Officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) have recently announced a lease agreement on property owned by the state agency in Escambia County with PRT USA Inc. (PRT), the U.S. subsidiary of a Canadian company that produces container-grown forest seedlings. The two entities signed a long-term lease which includes land, buildings, and infrastructure suitable to establish a nursery for containerized forest seedling production at the former E.A. Hauss Nursery site located in Atmore.
According to PRT executives, the company will immediately commence construction of container growing facilities on the site, which it intends to expand over time in response to customer needs. In order to serve forest landowners and other customers in the Southeast, PRT’s forest seedling product offering will include longleaf, slash, and loblolly pine, along with other species. Construction is anticipated to be completed in early 2017, with sowing of seedlings to occur in the spring for shipping to customers during the 2017/18 planting season.
"We are always proud to have companies make investments in Alabama, but we are excited for this redevelopment project as we partner with PRT to put life back into the Hauss Nursery site," Governor Bentley said. "Forestry is one of Alabama's largest commodities and essential to sustaining a strong economy in our state. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship through this new venture."
“We consider it our good fortune that this international corporation was interested in establishing a presence in Alabama,” remarked interim State Forester Gary Cole. “Having remained vacant for several years, this AFC nursery property was available, and we’re pleased that PRT realized its potential. In addition to being a much-needed seedling source for forest landowners in southwest Alabama, this operation will also provide jobs for the area. The lease is a win-win situation for all involved.”
PRT President and CEO Rob Miller commented, “With establishment of this facility, PRT will take another step towards our goal of better serving our customers in the Southeast. This region is an important forestry market in North America, which is poised to grow as the forest industry economic recovery continues and as more customers embrace the advantages of container grown seedlings. An Alabama-based nursery will allow us to make PRT’s containerized forest seedlings available for quick and effective turnaround deliveries during the fall and winter plant period starting in 2017.” Miller continued, “We have worked diligently with the State of Alabama in order to arrive at this mutually agreeable arrangement for the former E.A. Hauss Nursery. We recognize and respect the legacy of this nursery to the State and the history of forestry in the region. We look forward to continuing this legacy by working with customers throughout the Southeast and being an integral part of their successful reforestation efforts now and in the future.”
Based in Victoria, British Columbia, the PRT group, through affiliates PRT USA Inc. and PRT Growing Services Ltd, is a forest seedling propagator and the largest producer of container-grown forest seedlings in North America, currently growing more than 180 million seedlings annually and operating a network of forest seedling nurseries in the U.S. and Canada. For further information, please see PRT’s website at www.prt.com.
The Alabama Forestry Commission is the state agency charged with protecting and sustaining Alabama’s forest resources using professionally applied stewardship principals and education, ensuring that the state’s forests contribute to abundant timber and wildlife, clean air and water, and a healthy economy. To learn more about the AFC or locate the nearest county office, visit www.forestry.alabama.gov.