Pennycress Meeting for Farmers to be Held August 20

August 16, 2012 02:56 PM
Pennycress Energy Co. will hold an information meeting for area farmers looking to learn how Pennycress can provide them with a free cover crop that also has income potential. Pennycress Energy CEO Sudhir Seth said, "We like to say we are adding a 'second shift to the agricultural factory' by bringing farmers a free winter cover crop that also has income potential as a renewable biodiesel feedstock. By using pennycress as a cover crop, farmers can protect their fields from erosion and nutrient loss; see a potential boost in soybean yields a pennycress cover crop; and have the potential for an additional source of income from a new biodiesel feedstock."
The information meeting, Hosted by the EBI Network, will take place at the Knox County Farm Bureau, 180 S. Sonangetaha Rd., Galesburg at 6:00 pm on Monday August 20, 2012.  According to Gary Camarano, the EBI Network's Director of Global Strategies, "the purpose of the meeting is to introduce farmers to this new cover crop, let them find out how to get it for free, and discuss the benefits. I also expect them to ask the hard questions about how and when they can get the yields of pennycress seeds expected; how this cover crop can potentially boost soybean yields and what are the downsides, if any. This meeting will hopefully provide the answers folks need to make a decision about whether or not to use pennycress as a winter cover crop with income potential."
The Pennycress cover crop to be discussed was developed by the USDA Research Lab in Peoria and has been attracting a lot of attention from biodiesel refiners and users. GE Aviation, for example, has a keen interest in pennycress as a feedstock for a renewable aviation fuel. Pennycress' Seth explained, "This is an ideal growing area for pennycress. If we can enlist 250,000 acres in a 60 mile radius we could potentially see $25 million in additional revenues for farmers, the use of a free cover crop, and a potential boost in bean yields following a pennycress crop." Camarano added that the crop could also produce jobs in the community, such as,   "A crushing plant employing 30 is envisioned, as well as jobs transporting the seed and oil. This could help the local economies diversify while keeping within the areas of our expertise - agriculture."
Seating is limited at the meeting, so area growers interested in learning about how pennycress can be used as an effective cover crop and source of income as a renewable biodiesel feedstock should call Liz at 309/335-1104 to reserve a seat. The EBI Network is a collaboration between the city of Galesburg, Knox County and ten other partners for economic development in the West Central Illinois Region.


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