-Wesley Rissler, R&R Forest Products
Wesley Rissler, left, and Ezra Rissler sort lumber as it is cut off the log at their family sawmill near California, Mo. The two brothers recently began working full time alongside their father and grandfather.
Logs from throughout Missouri pile up outside of R&R Forest Products. The Risslers produce everything from fences for the neighbors to logs for construction in China.
“When I was going to school, I came down here to help when I didn’t have nothing else to do,” said Ezra. Around the time Ezra began working in the mill, business crashed as the economy and housing market began failing.
Wesley cuts the scrap wood down into foot-long sections that are bought by the local Amish community for firewood. Everything that goes into the mill is eventually used, even the sawdust and scraps.
Work gloves rest on a pile of recently cut stakes. The mill is in a constant state of change as equipment, logs, and lumber come and go.
Ezra stacks lumber outside the mill. The Risslers recently bought a new mill to try and speed up production, but as business remains slow Earl sums up the goal of the mill in one word: survival.