New opportunities for flax producers are firing up with the help of a Government of Canada investment. Flax Power has received more than $87,000 to help increase its production capacity, including the purchase and installation of new production equipment that will bring the "PowerLog", an innovative fire log made of flax, to the marketplace. The expansion will create six direct jobs in rural Manitoba in addition to generating new revenue for this innovative Canadian company.
"This new product is a great example of how innovation can help generate opportunities and income for our farmers as well as create new jobs in our communities," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "Our Government's investment is not only helping to open up additional markets for our flax producers but it is also making use of an agricultural by-product in an environmentally friendly way."
The Carman-based company developed a technique that can densely pack flax shives, small pieces of the stem of the flax plant, into an all-natural environmentally friendly, long-burning fire log. "PowerLog" can be used instead of cord wood in any type of burning appliance such as wood stove, fireplace or patio burner. Using thousands of tonnes of flax shives, normally considered waste, to produce these new fuel logs will help reduce the practice of burning flax shives in fields.
"We are very excited about this expansion," said Kevin Lumb, Chief Executive Officer of Flax Power. "Being able to produce more is not only good news for our company but also for flax farmers who supply the feedstock."
This project was funded under the Agri-Opportunities Program, a $134 million five-year program that was aimed at accelerating the commercialization of new agricultural products, processes or services that are not produced or commercially available in Canada, but were ready to be introduced to the marketplace. The program ended in March 2011.
For more information on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's programs visit www.agr.gc.ca.