is trying to effect change; and to increase awareness among youth to encourage their pursuit of forestry as a career.
To view Martin’s and Roberts-Ratliff’s videos and the entire People of Forestry series, visit the Southern Group of State Foresters’ YouTube channel and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.