A relatively new Mississippi company claims to be the only business to harvest and sell bamboo in the United States. It's called Southern Bamboo and is located in downtown Jackson.
The company started harvesting operations in Mississippi in march of 2011. So far, they have harvested some 50,000 plus feet of bamboo poles from private Mississippi bamboo groves in a lease based harvest all across the state.
Casey Hemmings, who is originally from Florida, has given up a 16-year career in security systems to move to the Jackson area and start the new company with Tom Thomsen, the president and founder, who is originally from Nebraska.
Thomsen has an agricultural upbringing on a farm in Nebraska. Both are convinced there is a bright future in bamboo wood in Mississippi.
"We currently have a two billion dollar trade deficit with China alone, on bamboo and bamboo related products," said Hemmings. "We produce none here in the U.S. And for those reasons, I have dedicated my life to this project."
Bamboo grows to is maximum height in its first year. It reaches maximum strength in four years.
Thomsen says, "Coming out of the ground, once it's mature, when it's harvested, it has the strength of corded steel. It's already very, very hard at that point, you can make a flooring that is three times harder than oak. It will last for generations, it won't dent of scratch. And that's just one product."
Bamboo is particularly suited to flooring and it's not the highest or lowest priced material, but somewhere in the middle. Southern Bamboo envisions plantations of bamboo where hundreds of thousands of plants are grown.
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