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Forest Economics and Policy Research Unit

U.S. Wood-Using Mill Locations - 2005

Jeffrey Prestemon, John Pye, James Barbour, Gerald R. Smith, Peter Ince, Carolyn Steppleton, and Weihuan Xu

map of continental U.S. showing location of mills

Purpose | Source & Scope | Data Currency | Geolocation | Records & Fields | File Formats | Download Options | Related Resources

to top of pagePurpose

These data were assembled as part of a study of the likely economic impacts of biomass removals to mitigate wildfire damages, termed the "EBR" or "Economics of Biomass Removals" study. The study spans the continental United States and requires matching areas needing fuels treatment with nearby wood-using mills. The mill location data here update and expand the spatial scope of several earlier datasets made available on this web site: the Mill Locations Eastwide 1999 dataset based on data from the late 1990's, the Southern Chip Mills 1998 dataset and the Southern Chip Mills 2000 dataset.

Although collected to address our own research needs, it is anticipated that the maps and datasets offered here will prove useful in a variety of tasks: landowners and loggers seeking nearby mills to market their logs, businesses looking for manufacturers of pulp, lumber, and other wood products, or analysts looking to relate mill locations to forest conditions.

The bottom of this page contains links to download this most-recent dataset. Also there are links to formal metadata files. This page offers a less formal description of the data, where they came from, and how they should be interpreted.

to top of pageSource and Scope

This dataset is based on information collected by mill data managers in Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Units as well as collaborators in the Texas Forest Service, the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), and the Focused Science Delivery Program of the Pacific Northwest Research Station (details below). Together the data describe wood-demanding mills of the continental United States. Because our interest was in locations which might purchase logs, we restricted our data to primary wood processors. That means we only included mills that purchase logs or chips and excluded secondary processors of wood, such as paper mills that buy market pulp or rely entirely on recycled fiber.

Mill data managers rely heavily on data reported by the various states. Because data reporting criteria vary by state, state-by-state comparisons should be approached with caution. For example, Mississippi reports sawmills down to 100 thousand board feet (mbf) while Florida tracks sawmills down to 50 mbf capacity. Texas has no size limit on the mills it reports.

Mill Data Manager
Data Provided Email
Carolyn Steppleton
Southern mills email Carolyn
Chris Edgar
Texas mills email Chris
Gerald R. Smith
Western mills email Gerald
Ron McRoberts
North Central mills email Ron
Bruce Hansen
Northeastern mills email Bruce
Peter Ince
pulp mills from all regions email Peter

to top of pageData Currency

These data were collected from different sources, each with their own currentness. Data on pulp mills across the continental United States were based on best available information as of February 2005. Data on other mills in Western states and in Texas were collected in 2004. Data on other mills from the remaining Southern states were collected from 1999 to 2001. Mill data for northern and north central states have thus far not been updated since our previous 2000 dataset, so mill data in these states are derived from data collected between 1994 and 1998. However, data for pulp mills in this and all the other regions were updated based on an FPL survey conducted in 2000. Some mills may have closed or idled, relocated, or changed their name or address since their information was collected. For pulp mills some effort was made to update their name, address and operational status as of 2005. This was not undertaken for other mill types.

See Southern Pulpwood Production, 2008 for updated information on pulpmills in the Southern United States, including the map on page 4 and a table starting on page 40.

to top of pageGeolocation

Collaborators provided information on mill type, name, and address to J. Prestemon and J. Pye in the research unit "Economics of Forest Protection and Management." To map the locations of the mills, they employed the geocoding services of Tele Atlas North America, formerly ETAK, Inc. The service estimated latitude and longitude for each mill and provided the county FIPS code and Census tract and block identifiers corresponding to that location. Coordinate information was input into ArcGIS to create a GIS coverage and other derivative products.

When mapped, multiple mills can occur at exactly the same place. In this case only one of the mills may be visible. This is particularly the case when mill addresses only offer Post Office Box numbers, a common procedure. If the geocoding service could not identify an actual street address, it provided a location based on the zipcode. Thus all mill addresses reporting Post Office box numbers in the same zipcode will have identical locations. Users are encouraged to check the tabular information (for example, the dBase file) for the complete information.

On the other hand, a given company may operate diverse processing equipment from a single location. If they purchase timber at a single location under one company name, they will likely be listed as a single mill.

to top of pageRecords and Fields

The ArcGIS coverages and shapefiles represent each mill as a point. Detailed information on each mill is available in the dBase IV files. Each record in a data file corresponds to one mill. Record numbers created for each mill ("mill-id") uniquely identify the mill in this dataset. No effort has been made to match mill-id's across survey years. Name changes, openings, and closings would make such an effort difficult and error prone.

Records also contain an identifier for the source which provided it. The included location data represent information on thousands of mills from the continental United States. Errors can arise from different sources including errors in mailing addresses and in geocoding. While we have tried to minimize our own procedural errors and corrrect a few of the more obvious errors from other sources, there are doubtless errors still remaining in some of the records, over and above the imprecisions inherent in geocoding in general and on accepting Post Office Box addresses in particular.

The GIS coverages and ArcView shapefiles automatically include several GIS-standard variables describing shape, perimeter, and internal record ID, but these are of limited use in a point coverage. More generally useful are the remaining variables. Each mill has one row of data, and each row in the dBase file contains seventeen variables (text and numerical). In order, the fields in the table and shapefiles are:

Assigned by J. Prestemon, a unique identifier of each mill and survey combination. The number is not repeated in this, earlier, or subsequent surveys.
This is our best estimate of the mill longitude and latitude, respectively. The best estimates of longitude and latitude were GPS coordinates from Missouri, where state officials have reportedly provided the North Central Research Station with GPS coordinates. The next best coordinates, with one exception, were obtained by submitting mill address information to Tele Atlas N.A. The quality of the latitude and longitude data when evaluated by Tele Atlas can be judged by MAT_TYPE, explained below. Finally, the exception to the Tele Atlas results was for the North Central Station’s mills. In most cases in that Station, their FIA Unit provided latitude and longitude coordinates to J. Prestemon and J. Pye. These coordinates were those of the town nearest the mill. In cases where Tele Atlas match codes were higher than 3, the North Central Station's estimate of the mill latitude and longitude was taken as the best estimate of the mill's location. These are the locations provided in the accompanying data set.
Identifiers of who supplied the mill address data. Note that some mills identified as originating from one region were actually located in another region. This occurred where the physical locations of mills were different from the company headquarters of the mill. Regions and their included states are as follows:
Name of the forest products business.
Kind of mill, recategorizations based on identifiers provided by the five sources. Six types were identified:
The town corresponding to the mailing address of the physical location of the mill
The state corresponding to the mailing address of the physical location of the mill
The zipcode corresponding to the mailing address of the physical location of the mill
Indicates quality of location information provided by Tele Atlas. Codes include:
0Non-match Address could not be matched to any Tele Atlas database. In limited cases coordinates were obtained from other sources; otherwise none are provided.
1Block Face Street segment exact address match. Generally means the best location information, within a city block.
2Near matchAddress matched to a single street segment, but the exact address number was not found.
3Zip+2 CentroidA point representing the aggregate of all geocoded ZIP+4's for the ZIP+2 of the input address.
45-Digit ZIP CentroidA point representing the aggregate of all geocoded ZIP+4's for the 5-digit ZIP of the input address.
53-Digit ZIP (SCF) CentroidA point representing the aggregate of all geocoded ZIP+4's for the 3-digit ZIP of the input address.
6Ambiguous match Address matched to more than one street segment, a centroid of all segments is returned. This represents the worst quality locational information.
The format of this code is SSCCC, where SS refers to the state FIPS code and CCC refers to the county FIPS code (look up county names here)
This is the census tract code provided by Tele Atlas when the mill address was geocoded. Poor location information may have precluded assigning a census tract, this was particularly true for MAT_TYPE 5. The CEN_TRACT code begins with a two-character state abbreviation and is followed by:
  1. a three-digit county FIPS code,
  2. a four-digit census tract code (for which many detailed census data are available)
  3. a two-digit street segment code, which further refines the census tract (combined with the four-digit tract code, the two-digit segment code provides the finest level of disaggregation of U.S. census data)
The mailing street or P.O. Box or rural route of the physical location of the mill.
The reporting agency’s classifier of the mill type. Contact the corresponding mill data manager for the code definitions if their meaning is unclear.
The year that the mill address information was collected. It varies by state.
The operational status of the mill when checked in 2005. For most mills this is left blank, indicating we did not investigate the status. When reported, "open" indicates it was operating, "closed" indicates at the time checked it was closed. Closed mills are listed in the datasets but do not appear in the images offered below.
Former name for this mill, if known.
CAP_1961 through DEFEXP2000
Pulping capacity data (mill2005p dataset only); Data obtained from:
Smith, Brett R., Robert W. Rice, and Peter J. Ince. 2000. Pulp capacity in the United States, 2000. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report FPL-139. 23 pages. No data on mill production capacity are reported for any other mill type in our datasets. Production capacity of individual softwood sawmills is available in Spelter and Alderman (2005).

to top of pageFile Formats

The mill locations are provided in both spatial and tabular formats. The two spatial formats are ArcGIS (uncompressed) Export coverage and ArcView shapefiles stored in a zip format archive, both unprojected ("geographic projection"). Offered tabular formats are dBase IV and Excel, readable by most database and spreadsheet programs. See our Downloading and Using Data page for suggestions on how to use these different file types.

to top of pageDownload Options:

Scope of dataset
ArcGIS Export/
Shapefile Zip


Southern U.S.
image in GIF format
mill2005s.e00 635K 144K
mill2005s.dbf 1.2M
mill2005s.xls 738K
image in GIF format
mill2005t.e00 109K  18K
mill2005t.dbf  66K
mill2005t.xls  69K
Western U.S.
image in GIF format
mill2005w.e00 313K  51K
mill2005w.dbf 220K
mill2005w.xls 205K
North Central U.S.
image in GIF format
mills_nc.e00  1.0M  130K
mills_nc.dbf 597K
mills_nc.xls 525K
Northeastern U.S.
image in GIF format
mills_ne.e00 1.8M 211K
mills_ne.dbf 1.1M
mills_ne.xls 965K
Pulpmills, Continental U.S.
image in GIF format
mill2005p.e00 158K  27K
mill2005p.dbf 102K
mill2005p.xls 101K

to top of pageRelated Resources:

modified: 16-MAR-2010
created by: John M. Pye
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