A corn farmer, a business leader and a seed innovator talk sustainability in biofuels


A corn farmer, a business leader and a seed innovator talk sustainability in biofuels

Posted 22 April 2013 in


Last week, we held a teleconference to educate reporters on how farmers and the biofuels industry are incorporating sustainable agricultural practices into the production of renewable fuel. Here’s what they had to say:

Fred Yoder, farmer and Past President of the National Corn Growers Association (recording time stamp 51s – 4m41s)

A producer of corn, soybeans and wheat, Yoder uses new technologies and innovative practices, including the use of cover crops on marginal lands, filter strips and grass waterways that improve top soil and reduce runoff.

In his own words:

“Today I think it’s a great privilege for me to be able to feed and fuel the world. It’s a privilege to work the land. And with that privilege is a responsibility to do it in a sustainable way, and do it in a way that that’s going to leave it better even for my children, the next generation. And I’m able to do that in a lot of different ways.”

“We’ve all got those acres that are very productive … but where I’ve been able to gain is to take my marginal land and pay attention to the soil profile and enhance that soil health through cover crops and also rotations and things like that to improve the organic matter. At the same time, organic matter is basically carbon. So the more I can increase my soil organic matter, I’m also sequestering carbon.”

“We can grow more biofuels on some marginal lands through perennials and take the crop off once a year and that takes the pressure off the annual crops.”

Jan Koninckx, Business Director for Biofuels, DuPont (recording time stamp: 4m50s – 8m54s)

As a 210 year old innovation company, DuPont’s commitment to sustainability is inherent in every piece of their supply chain. Koninckx discusses why and how the most recent example of that commitment is the company’s new cellulosic biofuels plant in Nevada, IA that will produce 30 million gallons of biofuel from leftover corn plants. DuPont also recently signed a partnership with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop and incorporate several conservation planning tools into their supply chain. These new tools for farmers will help them improve the quality of soil during corn stover harvest; and ensure certainty of the supply of the feedstock while also protecting the land.

Adam Monroe, President, Novozymes North America (recording time stamp: 8m58s – 15m36s)

Monroe explains how Novozymes uses bio-ag, science and technology to create natural solutions to everyday problems. Novozymes is exploring a whole new world of solutions that mimic microbiology in soil to increase yields, use less fertilizer, and make plants more resistant to adverse conditions such as droughts and floods. The company is also partnering with Chemtex in North Carolina where huge swine operations use thousands of acres of land to remediate nitrogen from hog waste. This land was previously un-usable for growing any crops. Until now, when it is being used to grow energy grasses that remediate nitrogen from the hog waste, and can be used as a feedstock for biofuels.

Click here to download the full teleconference audio.

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A corn farmer, a business leader and a seed innovator talk sustainability in biofuels

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