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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 research arm of the USDA.

Pork, perch and more

Nebraska’s Agricultural Opportunities and Value-Added Grant Program is set to grant $1 million per year through 2003. Some of the winners this year:

A cooperative of 29 producers interested in direct marketing pork products received a $32,000 grant to help develop a promotional program, establish a Web site, and purchase or construct a storage facility.

The Nebraska Sandhills Yellow Perch Co-op received $54,247, which will allow the startup to deliver both fingerling and mature fish to market.

The Plains Produce Co-Generation Greenhouse will use its $50,000 grant to study the feasibility of and develop a plan for a hydroponic vegetable facility to use some of an ethanol plant’s byproducts.

And a $75,000 grant will provide professional consulting on the viability of a producer-owned sunflower crushing facility in the Kimball area. Sunflower producers currently market their sunflowers out of state.

Source: Nebraska Department of Agriculture;

Tops in organics

Minnesota is the top state in production of organic corn and buckwheat, according to a new report. The state is also second in organic soybeans and flax and third in organic small grains. “The Status of Organic Agriculture in Minnesota 2001” report is available on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Web site at

Source: Sustainable Agriculture, Vol. 9, Issue 5, May 2001.

Kentucky catfish

Catfish ponds are becoming commonplace in the far west of the Bluegrass State. The Purchase Area Aquaculture Cooperative recently finished a plant that processes catfish two to three days a week. Kentucky Department of Agriculture grants and a county extension agent helped start production and processing.

Source: Focus on Agriculture, American Farm Bureau Federation, June 25, 2001;

Which white corn?

An ARS geneticist in Iowa is working with Wilson Genetics, LLC, Harlan, Iowa, to characterize and compare starch and milling properties of 20 unique white corn lines. The research is part of a worldwide search for corn germplasm to improve productivity and add value to the U.S. corn crop.

Source: Doane’s Agricultural Report, June 1, 2001.

Nipponese nibbles

Japanese consumers have a new sorghum-based snack food, thanks to the efforts of the U.S. Grains Council and the U.S. sorghum industry. The product, made with U.S.-grown white sorghum, hit Japanese grocery shelves in June. It’s produced by the Japanese company Tohato, Inc.

Source: Doane’s Agricultural Report, May 25, 2001.

Milo pies

Three Nebraska farmers have discovered a way to make their milo — a white-grained sorghum variety with a sweet taste — worth a whole lot more. The growers formed Twin Valley Mills, LLC to grind milo into flour on the farm. Marketing the flour to consumers allergic to gluten products, the company sells via direct mail and its Web site:

Source: Progressive Farmer, July 2001.

Soy milk for malnourished

Over the summer, the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health, or WISHH, a checkoff-funded project, taught leaders of private volunteer organizations (PVOs) how to use soy to feed the malnourished in Third World countries.

PVO reps spent three days working with soy food applications and using a mini soy-processing unit referred to as a “soy cow.” The “cow” processes whole beans into a milk and a tofu-like product that can be eaten directly or further processed. Soy cows have been set up as micro-enterprises in India, Kenya and Russia; a few people in a village can process and feed a high-calorie, high-protein product to other villagers.

Another training program for PVOs will be held this fall.

Source: Illinois Soybean Farmer Leader Newsletter, May 2001; (309) 662-3373,

DuPont advances in Asia

In a move to expand its soy protein business in Asia, DuPont Co. will acquire Hubei Longyon Protein Food Groups soy protein facility. As DuPont Yun Meng Protein Co. Ltd., the new food venture will allow DuPont to meet growing demand for nutritional additives in food segments such as beverages, supplements and processed meat products.

Source: Doane’s Agricultural Report, June 15, 2001.

WIFE’s tanked-up

Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE) has made renewable fuel promotion its number one priority for 2001. In June, the board of directors met in Washington, D.C. and hand-delivered the booklet “Biofuels 2001” to Congressmen. WIFE says any U.S. comprehensive energy plan must include renewable fuels.

Source: Pamela Potthoff,, (308) 276-2548.

Industrial veggies

Cenex now offers a vegetable oil-based tractor hydraulic fluid. BioMax THF uses approximately 20 percent canola oil and is 50 percent more biodegradable than hydraulic fluid made from synthetic or mineral oil stocks. In coming months, more Cenex products with a vegetable-oil base will be available, including food-grade hydraulic oils, chain bar oil, industrial RO-AW hydraulic oils and MP gear lube.

Source: Cooperative Partners, July/August 2001.

Pork payback

A new hog marketing program for the National Farmers Organization is called PorkPayback. When independent producers deliver directly to the packer or an NFO marketing center, they receive rewards on a grade and yield basis, and their high-quality cuts display the American Family Farms label.

Source: National Farmers Organization,, 800-247-2122.

Litter for the land

A joint venture between Perdue Farms and Perdue AgriRecycle, LLC is producing a fertilizer called MicroStart60 at a new plant in Seaford, Del. The plant converts poultry litter into fertilizer pellets through a process that recaptures nitrogen and phosphorus while preserving organic matter.

Source: Doane’s Agricultural Report, July 30, 2001.

Ethanol a break over MTBE?

EPA’s denial of California’s request to opt out of the federal reformulated gasoline oxygen requirement gave a big boost to the ethanol industry. The National Corn Growers Association projects the estimated 230 million bushels of corn needed to produce ethanol for California motorists will boost prices by 10 to 15 cents per bushel, increasing the value of the nation’s crop by as much as $1 billion.

According to Renewable Fuels Association statistics, there are 34 ethanol plants undergoing expansion, eight plants under construction and over 40 additional plants scheduled to break ground nationwide. Bob Dineen, RFA vice president, says refiners can replace roughly 18 cents of MTBE with just 7 cents worth of ethanol, a savings of 11 cents per gallon for California consumers.

Source: The Land, June 22, 2001.