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Black Hills sawmills reducing hours and shifts

Sawmill in Hill City
Seth Tupper
/
SDPB
A sawmill worker in Hill City before the mill closed in 2021.

Neiman Enterprises announced it will reduce employee hours and shifts at its Spearfish and Hulett, Wyoming, sawmills. The company blames logging restrictions in the Black Hills.

The lumber and sawmill company is one of the largest procurers of federal timber in the United States, with most of the lumber coming from the Black Hills National Forest.

Neiman Enterprises also blamed restrictions from the U.S. Forest Service last year when the company closed Rushmore Forest Products in Hill City, putting 120 people out of work.

Conservationists, environmentalists and some former Forest Service employees have disputed the company's claims, saying the forest is being over-logged. The Forest Service's own studies have called for a reduction in logging to ensure the long-term health of the forest.

Jim Neiman, president of Neiman Enterprises, said the company will continue to work with the Forest Service to promote responsible use of the forest’s resources.

“While we may not agree with the reduction of timber harvest that led to these curtailments, we are committed to our partnerships with all stakeholders, including the local, regional and national levels of the U.S. Forest Service, and will continue to work side-by-side with them to maintain the health of the Black Hills National Forest,” he said.

CEO Steve Henson added the company is looking for ways to improve its environmental impact.

“Neiman Enterprises is pursuing an updated stewardship-driven model of fostering health and resilience in the lands we help manage, and we are obligated to balance the needs of our families with the needs of our forest,” he said.

Neiman Enterprises also has sawmills in Colorado and Oregon.

Jordan is a senior English and journalism major at SDSU in Brookings. She is from De Smet, South Dakota. She is based out of the Sioux Falls studio.
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