In our continuing series on alternative crops in the Carolinas on Southern Farm Network & SFNToday Kathy Flores, US General Manager for Technology Crops International explains that Technology Crops International are in the Carolinas to stay:
“We have been contracting for rape seed as technology crops for over ten years in different parts of the globe. Before that we were with Kings Inc, a british company contracting rape seed for the past several decades. Here in NC, we have just planted our third commercial year and trialed it here beforehand.
We choose rape seed because of its great industrial use. For every plastic that touches the food supply for humans, there has to be a slip agent, so when the plastic is manufactured, it doesn’t gum up. The only slip agent that has been approved by the FDA is plant based erucic acid and erucic rape seed is the best source for this. We also have business partners in peanut butter, its an ingredient in the smooth peanut butters and some of our customers use it in the anti-frizz hair care products.
We have every intention of being in NC for the long haul. We have great relationships with growers and business partners. Our infrastructure is quite good. NC has a very advantageous transportation system, between rail and the interstate system along with proximity to the water. The crop has done very well. We could easily see doubling our production here for rape seed. We intend to continually increase our sunflower and we have some other crops that we are currently trialing that as they come in to commercial production that will be kept here also. But for rape seed, we still have several growth years to go before we reach our demand level.
The climate here in NC is excellent. We are a little warmer and more humid than England where the vast amount of production has been. But NC has produced an excellent crop both in trials and in commercial production. We have a great grower network and infrastructure. We have knowledgeable growers and a crop that doesn’t require extra equipment from what they would have already on the farm. All of those things lined up well in NC.”
For more on our alternative crop series click here.