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MDARD grant will help Iron River sawmill modernize, expand operations

LANSING — The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development has approved a $50,000 Food and Agriculture Investment Program grant for Shamco Lumber Inc. of Iron River.

The performance-based grant will help advance a $1.96 million project to modernize and expand the sawmill’s operations and lead to the creation of four jobs.

The expansion and upgrade project will allow the mill to offer year-round sawing of all types of hardwood trees, unlike the current equipment, which primarily is limited to softer basswood

It also will include the addition of a de-barker, metal detector and chip screening system, which will make higher-value clean chips –without bark, to size specifications — for use by Upper Peninsula paper mills.

“This project will have an economic rippling effect throughout the region,” said Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “In addition to elevating the quality and variety of materials coming out of the mill and creating new jobs, this project will open new market opportunities for things like flooring, cabinetry and the U.P.’s iconic hardwood sport flooring industry.”

Forest landowners in the region will benefit as well from the mill’s modernization and increased capacity. Additional hardwood sawlog processing will give many forest owners increased access to a higher value sawlog market as they consider their forest management decisions.

Shamco Inc. is a full-service logging, timber harvesting and trucking company. It was established in 1997 by Jerry Shamion and his sons Todd, Scott, Eric and Ryan. In 2018, the Shamions partnered with Jon Richter, formerly of J&K Lumber, to purchase and incorporate an existing sawmill, now known as Shamco Lumber, as a value-added complement to the family business.

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