Overall Goal: Commercially launching pennycress as a cash cover crop in 2021.
IPREFER (Integrated Pennycress Research Enabling Farm and Energy Resilience) is a team of academic researchers, extension/outreach specialists, agricultural producers, and commercial interests working to optimize off-season pennycress oilseed production. Western Illinois University leads this 10 member (Agricultural Utilization Research Institute; CoverCress Inc.; Illinois State University; Southern Illinois University; The Ohio State University; University of Illinois Extension; University of Minnesota; University of Wisconsin-Platteville; and USDA-ARS) five-year project funded at the $10 million level by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). The IPREFER project was initiated in August 2019.
The overarching project goal is to move pennycress towards launch as a cash cover crop by 2021, with pennycress contributing 2 billion gallons of oil annually towards USDA-NIFA’s 25-year goal of producing 50 billion gallons of biofuel (USDA 2018). IPREFER focuses on optimizing agronomic protocols, breeding line development, assessing environmental impacts, identifying supply chain requirements, and producer and community outreach.