Dennis Cuffley, Daniel Couturier and Dave Steeves in front of J.D. Irving’s veneer mill.
J.D. IRVING—Attaining, Maintaining, and Sustaining
By Terry Miller
St. John, N.B.—Year after year J.D. Irving Limited has proven to be a good steward of the forest by sustainably managing in terms of harvesting, reforestation, habitat protection and an ongoing investment in eco-system research. The company owns and manages over 5.6 million acres of timberland. All of the land that is owned or managed by the company is certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). In Maine, the company’s woodlands are also Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. The forest products supplier continues to reinvest in their operations by maintaining up-to-the-minute technology in equipment, products and services. An unwavering commitment to customer service is supported by responsible forest management and ongoing investments in the skill of people and new technology. It is a recipe that has years.
Irving’s General Manager of the Hardwood and Cedar division, Daniel Couturier, said the company recently made another capital investment by installing PHL International’s bull edger and an optimizing board edger at their veneer siding sawmill. He said the primary reasons for the new equipment were to improve yield and “to generate higher quality lumber for our customers. The PHL bull edger and optimizing edger increased our productivity, but more important improved the quality of our product and increased yields.
J.D. Irving Ltd. recently made another capital investment by installing PHL International’s bull edger and an optimizing board edger at their veneer siding sawmill division.
“We’re getting more No. 1 Common and Selects out of our cants, but it also gives us more sawing capacities for different patterns. The bull edger gives us an opportunity to change the process on the head rigs. It’s changing the process of the entire mill,” he continued.
“The sawing variation and consistency of the lumber products that comes out of the bull is a lot better than going through a reman or merry-go-round system to a resaw,” Cuffley added. “Everybody is trained to make sure we are maximizing the value of each board, by making the decision to go to the bull edger or the line bar resaw. Our customers have confidence in the Irving’s because of their integration from timber holdings to processing a multitude of hardwood and softwood lumber products.” Production at the two Hardwood mills is 55 percent Hard Maple and 35 percent Yellow Birch and 10 percent Soft Maple. “Our hardwood production is approximately 55 million board feet a year, of which, we dry eight million board feet. All of our No. 2 Common and Better green lumber is stacked on Breeze DriedTM sticks through the entire drying process to prevent sticker shadow. Furthermore, it is waxed on both ends to prevent end splitting or surface checking. We take every precaution to ensure the integrity of the products we produce.”
Serving a mix of distribution yards and end users, Sales Manager Dennis Cuffley said “80 percent is direct to the end users and the remaining 20 percent is going to our distribution yard customers and the overseas market. About 95 percent of our production is distributed in Canada and the U.S.,” he explained. “The remainder is shipped to Asia. The types of high and low grade end users we supply include: truck and residential flooring, furniture, cabinet, rail tie and pallet manufacturers. We are also providing S2S and S4S lumber products for the retail lumberyards and retail stores.”
All employees at J.D. Irving are trained to make sure they are maximizing the value of each board, by making the decision to go to the bull edger or the line bar resaw.
Approximately 72 employees make up the team at J.D. Irving’s veneer sawmill and currently the operation is running two shifts. According to Daniel, the downturn of the market hasn’t affected J.D. Irving’s Veneer mill. “This mill hasn’t slowed down,” he said. “We attribute our continued success to a combination of excellent customer relationships, diversification and technology. Getting close to our customers, listening to their needs as a supplier, and becoming a part of the solution have been paramount for us. Continuing to diversify ourselves and doing exactly what the customer requests, has played a large role in our success.”
“On the marketing side, Irving is aware that the global market is a moving target,” Cuffley added. “It’s a lucrative market and if we want to take advantage of it, we have to be very patient. It’s a new culture, a new way of doing things, but the future is this global market and we have to adapt to it.”
“You can have the best equipment in the world, but if you don’t have the right people in place to operate, manage and maintain it, you will not be successful,” Daniel said.
Finding a better way, everyday is the shared passion of JDI employees. It applies to their efforts in the business, the environment and the communities where employees live and work.
Pauline Caron is the lumber grader at the value-added plant.
The company continually seeks innovative ways to successfully reduce its footprint on air, land and water. Investments in energy efficiency and carbon-neutral biomass fuel sources have achieved an 86,000 tons reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (2008-2010) – eliminating the burning of 26 million liters of heavy oil annually. In addition, 90% of the mills solid wastes are diverted from landfills. Irving’s Pulp & Paper’s $45 million investment over the last three years in a new lime kiln and SO2 Scrubber for the Recovery Boiler resulted in an 83 percent reduction (2,700 tons per year) in sulfur dioxide emissions, as well as 78 percent reduction (25,000 tons per year) in solid waste from lime kilns and a 28 percent reduction in particulate matter to further reduce air emissions. No longer sent to landfills, the lime by-product from the pulp mill is approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for use on farmer’s fields as a soil enhancement. Irving Tissue annually recycles over 45 tons of scrap metal which eliminates over 70 million tons to landfills annually.
The company is a leader in reforestation having planted over 840 million trees since 1957. Significant annual investments are made in forest research to better understand and protect biodiversity as well as to ensure healthy, productive forests for the future. The company is active in the study and management of quality hardwood stands. In 2010, the company’s seedlings were part of a scientific study undertaken aboard the NASA space shuttle. Other forest initiatives on their land include: over 700 irreplaceable sites of ecological and historical importance are protected on the woodlands Irving owns or manages.
J.D. Irving’s computerized grading station.
Protecting water quality and Wild Atlantic Salmon is also an important issue at J.D. Irving, Ltd. The company has been recognized publicly for its efforts through awards such as the national Government of Canada’s Recreational Fisheries Award; the Atlantic Salmon Federation honored their research and conservation efforts and the Miramichi Salmon Association bestowed a lifetime achievement award along with the Gulf of Maine's Visionary Award.
They are also implementing an internal water recovery and filtration system to reduce water consumption by 25 percent at Irving Tissue in Saint John. Also active in researching and conserving endangered coastal eco-systems and the wildlife and plants that depend on this unique habitat, they work with several environmental organizations like the Nature Conservancy to protect ecologically sensitive areas. The company has also shown its dedication to give back to communities with charitable donations, volunteer efforts and sponsorships in the areas of education, health & wellness, environment, recreation and community spirit. Among these efforts is an international award winning mentorship program for young students.
J.D. Irving Ltd. is a member of the National Hardwood Lumber Assoc. (NHLA), Canadian Lumbermen’s Assoc., New England Lumberman’s Assoc., Quebec Pallet Assoc., and the Wood Component Manufacturers Assoc.