A family-owned forest products company in Wythe County will invest $7.5 million in its Rural Retreat operation, creating 10 new jobs, the governor’s office said Wednesday.
Musser Biomass and Wood Products, a division of Musser Lumber Co., will more than double its production of dried hardwood chips and sawdust, which the company supplies to makers of composite decking and wood pellets as well as to plastic extrusion companies, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office said in a news release. Biomass is organic material, such as wood, burned as fuel to produce energy.
“Musser Biomass and Wood Products will also significantly increase its purchase volumes of hardwood residuals from regional sawmills, which will create a new market for this operational byproduct,” the governor’s office said.
Wood residuals are what’s left over after sawmills cut logs into lumber. In 2020, the company received a state grant to buy a system for drying residuals. Now, Musser Biomass plans to buy a second such system and open a pulpwood and log yard to supply its dryer operations.
“We continue to execute our long-term plans to make Musser Biomass and Wood Products the top source for hardwood fiber solutions in the biomass industry,” company president Ed Musser said in the release.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Wythe County and the Joint Industrial Development Authority on the expansion. Youngkin approved a $75,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which Wythe County will match with local funds, according to the release.
Musser Lumber was founded in 1968 by Mike Musser and his sons Ed and Mick. The firm specializes in the drying, surfacing and planing of hardwood lumber for flooring and paneling, according to the release. The family established Musser Biomass and Wood Products in 2020.
“When Musser Lumber Company and Musser Biomass and Wood Products grow, it’s good for the people of Wythe County and all of Southwest Virginia,” David Kause, chairman of the Joint Industrial Development Authority of Wythe County, said in the release.