On May 18, the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) and the University of Minnesota’s (UMN) Forever Green program hosted a unique field day at AURI’s facilities in Waseca, Minn.
The event showcased efforts underway to develop supply chains and market demand for new winter-hardy annual oilseeds, with a focus on winter camelina and domesticated pennycress. Both crops show great promise as viable cash cover crops for growers to improve soil health and water quality, and increase profitability. Industry interest in these crops for food, biofuel, feed, bioplastic and protein uses is growing rapidly, with companies from across the state and country partnering with the UMN and AURI to explore scaling acreage, optimizing processing capacity and testing product applications.
The agenda featured sessions on Breeding and Agronomy, Eco-systems Services, post-harvest handling, cleaning and pressing and more. In addition, attendees learned about the benefits of winter camelina and pennycress and explored current and future product applications for the crops. They also had a chance to network and hear directly from industry leaders who share an interest in supporting the development of these new crops.