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Economic and dam related articles

Firm Could Turn
'Straw Into Gold'

by Kathy Corgatelli NeVille
Post Register, March 26, 2016

An international not-for-profit environmental organization is proposing a way for farmers to sell wheat straw leftover after harvest.

Nicole Rycroft, founder and executive director of Canopy, a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based organization, and Yes, In My Backyard, said, there's interest in building a pulp plant Greensburg, Kan. Plus, financing is almost complete for a commercial straw pulp plant in Starbuck, Wash., Rycroft said. The company works with investors to get plants built, she said.

Research shows that Bonneville and surrounding counties are a prime location for a pulp mill since farmers grow large amounts of wheat here, she said.

"Bonneville County has the kind of productivity levels for wheat straw that you find around Starbuck, Wash., and some of the other the highest-producing regions in the country," she said. "These kind of productivity levels point to there being a lot of potential for this new industry in Bonneville County."

She said, research shows straw left over from wheat harvest, makes excellent high-quality paper. Canopy has identified 1.3 million tons of unmet demand for North American-sourced straw pulp for paper and printing uses, she said, and turning straw into pulp and paper saves trees, energy and water and creates jobs.

"We are always looking for solutions and making paper from straw left over after the grain harvest is one that's positive for rural communities, better for the environment and good for business," Rycroft said. "Many communities are sitting on a value-added revenue stream and we hope YIMBY is the first step toward farmers turning that straw into gold."

Canopy has increased market demand over the last 10 years for nonwood pulp and paper internationally, she said. The organization works with investors interested in building new pulp and paper infrastructure in North America, Rycroft said.

Kathy Corgatelli NeVille
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Post Register, March 26, 2016

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