From seed to shelf, J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI)’s forestry and forest products operations produce very little solid waste. Our approach is to work continuously to identify waste streams, reduce, and then recover process residuals, and put them to beneficial use.

One of the best examples of this effort is JDI’s Biomass Ash to Farmers’ Fields program.

The ash is the by-product of green energy biomass boilers at three New Brunswick JDI locations: Irving Pulp & Paper in Saint John, and our sawmills – Grand Lake Timber in Chipman and Scierie Grande Rivière in Saint Leonard.

This is a great “’Reduce-Reuse-Recycle’ story,” said Renée Morais, JDI Environmental Coordinator. “What was once considered a waste destined for the landfills is now reused as a beneficial supplement for agricultural soil enhancement.”

The Irving biomass ash is a registered agricultural product, under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulations.

“Since the beginning of the program in 2010, over 108,000 tonnes of biomass ash has been diverted from landfills to hundreds of farmers’ fields across the Maritimes,” Morais said.

The Irving Biomass Ash program is coordinated with the help of LP Consulting of Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia, an agriculture consulting company.

Misty Croney, Senior Agrologist at LP Consulting Ltd., works with Charles Floyd, Assistant Value Chain Manager, Irving Pulp and Paper Mill to connect with over 100 farmers in the Maritimes to plan and schedule the timing of the ash delivery so farmers can book the resources to spread the ash on their fields.

“The ash provides a local renewable sustainable source of nutrients and lime for the soil. This has improved soil health while reducing the need of chemical fossil fuel fertilizers on the farm,” Croney said.

Dairy Farmer Jim Boyd, of Norton New Brunswick appreciates the ash program and has seen a big improvement in the quality of the forage crop for his dairy cows. “We’ve added ash spreading as part of the changes we’ve made in our nutrient management program, and we’ve seen huge improvements in our forages year over year in part because of the ash application,” Jim Boyd said.

In 2016, approximately 13,000 tonnes of Irving biomass ash have been spread on farmers’ fields. Since 2010, the program has provided a value of $13.5 million of an alternative source of fertilizer and lime to the agricultural community.

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