Welcome to the Integrated Pennycress Research Enabling Farm & Energy Resilience Project
Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.) is a high-yielding oilseed crop that can be grown as an ecosystem benefiting winter cash cover crop throughout the U.S. Midwest Corn Belt. Pennycress is unique among cover crops in that it can generate income, which will incentivize farmer adoption. Integration of pennycress into existing corn-soybean rotations would extend the growing season on established croplands, avoiding food crops displacement, while yielding up to 2 billion gallons of oil annually towards the 25-year goal of 50 billion gallons of biofuels.
Our integrated CAP program will optimize off-season pennycress production and overcome supply chain bottlenecks, with the goal of commercializing pennycress within 5 years. Our program will focus on improving pennycress germplasm and agronomic management, ecosystem services characterization, and supply chain establishment with an emphasis on post-harvest seed management. We will develop education and extension networks that enhance pennycress adoption and profitability by providing science-based guidance to producers and other stakeholders, training farmers, workers, and scientists, and highlighting new career opportunities.
Since we recognize the need for regionally-adjusted agronomic practices, we place a strong emphasis on working directly with producers and industry. This relationship will integrate research-based knowledge to improve on-farm economics and highlight environmental benefits. The integration of pennycress as a cash cover crop will positively impact the profitability of production agriculture, decrease soil erosion and nutrient runoff thereby protecting water systems, support pollinator health and biodiversity, suppress spring weeds, increase energy security by diversifying the nation’s energy portfolio, and contribute to the economic health of rural communities.