Columbia Pulp Part 2
The idea of using wheat straw for other products is being embraced by a new company in Washington State. John Begley is the manager of Columbia Pulp who is looking to take the straw from farmers and turn it into valuable products: pulp for paper-making, glycols for making bio-plastics, and lignin for petrochemical replacements.
BEGLEY: Within a hundred miles of the plant there's about four million tons of straw available and currently in Eastern Washington there's still about a million tons of agricultural residue burned every year. Our plant will be 140-thousand tons a year of pulp and consume about 220-thousand tons of wheat straw.
There are a lot of wrinkles that need to be iron out yet like baling and transportation as well as a payment structure for farmers.
BEGLEY: We're going to be creating a whole new industry.There is baling done now. There's certainly quite bait of baling done but there'll be more baling as a result of this and really create a whole sub-industry there.
Begley says they're trying to make sure this is well worth the farmers time and effort.
BEGLEY: One of the options we've looked at is forming a co-op with the farmers and still working through that process and that co-op would get a percentage of the companies profits to share among the growers in addition to covering their initial costs and everything of the collection.
Columbia Pulp hopes to be online and ready to accept wheat straw by the end of the 2015 harvest.
That's today's Line On Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.