BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The federal government has finalized procedures to insure a new crop that's being grown to produce jet fuel.
Farmers in North Dakota last year planted 6,000 acres of the mustard seed variety known as carinata, but insurance agents were unclear about how to go about insuring it.
Beginning this year, the crop can be insured under canola and rapeseed crop insurance provisions, the Bismarck Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1ROQDzU ).
Canadian seed producer Agrisoma Biosciences contracted with western North Dakota farmers for last year's acreage. The crop was insured, but insurance agent confusion prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to issue guidance for the future.
Agricultural economist Dave Archer at the federal agriculture research lab in Mandan said he thinks the government recognized enough producers will likely grow carinata this year.
Argisoma Biosciences has a goal of 50,000 acres of carinata this year, said company representative Garret Groves.
Archer has overseen growing carinata at the Mandan research farm for three years under a Navy initiative to find alternate sources of jet fuel. He said good yields he saw could lead to the crop's planting taking off.
Keeping seed costs low and finding more herbicides for weed control will be important for carinata's success, Archer said. The Navy will want fuel that it can get at the lowest cost, he said.
"I think the big hurdle is to get cost of production low enough," he said.
Archer said wood-based fuel and fuel made from garbage are leading interest. But he said feedstock needed for making those fuels is somewhat limited, which is where oilseeds like carinata come in.
"They need something that can be produced on a wider scale," Archer said.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com