NEOPIT, Wis. — Rashid Raja is one of the links between Menominee Tribal Enterprises and wood buyers from Pakistan.

What You Need To Know

  • Pakistani wood buyers were in Neopit Monday touring the Menominee Tribal Enterprises operation

  • The goal of the trip and tours is connecting overseas buyers with the product and producers

  • The stop in Neopit was one of three for the group in the nation

He was with a group of those at the tribe’s 114 year old sawmill in Neopit on Monday.

“Our mission is to take them to different mills to see the product themselves,” the representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Sales division said.

The group of buyers was in northeast Wisconsin as part of a tour of three lumber producers across the United States.

The goal: connecting buyers and sellers.

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

“The market is expanding at the moment in Pakistan as construction is growing and a lot of demand is growing at the moment,” Raja said. “That’s why the U.S. is still a very competitive and a consistent market for Pakistan.”

Nels Huse of Menominee Trial Enterprises said the domestic lumber market is hot right now and that’s where most product is being sold. But the connections made now with Pakistani buyers could lead to future business overseas.

“They are desperate for wood fiber over there,” he said. “Their whole market with Russia has shutdown and they’re getting some stuff from the U.S., but not a lot.”

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

The timber industry and mill are vital parts of the Menominee economy and among the top revenue sources.

“I hope that maybe downstream that we can develop a relationship with each other,” Huse said. “Something that would be good for them and good for us.”

Raja said U.S. lumber sales have increased in Pakistan in recent years and it’s an area that has more room for expansion.

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

“My only wish and hope is we can multiply the numbers in Pakistan as I can see the growth is there,” he said.

The tour was hosted by New North Inc, Wisconsin’s  department of agriculture and the Softwoods Export Council.