Start-up company Agristrand buys former Phenix Biocomposites plant in Mankato, Minnesota, for US$3.75M, plans to begin production of soy-based particleboard, door cores, in March

LOS ANGELES , December 12, 2011 () – A start-up company has purchased an idled straw products plant in Mankato, Minnesota, and plans to reconfigure it to produce particleboard from a mix of wood fiber and soy.

The company, Agristrand Mankato, purchased the former Phenix Biocomposites plant for US$3.75 million and plans to begin production in March, The Mankato Free Press reported on Dec. 9.

Agristrand's VP for sales and marketing Dan Biller said the company had worked for seven years on commercializing soy straw, including researching the product at the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin.

Biller said soy had a real advantage as it is closely related to wood fibers and can be blended with wood.

The plant will produce particleboard and door cores at first, but hopes to diversify into other products. Production will start with a workforce of around 25, but this could expand to 50 once production reaches full capacity.

The primary source of this article is The Mankato Free Press, Mankato, Minnesota, on Dec. 9, 2011.

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