|Pennycress field (Arvegenix photo by Jerry Steiner)|
Winthrop Phippen, a professor of plant breeding and genetics at Western Illinois University, told Wildt there are environmental benefits to growing pennycress: “I am using ground that farmers leave totally empty over the winter months. And I am squeezing in another crop. And I’m not having to clear wetlands, I’m not having to disturb watersheds or anything. I’m actually improving the watershed because now I’ve got green cover during the winter months. And that helps absorb any leftover nitrogen that may be in the field.” He said that "keeps excess nitrogen from running off into streams and waterways."
Jerry Steiner, chief executive officer of pennycress development company Arvegenix, said the biggest advantage of the crop is that it doesn't take away any land needed to grow food, Wildt writes. He told her, "The biodiesel industry and the renewable-jet-fuel industry are looking for a new feedstocks, the raw material needed to produce biodiesel. But they want feedstocks that don’t compete with food.” (Read more)