Pennycress offers bio-fuel source, additional income for farmers

By Audrey Williams

July 18, 2012 Updated Jul 18, 2012 at 10:22 PM CDT

GALESBURG, Ill -- The USDA has found new uses for a once wild plant, and Galesburg wants farmers to jump on board.

Pennycress grows in the winter and is used to make a bio-diesel feedstock.

Pennycress Energy Company and the city of Galesburg are looking for farmers so they can grow 250,000 acres of pennycress.

The company offers free seeds and free planting for farmers, they offer$25 an acre for the farmer to harvest it and then they buy the seed that the plants produced.

One farmer tried it last year for the first time and says it has many benefits.

"You still have the money, the income, from the soybeans and corn, you don't take that away. This is all completely new money," said pennycress farmer Ray Gillen.

Gary Camarano,Global strategies director for the city of Galesburg said, "It's a winter cover crop so it's preventing soil erosion which is good. It's an alternative fuel source, again which is good. The seed crushed makes oil. The cake can then be used to feed livestock."

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