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University students tour flax fiber facilities

March 17, 2009 (Saskatoon, SK) - University of Saskatchewan students are interested in the potential of a flax fiber industry in the province.

Thirty students and staff from the second-year class “Introduction to Field Crops” toured the Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission head office and the Crop Fibers Canada Pilot Plant in Saskatoon yesterday. The group was on hand to hear a presentation about the flax industry and the Commission’s work to develop Canada’s fiber sector from Linda Braun, SaskFlax Executive Director.

“Saskatchewan flax producers, world leaders in quality oilseed flax production, are now taking a leadership role in the development of the flax bast fiber industry to create more net returns to provincial producers,” Braun told the class. “Our goal is complete plant utilization.”

The students went on to visit Crop Fibers Canada, a pilot plant and testing facility for straw processing and fiber and shive production. The work at the Crop Fibers Canada facility targets end-uses for fiber with the goal of a sufficient profit for farmers and processors to maximize the value of the straw. Alvin Ulrich, Director of Crop Fibers Canada, showed students some of the processing techniques being studied for extracting flax fiber in Canada.

“I think it’s important for students to see the diversity of Saskatchewan agriculture,” said Linda Matthews from the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources, who led the visit. “Here’s a crop that is being used not only for food, but also as fiber for clothing, shelter and a host of other products. It’s great for Saskatchewan.”

For more information, contact:

Linda Braun, Executive Director
Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission
Saskatoon, SK
Tel. 306-664-1901
Email: saskflax@saskflax.com

or

Linda Matthews
Departmental Assistant/Lab Instructor
College of Agriculture and Bioresources
University of Saskatchewan
Email: linda.matthews@usask.ca