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Agri-business of the year announced
Posted 03 - 28 - 2008
Pictured above, Leon Ray leads the 2007 Ag Tour of Cal-Tex.
Photo by Bruce Partain.

Nacogdoches – The Agriculture Committee of Nacogdoches County names Cal-Tex Lumber Company, Inc. as Agri-business of the Year.

The company will be honored at the seventh annual Agriculture Appreciation and Awards Banquet, Monday, March 31, at The Fredonia.

Cal-Tex has roots in California, as the name implies. The company was formed by the Schmidbauer family who have operated sawmills on the West Coast for many years. When expansion was needed in the 1980s, Nacogdoches was chosen.

“The spotted owl situation shut down all government lands to the timber business in the late 80s [in California] and that impacted the amount of timber available for harvest,” said Cal-Tex General Manager Leon Ray. “After studying the timber availability and timber ownership patterns across the U.S., it was determined that Nacogdoches presented the best opportunity for the family to expand their sawmill business.”

In 1987, land was purchased south of the Nacogdoches Loop and construction of Cal-Tex Lumber Company began.

“It was about this time that Art Patterson married Susie Schmidbauer, and they moved from California to Nacogdoches to help manage the construction and operation of the company. Initial construction was completed in November 1988, and the first lumber was produced and sold,” Ray said.

The company’s main product is finished Southern Yellow Pine dimension lumber. Dimension lumber is defined as lumber that is two inches thick and can range from four to twelve inches wide. Cal-Tex produces lumber up to 24 feet in length – in two foot multiples. Also, Cal-Tex produces a limited amount of four-by-four inch posts and industrial lumber from Southern Yellow Pine. The industrial lumber is free of defects such as knots, splits and pitch pockets and is used where appearance is important that include door and window parts and mouldings.

When product leaves the facility, it can be delivered directly to the construction site.

“Over 75 percent of the lumber produced at Cal-Tex stays in Texas,” Ray said. “The long-length lumber is not produced by many other sawmills in the South and it is shipped into several other states. The industrial lumber is shipped not only nation-wide, but also to other countries where lack of defects and appearance of pine is valued.”

All of the raw timber comes from East Texas growers. Cal-Tex does not own any timberland. According to Ray, by offering additional competition for the timber grown in the area, Cal-Tex has helped increase the value of the resource.

In production, thin saws follow the natural curve of the logs and recover the most lumber possible, thereby conserving the resource and maximizing the amount paid to the growers. In other production phases, computers, laser lights, scanners and other highly-technical equipment is used to assist the operators in minimizing waste.

“Nothing is thrown away. Any waste from turning logs in to lumber is either used on site to produce energy or sold to make other products,” Ray said.

Cal-Tex continues to work to become as energy independent as possible. Ray said an example would be burning by-products like sawdust to produce steam that then dries the lumber. That one process minimizes the need to purchase natural gas.

The company is exploring new products. With the ability to manufacture many different lumber sizes and lengths, Cal-Tex has the flexibility to pursue markets that most sawmills can not.

The agriculture banquet begins with social hour at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Dr. Archie P. McDonald will present “East Texas Gothic: History of Nacogdoches County Agriculture.”

Tickets for the Agriculture Appreciation and Awareness Banquet are $20 each and may be purchased by contacting the Chamber at 560-5533.

The Agriculture Committee of Nacogdoches County produces the agriculture banquet. It is a cooperative effort of local agencies that include Nacogdoches County Farm Bureau, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Forest Service, SFA Agriculture Department, NEDCO and Nacogdoches County Chamber.
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