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Spearfish Forest Products Announces Layoffs In Response to Reduced Forest Service Timber Sale Program


April 11th, 2024




Neiman Enterprises, a family-owned company, announced layoffs and production reductions at its last remaining South Dakota facility, Spearfish Forest Products (SFP). The layoffs are the direct result of reductions to the Black Hills National Forest timber sale program.


Jim Neiman, President of Neiman Enterprises, said, “We have done everything possible to prevent this unfortunate outcome that will impact these employees, our community, and ultimately the health of the forest. We’ve weathered economic and market downturns over the decades. These layoffs, however, are a direct result of the reduction in the Forest Service timber sale program.”


Employees at SFP were notified today of the shift reduction. Neiman Enterprises has worked, and will continue to work, to ensure the appropriate resources are provided to approximately 50 employees and their families who are affected.


By implementing these layoffs and production reductions, the company hopes to preserve some capacity to continue to undertake the crucial work it’s been doing in the Black Hills for the past 80+ years, which reduces the risk of pine beetle epidemics and catastrophic wildfires. The Black Hills thrives when the forest is managed through thinning efforts and removal of excessive fuel. History has shown that when the forest grows too dense the pine beetle, and wildfire, thrive. Neiman Enterprises continues to work with the Forest Service to understand the challenges to administer the treatments that are necessary to properly manage the health of the forest.


Jim Neiman expressed his appreciation to employees by saying, “On behalf of the Neiman family, we want to express our deepest gratitude to the affected employees for their hard work and dedication. We’re committed to providing support during this challenging transition, including assistance with job placement and access to resources.”


The family recognizes the impacts this decision carries and has not reached it lightly. Neiman Enterprises remains dedicated to its mission of responsible forestry practices and is extremely grateful for all the support from the surrounding communities, organizations, and stakeholders.

Sonja Merryman

Community Relations

Upon hearing the news, Ben Wudtke, Executive Director of Black Hills Forest Resource Association, said “Some outspoken individuals leave out key science in hopes of painting a picture that all the timber has been cut on the BHNF and logging levels are no longer sustainable. The fact is that, as verified by a federal review of FS data, we have more timber now than in the 70s and 80s when the BHNF was selling twice the amount of timber and that these decisions to reduce the timber sale program now are rushing us towards the same forest conditions that resulted in the most recent pine beetle epidemic and fires that threatened our communities. History has shown again and again that decisions like that to reduce the BHNF timber sale program, are dangerous and come with serious consequences.”

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