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Ag-Fibe 2002 - Interest High Around Agri-Fibre Conference


For Immediate Release

Interest High Around Agri-Fibre Conference: November 13-15 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

October 22, 2002 - Exploring innovative and value-added uses for non-food agri-fibres, such as wheat, flax and hemp straw, is the focus of the Ag-Fibe 2002, Growing our Industries, Conference and Exhibition being held at the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, November 13-15, 2002. Technical program details are available at www.agrifibre.mb.ca

"This event will help raise the level of interest and awareness about economic opportunities in the agri-fibre industry. Environmentally friendly natural fibre materials are used to manufacture everything from automobile parts to ethanol - the growth potential for utilizing "green" material for industrial purposes is phenomenal" said Joe Laxdal, Conference Chair. "It will also provide a forum for national and international experts to share and exchange ideas and information related to this new and growing sector of the agriculture value-added industry.

The conference is already attracting producers who supply raw materials, industry investors such as banks and financial institutions, manufacturers and processors, researchers, government agencies, and students enrolled in agriculture and agri-business disciplines.

During the three-day event speakers from across Canada, the United States and Europe will discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with commercializing and marketing agricultural bio-mass (agri-fibre); issues around manufacturing, preprocessing, storing and handling agri-fibre, as well as providing the latest information related to research and development into agri-fibres.

Some of the featured speakers include: Bo Smeder, M.Sc., President, Creando Fibretech AB - Karlstad, Sweden
Donna A. Johnson, President, Pinnacle Technology, Inc. - Lawrence, Kansas
Dr. Shahab Sokhansanj, P.Eng., Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Dr. Lindsay Easson, Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland Belfast, Ireland
Geof Kime, President, Hempline Inc. - Delaware, Ontario
Darrell Lischynski , Manager of Energy & Processing Section, Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute - Humboldt, Saskatchewan
Amy M. Hartman, Development Specialist, Dow Chemical Company - Elie, Manitoba
Brenda Colegrove, Product Development Leader, Dow Chemical Company Freeport, Texas
Bill Cruickshank, Manager, Biochemical Conversion, CANMET Energy Technology Centre Ottawa, Ontario
Ellen C. Lee, Technical Specialist, Ford Motor Company - Dearborn, Michigan

An industry showcase and trade show will feature the latest products and technologies currently being used in Canada and around the world. Meanwhile, an AgFibe Theatre, which will operate during the conference, will feature presentations from industry innovators, academic papers and virtual tours of agri-fibre operations.

The Straw to Gold (Manitoba) Association is spearheading the Ag-Fibe 2002 Conference with support from the Manitoba and Federal governments. "Manitoba is seen as a leader in Western Canada in the production and processing of agri-fibre," said Laxdal.

The Province is home to a number of agri-fibre-based companies. Ecusta and Schweitzer-Mauduit both process flax fibre for the North American paper industry. Dow BioProducts manufactures "woodstalk", a wheatstraw particleboard from its plant in Elie, Manitoba. ErosionControlBlanket.com specializes in making rolled erosion control products made from natural fibres such as hemp, wheat and barley. Combined, these Manitoba industries use in excess of 800,000 tonnes of agri-fibre annually.

Meanwhile, in Saskatchewan companies are using agri-fibre to produce insulating panels for the automotive industry, wood substitutes and egg trays. Urban Forest Recyclers of Swift Current successfully uses canary seed straw and flax straw as a fibre strengthener to manufacture commercial egg trays. The company maintains about 40 per cent of the entire North American egg tray market and exports almost 90 per cent of its products to the United States.

"Whether it's using agri-fibre in producing thermoplastics, insulation, automotive components, building products such as roofing shingles and siding, paper products or textiles, finding new uses for surplus bio-mass materials is both environmentally and economically beneficial, " noted Laxdal. "Ag Fibe 2002 will examine the exciting opportunities that exist in developing new uses for agri-fibre."

Delegate Registration is $410 CDN + GST and includes all sessions, meals and social functions. Exhibition Booth registration is $760.00 CDN + GST.

For more information or to register, contact The Bowering Group at (204) 958-7540, fax (204) 958-7547 or email: mail@bowering.com

On the web: www.agrifibre.mb.ca

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