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Feds invest in hemp and flax biofuel


I’m in a busy magazine deadline but thought this week it’d be worth sharing the following news release sent to me by a friend who works for the federal government. It’s encouraging that the Harper government is investing in a venture that will convert hemp and flax into biofuel. Speaking of which, today I just sent to the art department most of the articles of the forthcoming August/September edition of Solid Waste & Recycling magazine, the cover story for which is about organics management in Canada and includes some discussion of the whole ag waste and organics-to-fuel topic. The article is written by our contributing editors Paul van der Werf (2cg Inc.) and Michael Cant (Golder Associates). Watch for it to be mailed at the end of August!
Now here’s the news release:
Harper Government Invests to Create Value from Waste
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, July 18, 2012 – Flax and hemp producers could soon benefit from a major increase in value per acre. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced today that Advanced Foods and Materials (AFM) Canada is receiving an important investment to turn by-products of flax and hemp into high-quality fiber.
“This technology will create a new revenue stream for farmers by using what were essentially waste products and getting value for them back at the farm gate,” said Minister Ritz. “Our government strongly supports this kind of innovation, which will keep Canada’s agricultural sector sustainable and our economy strong.”
AFM will use this $500,000 investment to increase production capabilities of the technology developed by Blue Goose Biorefineries.
The development of this technology will substantially increase the value per acre of hemp and flax crops by finding uses for parts of plants that are currently considered waste. The increased production and availability of high-value cellulose products will create jobs in manufacturing, transportation, and research and development, to the benefit of the agricultural sector and Canada’s economy as a whole. The technology also benefits the environment by expanding biorefining capabilities.
“We are pleased to lead the scale-up of this technology and are looking forward to working with Blue Goose, POS Bio-Sciences, and the University of Saskatchewan,” said Perry Lidster, AFM Canada Managing Director. “The project will have a positive impact on the value of Canadian crops and will create new opportunities for innovation and competitiveness with the end products that are produced.”
“The Blue Goose Biorefineries project is a prime example of how collaboration can work synergistically among academia, industry, and government in matching research activities with strategic industrial needs for the betterment of the socio-economic welfare of the agri-food sector in Canada,” added Rickey Yada, AFM Canada Scientific Director.
AFM is a national non-profit organization in the research, development, and commercialization service for innovations in the biomaterials, food, and health sectors. For more information, please visit www.afmcanada.ca.
This project is funded under the Agricultural Innovation Program — a $50-million initiative announced as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2011 and part of the Government’s commitment to help Canadian producers benefit from cutting-edge science and technology. The Program boosts the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies, and processes for the agricultural sector. For more information about this and other Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada programs, please visit www.agr.gc.ca
For more information, media may contact:
Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972
Meagan Murdoch
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059


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