An aerial photo shows the Buckhorn facility in Millersburg, Ohio.
Yoder Brings Appalachian Hardwoods To The World By Paul Miller Jr.
Millersburg, Ohio—Since 1944, Yoder Lumber Company Inc., headquartered here, has strived to give customers the type of products and service they are entitled to — the first time and every time — in the United States and around the globe.
Yoder Lumber and its sister company, a Parkersburg, W.Va.-based log distribution yard called Rolling Ridge Woods Ltd., are longtime indirect exporters of Appalachian hardwood lumber and logs through a number of U.S. and Canadian exporters. However, in 2003, the companies decided to actively research and develop an export presence in Europe and Asia, and have worked closely to develop those markets.
Located on the western edge of the Appalachian region, Yoder Lumber produces and markets Appalachian hardwood lumber and dimension parts in standard grades and thicknesses. The firm specializes in Red and White Oak, Cherry, Poplar, Walnut, Hard and Soft Maple, Hickory, Sycamore, Grey and Red Elm, Ash, Beech and Basswood, and offers width and color sorting, ripping, surfacing and custom moulding profiles. Rolling Ridge Woods specializes in Appalachian veneer and saw logs.
This aerial photo shows the Berlin facility.
Yoder Lumber established an overseas customer base by exhibiting at larger trade shows in Germany and China. Through a commitment to quality and customer service, the firm anticipates growing the business slowly with long-term customer relationships. The company has established a sales office in Taiwan to continue to maintain its presence and offer customers the service they expect and deserve. Yoder exhibits in one trade show per year in China, and has participated in additional shows in Taiwan, Japan and a trade mission to India.
“Yoder Lumber Co. Inc. and Rolling Ridge Woods Ltd. are committed to servicing the export markets with the same vigor we service our domestic business,” said Melvin J. Yoder, chief executive officer and vice president. “Although we do not have any overseas facilities, we are continuing to research the possibility of partnering with an existing company in China to better serve our growing customer base.
“We have been very fortunate to have developed a Taiwanese sales and marketing staff to serve all of the Asian markets we have developed,” Yoder said. “This office is staffed by two multilingual individuals with the same dedication to the customer as exemplified by both Yoder Lumber Co. and Rolling Ridge Woods. The European markets have proven to be more challenging to develop, but we are forecasting an expanding growth in our Asian business.”
The U.S.-based sales staff travels to Asia at least twice a year, and is trained and experienced
This is an aerial view of the Charm, Ohio, facility.
with National Hardwood Lumber Assoc. (NHLA) lumber grades. The entire sales team either graduated from the NHLA Inspection School in Memphis, Tenn., or continued their education in short courses.
“In addition to specialized training to produce the highest quality of material possible, we are blessed with a predominantly Amish workforce that takes personal pride in the quality of products manufactured, a trait that in many ways is inherent to their culture,” Yoder said.
Yoder Lumber was founded in 1944 by John Yoder, who began with a portable sawmill that he used to saw construction lumber for local farmers. The business grew and he ventured into buying timber from landowners and sawing furniture grade lumber and railroad ties. In 1956, Yoder built a facility on his farm and operated both a stationary and portable mill. His sons took ownership in the 1960s, and the third generation is now being groomed to manage and grow the business.
Yoder Lumber operates three production plants in Charm, Buckhorn and Berlin, Ohio. The company annually produces approximately 22 million board feet of lumber at these facilities, and exports nearly 2 million boar
Workers load a container at the Yoder Lumber Co.’s Berlin, Ohio, facility. Yoder is headquartered in Millersburg, Ohio.
d feet per year.
The Charm sawmill, which produces 6 to 7 million board feet annually, features such equipment as a Cleereman linear position carriage with a Silvatech scanner, 6-foot Salem band headrig, Crosby edgers and double end trimmer, Edmiston circle mill and Brewco narrow band resaw.
In Buckhorn, Yoder Lumber operates two bandmills, which manufacture approximately 6 to 7 million board feet annually. The first mill features a Western Monarch 6-foot headrig containing a 42-inch Salem carriage with Silvatech linear positioners, Cornell edger and HMC trimmer. The second mill offers a 7-foot Salem headrig with 42-inch Filer and Stowell carriage with Silvatech linear positioner, Crosby edger, Irvington Moore predryer and dry kiln, which offer 850,000 board feet and 1.8 million board feet of dry storage and distribution capacity, respectively.
In 2005, Yoder Lumber moved its retail operation to Buckhorn, as a means to reduce transportation costs and boost the amount of available inventory space. A year prior, a Morris Industrial Corp. 45-bin sorter became operational at the facility. According to Trent Yoder, operations manager at Buckhorn, since the installation, “production of graded and sorted lumber, kiln dried and green, has increased to 70,000 board feet per day.” The company also changed its on stick program from a 42-inch pack to a 72-inch pack, w
A collection of veneer logs at the Rolling Ridge Woods facility in Parkersburg, West Virginia, is shown.
hich will increase kiln capacity, and make it easier to move the quantity of lumber produced.
The Berlin facility houses the corporate offices and is home to the firm’s dimension plant, which specializes in glued panels, squares and different moulded products made primarily from Red Oak, Beech and Poplar. This summer, the manufacturing facility was expanded to 44,000 square feet to accommodate the growing dimension business, optimize manufacturing facilities, provide more finished goods warehousing and allow for additional office space. The Berlin facility has three American Wood Dryer aluminum kilns with a capacity of 230,000 board feet plus additional dry storage space for 250,000 board feet.
In October 2000, a rough mill line was installed in Berlin that contains a double-sided, self-centering planer, Progressive optimizing gang rip saw and a Barr-Mullin Brute optimizing defect saw. In addition, there are three glue clamp carriers, one planer, one planer sander, a moulder, a number of chop saws for specialty items and a cut-up shop.
In the future, Yoder Lumber plans to replace and expand the aging sawmill facilities in Buckhorn to increase efficiency and quality. The firm is also continuing to expand its export market presence with an emphasis on Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Although registered as a Master Logger through the Ohio Forestry Assoc., Yoder
A loaded dry kiln is shown at the Berlin yard.
Lumber has long adhered to the requirements of the program. The company manages over 1,700 acres of its own timberlands, and takes measures to ensure productive harvesting for many years to come. Three contract loggers are relied upon to supply logs to sawmill operations while adhering to strict harvesting standards.
In addition to Mel Yoder, key executives include Eli J. Yoder, president; Roy J. Yoder, vice president; Ken Grate, human resources director; Nathan Yoder, chief financial officer; Craig Yoder, operations manager at Charm; Trent Yoder, operations manager at Buckhorn; Tony Yoder, operations manager at Berlin; and Ryan Yoder, procurement manager for timber and logs land.
Other key employees include Shawna Chou, Taiwan sales representative; Paul Dow, export sales manager for dimension products, green and kiln dried lumber for export; Gene Walters, Rolling Ridge Woods export sales manager; Karl Schmertzler, domestic and international lumber sales; Jay Miller, Mahlon Beachy and Dick Goldsmith, retail sales.
Yoder Lumber is a member of the NHLA, Wood Component Manufacturers Asso
A partial fleet of Yoder Lumber Co.’s trucks is shown above.
c. (WCMA), Hardwood Manufacturers Assoc. (HMA), Ohio Forestry Assoc., Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen's Assoc. (IHLA), Wood Products Manufacturers Assoc. (WPMA) and the Appalachian Manufacturers Assoc. Members of senior management are also actively involved in various community and social organizations on a local, national and worldwide basis.