Thinking innovatively, Trent Jones, CFO for Rogue, saw an opportunity to utilize the abundance of beetle-kill wood for a new line of business: production of WoodStraw® ECM (erosion control mulch). WoodStraw® works by mitigating the effects of run off and soil loss post-wildfire. And—unlike agricultural straw—WoodStraw® is inherently weed and chemical free, reducing the likelihood of unintended effects on the forest ecosystem. Additionally, by finding a use for beetle-kill, Rogue will be adding value to these hazard trees, of which the forest service has currently no choice but to subsidize the removal of.

Moving forward with his plan, Trent requested $180,000 from the Forest Business Loan Fund (FBLF) to fund the purchase of equipment and add additional employees to run the new product line. Managed by the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) FBFL provides lending capital to small and emerging forest product businesses that cannot qualify for traditional lending programs. Seeing an opportunity to leverage their dollars and reduce risk, CSFS worked with NCIF and the Upper Arkansas Area Development Corporation (UAADC) to develop a layer cake of financing that would allow Rogue to move forward with manufacturing WoodStraw®.

“Thanks to the Colorado State Forest Service, the Upper Arkansas Area Development Corporation and the NCIF, our company was able to obtain the necessary funding to construct Colorado’s first manufacturing facility to produce Wood Straw® erosion control mulch.” — Trent Jones

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Rogue Resources website