The issue of what to do with left over wheat straw may have just come to a conclusion. There have always been three options after harvest. Bale the straw, till it under or burn it. New air quality laws in many states are making the burning option a thing of the past but now there is another option according to John Begley with Columbia Pulp.
BEGLEY: It really goes back 20 years to the State of Washington looking to address the field burning issue and they formed a ag burring task force at that time to figure out how they could reduce the amount of burning that was going on in the field and at the same time not penalize the growers. About 13 or 14 years ago a couple of scientists got involved who were experienced in pulp and paper technology.
The idea was to use the wheat straw to make valuable products: pulp for papermaking, glycols for making bio-plastics, and lignin for petrochemical replacements.
BEGLEY: So what we’ve done over the last year or so is, first off, we’ve acquired a site. It’s about 450 acres on the Snake River between the Lyons Ferry bridge and the town of Starbuck.
He says they hope to break ground and start site preparation later this year with a start up date sometime around the completion of the 2015 wheat harvest.
That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.