American Wood Fibers expands operations in Schofield
For the Wausau Times
SCHOFIELD – American Wood Fibers, Inc. (AWF), an animal bedding manufacturer, is adding a production line to its operations in Schofield – a $1.7 million project expected to create 10 jobs over the next three years while turning paper fiber waste into valuable product.
“American Wood Fibers is making commendable efforts to look after the environment by repurposing other Wisconsin businesses’ waste,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the state’s leading economic development organization. “That, combined with AWF’s job creation, makes this project one WEDC is proud to support.”
“This facility will expand our offerings and capabilities, giving us another product to complement the rest of our bedding line,” said Stephen Faehner, president and CEO of American Wood Fibers, Inc.
WEDC is supporting the project by authorizing up to $56,000 in state income tax credits over the next three years. The actual amount of tax credits AWF will receive is contingent upon the number of jobs created and the amount of capital investment during that period.
The new production line is in a building across the street from AWF’s original Schofield facility. It will convert paper waste — in the form of pure paper fiber — into paper pellet absorbents for animal cages. AWF will purchase the fiber from a Wisconsin-based tissue manufacturer, take it to Schofield and decontaminate, dry, pelletize and package it.
“Because the materials we buy and sell are relatively inexpensive, freight is a huge factor, so we have to be close to the wood streams,” Faehner said. “Wisconsin’s been one of the leaders in that wood product sector — that’s why it’s been such a good place for us over the last 45 years.”
Annually, AWF expects to process and sell about 14,000 wet tons of paper fiber, which would have gone to waste. This is an environmentally beneficial process, as the fiber would otherwise be drained into municipal waste systems. Project costs will go toward new machinery and renovations to the building, which AWF purchased three years ago.
“With the engineering and R&D we’ve gone through for this product, we think there’s another great opportunity to redirect a big volume of material out of landfills,” Faehner said. “It should be a big win for the environment and we’re hoping it’s a big win for us.”
“The American Wood Fibers expansion is a testament to the northcentral Wisconsin workforce,” said Rep. Patrick Snyder. ”The expansion will greatly benefit Schofield, continue AWF’s long history in our community, and drive further economic growth.”
Frank and Joyce Faehner founded American Wood Fibers, Inc. in 1966 and their son, Stephen, now serves as president and CEO. The company is based in Columbia, MD and has 10 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. Its products include animal bedding, firewood, premium wood pellets and other commercial, industrial and agricultural products.