Sawmilling on a Family Farm in Upstate New York

Reader Contribution by The Wood-Mizer Team
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Located in the scenic countryside of upstate New York is the family owned and operated sawmilling business Beachy’s Lumber. Lynn Beachy, patriarch of the farm and mill operation, along with his five sons run their full-time lumber business on a 70-acre property in the quiet one square-mile village of Middleport, NY. Established in 2009, the successful lumber business has led to many benefits for the Beachy family including their ability to be self-sufficient, work from home, and provide quality wood products for their own farm and the surrounding community.

On the Beachy’s farm, the major crop produced is 40 acres of hay in order to sustain their operation that includes 30 beef cows, six Belgian workhorses, and six Standardbred horses used for transportation. As the only “crop” sold outside of the farm, the lumber side of the business resulted from the family’s familiarity with timber processing and the flexibility that comes with running their own business. The reason we got into the lumber business was that I was looking for a job that I could be at home, said Lynn Beachy, owner of Beachy’s Lumber. My two older sons had worked for another sawmill and that seemed to be what would fill that [wish].

Today, the Beachy’s operate with a diesel-powered Wood- Mizer LT70 Super Hydraulic sawmill and a gas engine table cut off saw to cut boards to length. The stationary sawmill business runs 9 hours a day, 5 days a week. “The reason for getting the Wood-Mizer was that the business before us had a Wood-Mizer and they were satisfied,” said Lynn. “There’s also a local branch nearby in Hannibal and we get good service that way.” According to Lynn, the simplicity of the sawmill allows for anyone in the family to learn and operate the machine.Our boys learn just by being the off bearer and watching, shared Lynn. The other day, none of the older brothers were here and someone needed a couple pieces cut and my younger son was able to get on there and cut.

When customers visit the Beachy’s farm, they are able to see how and where their lumber is made which Lynn says is an important value-added aspect of their operation. Customers like to go to a place where they can see where things are made, instead of just a store, shared Lynn. A lot of people tell me that they think the quality is also better, and some just like the rough cut look. In addition to offering custom rough-sawn lumber, the Beachy’s also manufacture and sell flooring, pallet boards, siding, board & batten, dimensional 2 x 4’s, and foam insulation.

The log yard, neighbored by grazing cattle, is stocked with hardwood and softwood generally sourced within 60 miles of the farm which has many environmental and cost benefits associated with limited transportation needs. There’s one thing that a sawmill really goes good with a farm is if you want to build, you have your own lumber, shared Lynn. When we moved here, we had to build quite a bit and I’m estimating we saved ourselves between $15 and $20,000 just by having the sawmill and using our own lumber.

In just a few years, the Beachy’s have built their own sawmill building, an office, a horse barn, a lean-to, a storage shed, and have used large beams for their home with lumber all milled on the farm. Nearby family farms also benefit from the Beachy’s local lumberyard as neighbors use wood for their homes, trailer decking, privacy fences, animal fences, sideboards, wooden boxes for produce, and raised garden beds. In addition, very little goes to waste from the timber operation as byproducts including slabs and sawdust can be used within the farm or sold to clients. Slabs can be used as siding or firewood and sawdust can be used for a variety of things on the farm including animal bedding, composting, and gardening.

The Beachy family has always placed an emphasis on offering top quality products and being on-time with orders. Growth of the business has resulted from word of mouth referrals from satisfied customers along with a website and small advertisements in local newspapers. However, success of the business all stems from providing excellent customer service. I’ve learned that you have to keep a happy customer, said Lynn. Do what you need to keep the customer happy and keep a good word. For the future, Lynn is determined to keep a solid customer base and keep the business family operated. “I’m not really looking to get much bigger,” said Lynn. “Just as long as I have enough work to keep my family busy and have a pleasant atmosphere. In doing all of this, the success and everything of the business, all of the honor and all of the glory goes to God. It is through Him that all of this is possible.”

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