CalPlant I 

CalPlant I is the world’s first commercial-scale producer of rice straw-based medium density fiberboard (MDF), annually supplying approximately 140 million square feet of no-added-formaldehyde MDF to the building products industry.

CalPlant I and its predecessor company CalAg LLC have spent many years researching, developing and patenting a process to make high quality MDF using annually renewable rice straw as the feedstock, the disposal of which has posed environmental issues in California for over a century. Rice straw is an agricultural waste product of the annual harvest, and all furnish for the plant will be procured from Sacramento Valley rice growers within a 15- to 25-mile radius of the plant site in Willows, California.

Currently, the most common practice of straw disposal is to initiate a decomposition process by flooding the fields after harvest. This practice uses a large volume of incremental amounts of precious water. By processing rice straw into MDF, CalPlant I will significantly reduce the levels of water that would have been diverted from regional waterways to flood rice fields after harvest.


  • Generation 9 Siempelkamp press
  • MDF panels have traditionally been produced by pressing wood fibers together, under heat and pressure, utilizing a urea formaldehyde resin system


  • MDF is an important raw material commonly used to make furniture, kitchen cabinets, store fixtures, doors, mouldings and flooring substrates.
  • CalPlant I’s MDF will be manufactured using post-harvest rice straw and a formaldehyde-free resin system, and will compete directly with wood-based MDF in the marketplace.