Group to kickstart bamboo industry in Alabama's Black Belt Region | News
SEATTLE, Wash. July 31, 2012 – Resource Fiber LLC (RFL) www.resource-fiber.com and its subsidiary, Resource Fiber/ Alabama LLC (RF/A) are building a bamboo fiber-based agricultural and industrial complex in the United States utilizing innovative propagation technology. The companies intend to harness the myriad applications of rapidly renewable bamboo to drive economic development and create jobs in Alabama’s Black Belt region.
“We believe it’s time to add a new and valuable fiber crop to the portfolio in the U.S. – one already supporting multi-billion dollar global industries whose products are imported and consumed by millions of Americans – versatile, rapidly renewable bamboo,” said Resource Fiber President/CEO, David Knight. “Initially, Resource Fiber/Alabama is focusing on growing bamboo in commercial-scale farming operations in the Alabama Black Belt region to create sustainable regional economic development, industry innovation and associated new employment opportunities.”
“With the introduction of bamboo into the agricultural portfolio, the region will serve as the “bamboo epicenter” for the United States, bringing industry, new research and economic development not seen since the early-19th century when cotton was king,” said Resource Fiber/Alabama CEO, Marsha Folsom. “We believe bamboo is a crop whose time has come, and the Black Belt region of Alabama can lead the way.”
RF/A is developing its operations in the Bamboo Building Products industry to begin creating jobs in the Black Belt region as early as 2013. A state-of-the-art manufacturing and educational complex strategically located in the Black Belt (site to be determined) will be built beyond LEED™ standards under the International Living Future Institute [https://ilbi.org] guidelines.
Resource Fiber is approaching the development of the bamboo industry in a unique way - committing significant corporate resources to the development of foundational components critical to the creation of an expandable and sustainable industry.
Examples of this include focusing on the development and execution of a comprehensive research and development strategy, engagement with farmers and landowners, inclusion of educational elements within RF/A farms and manufacturing facilities, close engagement with economic and community development organizations, and promotion of leading sustainable building principles and practices in RF/A facilities.
There have been three major obstacles to establishing a commercial scale bamboo industry outside of China and other parts of Asia where native bamboo stands exist – lack of propagation technology, lack of industrial infrastructure to justify commercial planting, and the long timeline for return on investment with initial harvest time of about five years after planting.
Resource Fiber has addressed these obstacles with: 1) proven propagation technology designed for commercial scale; 2) by ensuring long-term off-take agreements and durable investment protection for both farmers and the industry; and 3) by fabricating certain bamboo products during the initial growth period by importing preprocessed bamboo slats. The sale of these products will generate early revenue and provide a platform for innovation.
Estimates of the size of the global market by 2015 exceed $20 billion annually. China currently produces 80% of the world’s bamboo and consumes 60% of that production. Due to increased demand, the price of bamboo raw material has increased significantly in the last three years and there is no domestic source in the United States. While bamboo cultivation has boomed across Asia in the last twenty years, the U.S. has not yet become a player in the world market, although it is the world’s largest importer of bamboo products.
About bamboo (it’s a grass)
Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys Pubescens/Edulis), one of ~1500 species, grows two feet per day reaching its maximum height of 80 feet in just 40 days and sequesters 35 percent more oxygen than a comparable cluster of hardwood trees. Due to its high quality fiber and high productivity within the soil and climate of the Black Belt, RF/A plans to use Moso bamboo within its fiber portfolio in Alabama.
Planting requires minimal capital investment and builds upon the inherent plant-cultivation skills of local farmers and foresters requiring no pesticides and little irrigation. It may be initially harvested in about five years after planting. Commercially-managed bamboo may then be sustainably harvested annually on a rotational basis, enhancing both the life-long profitability and short-term revenue generating potential of the crop.
About Resource Fiber LLC and Resource Fiber/Alabama LLC
Resource Fiber™, industry leader and pioneer, is a driving force to create a bamboo fiber-based agricultural and industrial complex in the United States beginning in the Black Belt Region of Alabama.
The company is built on the tenets of the Triple Bottom Line whose foundation is based on the well-being of the people and communities where the company conducts its business (people), sound and sustainable environmental practices (planet), and sterling financial performance (profit).
The management team is comprised of leaders with extensive experience in bamboo farming and bamboo products (product development, manufacturing, marketing and distribution), social and economic impact of the bamboo industry, finance operations and control, and commercialization strategy and execution. In addition, the Company’s Advisory team includes leading experts in bamboo propagation and cultivation, as well as patent holders of high-value engineered bamboo products.
Resource Fiber/Alabama [RF/A] is uniquely positioned to lead the development of the bamboo farming and products industry beginning in the Alabama Black Belt region. The company is focusing on growing bamboo in farming operations in the region to create sustainable regional economic development, industry innovation and associated new employment opportunities. With the introduction of bamboo into the agricultural portfolio, the Black Belt region will serve as the “bamboo epicenter” for the United States, bringing industry, new research and economic development not seen since the early-19th century when cotton was “king”.
Resource Fiber products will support the “Buy America” government certification requirements [U.S.C. Section 50101 – Buying goods produced in the United States].
Information Source: Resource Fiber LLC