Picking Straws

SPOKANE — Can straw products provide an alternative to grass field burning?

A forum, “Agri-Fiber Alternatives,” will address the question on Friday, Nov. 8. It will be held 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the Spokane County Agricultural Center, 222 N. Havana, Spokane.

“Straw houses and barns? How about straw paper? These are examples of the types of straw by-products that can be produced from agricultural residues, according to Paul Peterson, WSU Spokane County Cooperative Extension agent.

“We anticipate that grass growers will be forced to remove straw residues in order to comply with regulations to reduce smoke emissions and still be able to produce grass seed under dryland conditions in the Spokane area,” Peterson says.

“There are a number of possibilities for straw utilization, the question of viability is largely one of economics.”

Buildings, wall panels, particle board, poles, door cores, paper, potting soil and methane made from straw will be displayed at the forum. Product representatives will discuss characteristics and use of proposed products, manufacturing processes, economic feasibility and other aspects of their proposals.

The agenda includes a question and answer period and mini trade show displays.

“We expect the interests of people who attend to range from people hoping to find a market for their straw to use of proposed products and to people who are looking for investment opportunities,” Peterson says.

The forum is sponsored by Agricultural Horizons, a team of WSU Cooperative Extension personnel.

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