HOOSICK, N.Y. -- After a year of planning, Green Island, N.Y.-based sustainable material producer Ecovative is expanding its source of recycled corn product locally to Hoosick.

Hoosick construction and landscaping service, R. M. Bacon had the equipment available to start producing a shredded corn byproduct that Ecovative has also sourced out to Iowa farmers.

Ecovative will educate local farmers how to pull handle corn stalks to save the right amount for the shredded product. Katie Malysa, materials supply manager for Ecovative, said working with local agriculture reduces the company’s production costs and allows them to have more oversight over its product from the crop to the shredder.

"It gives us a lower transportation cost," Malysa said. "We are more engaged with the local community: We can support our local farmers by helping them to get some income from something that’s just a residue."

Michael Bacon of R. M. Bacon upgraded his equipment to be able to produce the exact corporeal size of shredded corn material that Ecovative needs. Bacon said he composts anything left over from the shredding process to be used in topsoil.

Most of the product the first-of-its-kind design company uses contributes to the production of compostable packaging materials. Ecovative intends to expand production of new crops once Hoosick operations are in full swing.

Ecovative uses mushroom mycelium as a natural glue to form the corn shreds into alternatives to plastic and Styrofoam for packaging, automotive parts, insulation, surfboards and more.


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R. M. Bacon

The Kinderhook Bank helped Bacon refinance his equipment and farming operations with the application and attainment of a USDA-guaranteed loan that was made available through the Agricultural Act of 2014.

The USDA is working with R. M. Bacon to assess its current assets as well as needs for any future growth, which will assist in Bacon’s working relationship with Ecovative. The companies plan to expand operations once Hoosick corn-product production is fully realized. "We need to hone in on the right equipment and the right process, and how to scale production up from a test run to a big-scale to support our needs," Malysa said.

In addition to collecting corn waste from local farmers for processing, R. M. Bacon will be using USDA loan money to lease abandoned farmland to grow corn and hay and raise cattle. Bacon said he looks forward to convert otherwise unused land into useful fertile agriculture.

Not only is Bacon helping farmers and Ecovative to be efficient, he tries to make use of everything within his own company. He reuses every byproduct that comes through his operations so that he doesn’t have to dispose of anything.. The organic material he composts is returned to local farms as fertilizer.

"Sometimes we will run into a product line that we really don’t know what to do with yet," said Bacon. "Most of the time, the answer presents itself: We’ll pile it up and see how it starts composting. We will see what we can mix with it to speed up the compost."

To learn more or to contact Bacon, go to http://www.rmbacon.com/. Ecovative sells packaging to companies like Dell, Crate and Barrell and Puma. To learn more about Ecovative’s products and clients, go to http://www.ecovativedesign.com/.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg