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Elsewhere in ag utilization

Editor’s note: As a service to our readers, we provide news about the work of others in the ag utilization arena. Often, research done elsewhere complements AURI’s work. Please note that ARS is the USDA’s research arm and DOE is the U.S. Department of Energy.

Sun’s up, grab the soy screen

SoyScreen is an all-natural, skin- and hair-care product developed in the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research lab in Peoria, Ill. Soyscreen is made from soy oil and rice or oat bran. It is water-resistant and provides effective UV protection.


Ethanol sugar baby

Growers in California’s Imperial Valley are looking at sugar cane as an economically-feasible feedstock for ethanol production. University of California researchers found the valley produces a much higher tonnage and sugar content per acre than other U.S. sugar cane areas.

Source: The Furrow, February 2003.

Sorghum starch tinkering

A recent $7.5 million DOE grant was awarded to NC+, Solvi-Gen LLC and Orion Genomics to genetically map sorghum and develop varieties for ethanol production. Researchers believe they can increase sorghum’s starch content from 68 percent to 80 percent, reducing the cost of producing ethanol by 40 to 50 percent.

Source: The Furrow

Stover gives up the stuff

Biomass Agri-Products, LLC of Iowa is developing new markets for corn residue. Currently 40 to 50 farmer-members supply corn stover fiber for green-dyed Hydromulch, among other products. Their goal is to separate cornstalk components and market them as higher-value commodities. Corn biomass, seed blankets, acoustical padding, paper products and particle board are some of the possibilities.

Source: Successful Farming, November 2002.

Cash for corn research

The National Corn Growers Association received a $2.4 million DOE grant to fund research aimed at converting corn fiber to high-value chemicals and oils. The grant provides half the project’s funds; NCGA and ADM are underwriting the rest.

Source: Doane’s Agricultural Report, November 1, 2002.

Biorefining consortium

A consortium of DuPont, Diversa Corporation, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Michigan State University and Deere & Company has received $19 million in matching funds from DOE for research leading to an innovative biorefinery. The biorefinery would produce ethanol and value-added chemicals from renewable resources.


A first for Michigan

Michigan Ethanol, LLC has constructed Michigan’s first ethanol plant. Located near Caro, Mich., the plant will process nearly 16 million bushels of corn per year into 40 million gallons of ethanol and 120,000 tons of dried distillers’ grain.

Source: Doane’s Agricultural Report, November 1, 2002.

Soy on skin

Soy oil is gaining a reputation for gently cleansing and moisturizing skin, and is increasingly finding its way into skin-care products. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products, Avon and Henneberry Marketing are some of the companies incorporating soy into their skin-care lines.

Source: Illinois Soybean Review, December 2002.

Great grapes of the Midwest

Vineyards are taking root in the heartland. Over the last decade, seven new wineries have been established in Minnesota, a dozen in Iowa and eight in Nebraska. Land grant universities in states such as Nebraska, Indiana and Iowa now have full-time viticulturists to consult with farmers. Missouri has a six-cent-per-gallon tax on wine; proceeds are used for developing and promoting Missouri grapes, wines and juice.

Source: Cooperative Partners, December 2002.

A jug of wine … and a book

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale has released a booklet to show prospective vintners what it takes to get into the wine business. It includes detailed enterprise budgets and sections on wine and grape production trends and wine tourism.

Source: SIU Carbondale News,

Soymilk money?

The Soyfoods Association of North America is asking USDA to make soymilk a part of the national school lunch program. Adding soymilk to the menu could help USDA comply with the national School Lunch Act, which requires that all children’s dietary needs be met.

Source: Illinois Soybean Farmer Leader Newsletter, December 2002.

Double-duty food

About 85 percent of American consumers want to know more about “functional” foods that have health benefits beyond basic nutrition, according to an American Dietetic Association survey. The U.S. functional foods market is $8 billion per year and growing 8 percent annually.

Source: Zachary Fore, University of Minnesota, (218) 253-4401,

Soy lube jobs

The Ag-Based Industrial Lubricants Research program at the University of Northern Iowa has developed lubricants containing 80 percent soy oil. The soy-based lubricants are now available as part of FS Growmark’s Home Grown Lubricants packages.

Source: Illinois Soybean Association,

Soy of the southeast seas

Aquaculture is the fastest growing animal feed market, especially in Southeast Asia where the American Soybean Association is launching AquaSoy, a marketing program that encourages Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian growers to incorporate soy meal in fish-feeding rations.

Source: Illinois Soybean Farmer Leader Newsletter, November 2002.

Fat-fighting oil

ADM in Decatur, Ill. has introduced “Enova” cooking oil. Clinically shown to help fight body fat and obesity, the oil was introduced in 1991 to Japan, where it is now a best seller. Enova oil is produced with a patented process to increase the concentration of dicylglycerol, a naturally occurring component of all vegetable oils.

Source: Doane’s Agricultural Report, December 6, 2002.

Food puts on the miles

Worldwatch Institute, an environmental and social policy research organization, claims that U.S. food now travels between 1,500 and 2,500 miles from farm to table, 25 percent further than two decades ago. The report says economic benefits of food trade are a myth. “Home Grown: The Case for Local Food in a Global Market” is available for $5 plus shipping at

Source: Sustainable Agriculture, December 2002.

Records in gallons

The Renewable Fuels Association reported that the domestic ethanol industry set an annual production record of 2.13 billion gallons in 2002, up over 20 percent from 1.77 billion in 2001 and 45 percent from 1.47 billion gallons in 1999.


Rice code’s broken

The rice genome has been decoded six years ahead of target, according to the International Rice Genome Sequencing Project.

Source: Doane’s Agricultural Report, 12/20/02.

Grown in water

Ohio and Michigan hydroponic vegetable growers are joining forces to boost production and marketing, build stronger working relationships, and increase consumer awareness. The Great Lakes Hydroponic Association and marketing cooperative were born out of the Ohio State University Extension Hydroponic Vegetable Program.

Source: Mary Donnell at (419) 354-6916,

231 projects get USDA’s green light

The USDA’s Value-Added Agriculture Product Market Development Grant program awarded more than $37 million in matching grants last year to 231 U.S. value-added ag projects, from wild rice to alligators. Here are just a few:

The California Wild Rice Growers Association received $130,000 in working capital to develop, package, evaluate and market a soy-enhanced line of wild rice snack chips.

The Alligator Trading Company in Dade City, Florida received $132,660 to find new markets for finished products from alligator hides.

Wholesome Harvest, LLC in Colo, Iowa received $149,000 to help market pasture-grown organic meat nationwide.

Galva Holstein Ag, LLC in Holstein, Iowa received $75,000 to determine the feasibility of using dried distiller’s grain, an ethanol byproduct, in environmentally-friendly fertilizer.

Western Plains Energy, LLC in Quinter, Kan. received $290,615 in start-up costs for a 30-million gallon ethanol plant near Oakley.

The Imperial Young Farmers and Ranchers of Imperial, Neb. received $40,000 to study the feasibility of developing a biomass ethanol and electric facility that uses waste crops such as corn stover and wheat straw.

Heartland Durum Growers Cooperative, Crosby, N.D., received $500,000 for salaries, employee benefits and utilities for the value-added durum processing facility.