Our History

Dedicated to Innovation

CalPlant’s story begins with two men, their deep roots in the rice industry and a vision for solving a problem. Fast forward twenty-five years, and this vision is about to revolutionize an industry.

California native Jerry Uhland grew up surrounded by the rice business. At the start of his career, Uhland explored different species of rice, cultivating and managing up to 2,000 acres of his own crops.

Pictured: Sacramento Valley rice farmer Jerry Uhland and 50-year California rice industry veteran Jim Boyd (1916-2009), the visionaries behind the innovation. Plant No. 1 is being built on land that has belonged to Boyd’s family for more than a hundred years.

1991

When the State of California mandated the phasing out of field-burning, farmers turned to flooding to aid rice straw’s decomposition. As he implemented the method himself, rice farmer Jerry Uhland sensed this development would permanently change the industry.

1996

Uhland connected with Jim Boyd, another longtime rice farming expert and agriculturalist, who put forth a challenge: to find a use for all the rice straw farmers could no longer burn. A company was born.

2003

CalPlant was awarded a U.S. process patent for the conversion of rice straw to industrial-grade medium density fiberboard (MDF).

2007

Financing for creating a manufacturing plant falls through as a result of the market downturn on the cusp of the recession.

2008

Uhland and his team continue seeking partners to get their product into production.

2017

June 14, 2017 funding is secured and plans for the operation begin. In September of 2017 CalPlant commences groundbreaking on construction of its MDF plant.

2020

When the manufacturing facility is completed in 3rd quarter, CalPlant will be the world’s first commercial-scale producer of annually renewable, rice straw-based MDF.