A Cut Above With David Stallcop

David Stallcop

David Stallcop started his career in the forest products industry as a 20% shareholder of Vanport International in Boring, Oregon, where he was the global marketing director. After nearly 20 years, he moved to UFP Industries for five years working as its international development specialist helping them start up and grow their international division. In 2021, he launched the Stallcop Group, where he’s served as managing director for the past three years.


Let’s get a little background on what the Stallcop Group does.

There are three legs to the business. One of them is sales and marketing consulting. We help building materials and wood products companies around the world start up new sales and marketing markets where they want to bring their products into. We also help create and develop new products for export markets or international markets.

The second leg is wholesale trading, where we buy and sell products, such as in Mexico, Turkey and Northern Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asian markets.

The third leg is the sales agency and sourcing. In some cases, we want to try to sell to somebody in say Japan and they say to us, “That’s great, but we don’t want you to wholesale it to us.” We want to get to know the manufacturers. We want to have that relationship with them.


You do a lot of work with Southern Pine. Why do you like that lumber so much? And what do you want people to know about Southern Pine lumber?

It’s the strongest softwood species out there with the latest test data that’s come out in the past 10 years. It also treats to the core.

The message for a lot of the Asian and Caribbean markets is you can pressure treat it, then you can cut it, slice it, dice it and it’s still treated. With other softwoods, you have to incise it to get deeper penetration, so when you cut it, you expose the untreated fiber and you have to reapply a chemical treatment with a paintbrush or a spray.

Southern Pine is all around probably one of the most versatile species out there, especially in markets like Mexico, which is now our No. 1 export market for softwood lumber. And Mexico last year became the EU’s single largest supplier of all products, passing China, which was the No. 1 supplier to the U.S. for more than 20 years.

So that relationship the U.S. has with Mexico is a very close, tight-knit one, and it’s growing and developing even more. Everybody wants Southern Yellow Pine just because it is so versatile.


I was to hear as an international sales professional what you are hearing from buyers around the globe?

In the Mexico market, they’re used to buying a lot of cut-to-size pallet stock from Brazil, which is very inconsistent. Even some of the largest buyers in Mexico, their suppliers in Brazil are four to six weeks, four to six months late on their shipments, whereas they can get a rail car or a truck out of any U.S. within a few weeks mills and remanufacture it themselves.

One of the things they wish happened in the U.S., especially related to Southern Pine, is more mills cutting to size components for pallets. So, anything that can go into Mexico as more component-type material instead of just lumber material is better.

Another trend I’m seeing, not just in Mexico but other export markets, is they don’t want the No. 3 or 4 grade lumber anymore. They want No. 1 and 2 grades because they can’t afford to have it fall down. They want a higher-end piece of fiber they can utilize 100% of. They don’t want to have to mess with the waste anymore.

And what are you hearing domestically?

Southern Pine traditionally was mostly a Southeastern and Southern market species, but you’re seeing a huge increase of MSR-rated Southern Pine moving up into Eastern Canada, into the Pacific Northwest, and along the West Coast. For some people who have never used it, it takes a while for them to get used to it because if it’s not dry properly there could be a few issues.

However, a lot of mills are now drying to a lower moisture content to increase the stability of the fiber. That is getting a lot of traction in the non-traditional U.S. and Canadian markets, and it’s driving more demand for Southern Pine.


So why do you enjoy this industry so much?

It’s not just lumber, it’s all building materials. Our industry is such a tight-knit industry. It’s a people-to-people, face-to-face industry, and I put so much value on getting out and visiting with the suppliers and customers.

Last year I was in 32 countries, and some of those countries I went to four or five times because by putting my face in front of people, they get to know me. Zoom and Teams are fine. But the real face-to-face opportunities come from, sitting down, having a meal with them, walking through the warehouse.

When you visit that customer and say, “Oh, I’ve got this customer in this other country that can buy what you’re making out of what I’m supplying you,” then you have a locked-in supplier and customer and they can’t cut you off because you’re selling their production, too.


So what are you looking at in the back half of the year? What are you most excited about when it comes to Southern Pine and the lumber exporting business?

I’m looking forward to developing the Turkey market more. I feel that’s a low-hanging fruit. They had some major forest fires in that country. If you include Turkey in Europe, it has the fourth largest forest land. For comparison, Germany is No. 8. They’re going to have to cut harvesting of their timber in Turkey by 70% for the next three to five years, so they will become a net importer of wood fiber – and Southern Pine will have a huge opportunity in that market.

A lot of people say, “David, why do you share your secrets of which markets are good or bad?” I believe if you have a function, then you can develop the business. If you have a relationship, you can develop the business.


It’s 2035. What does the Southern Pine industry look like?

The only future growth for new sawmill construction in North America will be in Southern Pine country. It’s not going to happen in Canada. It’s not going to happen in the Pacific Northwest.

You’re just going to unfortunately see more mills shutting down, but you’re going to see more sawmills starting up in the Southeastern U.S. cutting Southern Pine.

If you have 52% of all U.S. housing starts in the Southeast, and you have 43% of the lumber production in North America being Southern Pine, you have to have more production.


So, we have a very bright future is what I’m hearing.

We just need interest rates to drop, and then we will see things take off.

The Southern Forest Products Association’s A Cut Above series highlights and introduces to the Southern Pine lumber community and the greater world the amazing people who are part of our community and help keep Southern Pine among the premiere wood species domestically and internationally!