Spokane Journal of Business

Straw-baling venture files Chapter 11

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Fresh Air Ag LLC, a company founded last year by a group of Inland Northwest grass-seed growers and other businesses to take advantage of alternatives to field burning, has filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

The company invested more than $750,000 to develop a site west of Cheney into a grass-seed-straw compression facility. The facility is intended to compress and bale up to 50,000 tons of grass seed straw annually to be marketed as insulation in construction and for export as feed for dairy cattle and horses. The project was partially funded through a state revolving loan fund program administered by the Spokane County Conservation District.

Rich Baden, administrator of the Conservation District, says the state revolving fund loan to Fresh Air Ag was secured, but declined to disclose the amount of the loan or give any further details pending a review of the bankruptcy petition.

Fresh Air Ags attorney in the case, Donald D. Hackney, could not be reached for comment.

Court documents show Fresh Air Ags debts at less than $50,000 and estimate that the company has between $500,000 and $1 million in assets. The filing lists Garry J. Padrta, former owner of WTB Inc., a Spokane trucking business that went out of business in 1999, as general manager of Fresh Air Ag.

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