New Plant Could Be Next Money Crop For Farmers

By:  Aaron Luna, KXLY4
Source: KXLY4


Commonly called gold-of-pleasure, the camelina plant could be the next money crop for eastern Washington farmers.

Lacrosse farmer Steve Camp says he grows camelina to produce biodeisel, something he uses to run all his farm equipment.

Camp said, "I am the grower. I am the processor and i am the end user, nobody touches my fuel but me."

That same biodeisel is also being used to produce jet-biofuel.

Senator Maria Cantwell said, "there are several, both military and commercial pilot programs that have used biofuels."

In order to get enough of that oil the USDA is asking Eastern Washington farmers to apply for the new b-cap, or biomass crop assistance program. They're looking to contract out 11,000 acres in Washington by September 16th.

Scott Johnson, president of Sustainable Oils said, "there has been a significant effort here in the state of Washington to develop this crop as a non-food renewable source of energy."

That development could mean thousands of jobs in jet-biofuel infrastructure and production...

Camelina oil burns cleaner than normal jet fuel and the crop can be used in rotation with wheat...

"Camelina could be a bridge fuel to help us get off of expensive oil," Cantwell said.

Experts say camelina based bio-deisel could eventually account for around 800 million gallons or about a quarter of the western united states jet fuel in the next 10 years, but the planting has to start soon.