Surfacing new uses for corn critical to long-term viability of farmers

Increasing demand for corn and corn farmer profitability is key to the National Corn Growers Association’s mission, and this was clearly evident at the recent meeting of NCGA’s Corn Productivity & Quality Action Team (CPQAT).

Farmer team members from across the U.S. discussed several potential avenues for finding new uses for corn to drive demand. Potential areas of focus are new food uses for corn, new plant-based chemicals from corn and more specifically using corn as a feedstock to replace chemicals currently manufactured from petroleum.

“Developing new uses for corn is nothing novel. It has always been important. Within the last 20 years, fuel ethanol went from being a new use for corn to our second largest market.  And look at the impact that has had on farmer profitability,” said Larry Hoffmann, chairman of the CPQAT. “But trying to keep corn use ahead of our growing productive capacity is a never-ending challenge. We are currently exploring the concept of an open innovation contest as a way to engage researchers to drive corn use.”

Open Innovation focuses on uncovering new ideas or new applications of corn. This process allows us to look beyond our normal research networks and find new applications. Projects uncovered through the open innovation process may be eligible for financial support or other in-kind activities to accelerate them through the research phase and into commercial production.

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