ASU-Jonesboro and ASU-Newport Cooperate to Support Agricultural Research Project
Arkansas State University-Jonesboro and Arkansas State University-Newport have signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the use of ASUN land in Poinsett County for crop research, announced Dr. Tim Hudson, chancellor at ASU-Jonesboro.
Researchers at A-State have secured a $276,877 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and were looking for land on which to grow an oil-seed crop, camelina, which is new to the region.
Under the MOU, Chancellor Larry Williams of ASU-Newport agreed to allow the use of 14 acres of agricultural land adjacent to ASUN’s campus in Marked Tree.
“We are grateful for this generous expression of support from our sister campus at Newport,” Dr. Hudson said. “This is another excellent example of the cooperative spirit we find across the ASU System on a regular basis. We appreciate the assistance from Chancellor Williams and his associates at Newport and Marked Tree who have worked together to bring the MOU to fruition.”
Dr. Williams learned about the need for land after Dr. Steve Green, one of the research leaders, spoke to the Chamber of Commerce in Newport about the project and the researchers’ search for land where camelina could be grown on different soil types.
Camelina is an oil seed crop similar to canola. It can be grown as an alternative to wheat and is harvested like wheat, according to Dr. Green. The camelina seed can be used for livestock feed because of its beneficial aspects (it contains omega-3 fatty acids, which research shows have many health benefits) and its extracted oil can be sold for aviation fuel, cosmetics, biodiesel, and specialty chemicals.
Camelina, which originated in Europe, has been grown successfully in Montana. Green and his fellow research project scientists in the College of Agriculture and Technology have grown camelina in the Arkansas Delta and believe it can be a viable winter crop in Arkansas. This research is yet another example of Arkansas State's move toward cutting edge research and economic development activities.
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