Berry Brothers Lumber rolls with the changes

“We found the moisture content was too high in the material that we were making,” Lee said. “That’s when my brother, Gary, and his son had an idea to add cardboard to bring the moisture content down. And so we began mixing the cardboard into our material.”

Animal bedding goes up a conveyer belt at Berry Brothers Lumber in Adams. In the background is the scrap cardboard and wood the bedding is made from. Photo by Justin Sorensen.

They also added lime to change the pH so the bedding would become less of a median for bacteria to thrive. Local municipalities, companies within the Jefferson County Industrial Park and area contractors all contribute to the materials used to create the bedding. Twigs, old frames, paper and matting material are all ground with the cardboard. Suggestions from farmers on how to properly dry the product were also helpful.

“We listened to our customer base and took any input they gave us,” Lee said. “One of the suggestions was to build a dryer system. We did that by using exhaust from our diesel grinders to blow heat into a dryer system. By doing this, we aren’t burning any additional fuel to dry our product.”

A logging business that was once considered “not so green” because they cleared the land of so many trees is now using recycled goods and fuel to turn that image around. Berry Brothers works with a tri-county customer base that is just beginning to thrive. The change is slow-moving, but moving all the same.

“We have experienced quite the metamorphosis,” Lee said. “We are competing with others in the bagged shaving market now. But we can compete in this market because the price of their product is approximately twice what our product sells for.

Despite the setbacks of the last few years, Lee is determined to persevere, grow and build a future for the business.

“At this time I can say that we’re paying our bills. But without having had a substantial platform from which to build from, we probably couldn’t have done it. It can take up to three years for a start up business to reach profitability and I think that we’re almost there. Our customer base is certainly growing and we’re ready for more.”

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