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Pallet shortages worry produce shippers

Tim Hearden WFP-hearden-timber-harvest.jpg
Timber is harvested in Viola, Calif., in 2018.
Soaring lumber demand and decreased sawmill capacity are reducing pallets' availability.

Soaring lumber demand and reduced sawmill capacity have led to wooden pallet shortages that are worrying shippers, the California Farm Bureau Federation reports.

The pallets serve important functions in moving crops from field to packinghouse to customers, but they’ve grown scarce, the Farm Bureau notes.

The shortages haven't disrupted harvests yet but are expected to last into next year, according to the organization.

West Coast timber operators say they're still trying to catch up with demand for lumber products, which skyrocketed during the pandemic and pushed prices significantly upward.

However, lumber futures posted their biggest-ever weekly loss last week, extending a tumble from all-time highs reached last month as sawmills ramp up output and buyers hold off on purchases, according to Bloomberg News.

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