New Agreement Promotes Product Development from Crops
By Sandy Miller Hays
February 23, 1998
WASHINGTON, Feb. 23--Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman announced
today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture
joined agricultural producers' groups and the U.S.
Department of Energy in signing an agreement aimed at stimulating research
and development of new products made from agricultural commodities such as corn
"This new agreement is critically important to agriculture in America,"
said Secretary Glickman. "The USDA research program has a proud history of
developing new technologies that have added significant value to commodities and
created economic returns that have benefited all Americans."
The agreement, called "Plant/Crop-Based Renewable Resources 2020,"
was signed at the 1998 Commodity Classic in Long Beach, Calif. The 1998
Commodity Classic is the third annual joint meeting of the National Corn Growers
Association and the American Soybean Association.
"This public-private sector partnership brings together the technical
capability and entrepreneurial spirit that will capture even better value for
farmers, rural areas and consumers throughout the world," said Edward B.
Knipling, associate administrator of USDA's Agricultural
Research Service, who signed the agreement on behalf of Glickman.
ARS is the chief research agency of USDA.
Knipling cited several recent USDA research successes at turning crops into
valuable new products, including highly biodegradable printing ink made from 100
percent soy oil; a process to turn low- value corn hull fiber into a healthy new
oil that may lower cholesterol levels; and starch-based plastics.
The new research agreement encourages joint planning of long-term research
between industry, trade associations, federal agencies, universities and
national laboratories to find new ways to use crops, trees, other plant material
and agricultural wastes to manufacture products such as plastics, paints and
Knipling said USDA's budget for the 1999 fiscal year calls for more than
$100 million in research on new uses of agricultural commodities for food and
non- food applications.
The groups that have pledged to sign the agreement include the American
Soybean Association; the National Association of Wheat Growers; the National
Corn Growers Association; JR Simplot, a potato growers' conglomerate based in
Idaho; the Agricultural Research Institute, Applied Carbochemicals, Arkenol,
California Institute of Food and Agriculture Research; Iowa State University's
Center for Crop Utilization Research; the University of Washington's Center for
International Trade in Forest Products; the Center for Waste Reduction
Technologies; the Corn Refiners Association; Dow; Genencor; International Polyol
Chemicals; Monsanto; and Winrock International.
The agreement will be in effect initially for two years, but can be
Scientific contact: Richard M. Parry, Jr., Assistant Administrator,
Agricultural Research Service, USDA,
Washington, D.C., phone (202) 720-3973, fax (202) 720-5427,