Table of Contents
Janick, J. 1993. Indiana Center for New Crops and Plant
Products. p. 127-129. In: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.), New crops. Wiley,
Indiana Center for New Crops and Plant Products
- THE CENTER
- CENTER ACHIEVEMENTS
- FUTURE PLANS
- Table 1
Indiana agriculture is based on crops that were once considered new. Though a
process of introduction, trial and error, Indiana agricultural systems have
been stabilized into a narrow group of crop species based on maize (2.4 million
ha), soybeans (2.0 million ha), traditional grasses and legumes for hay and
pasture (0.8 million ha), and small grains (0.4 million ha) with only about
20,000 ha in horticultural crops. As a result of the concentration of crop
species, the majority of Indiana growers have relatively few alternatives, so
that low prices on major commodities have a disastrous impact on Indiana
New crops offer alternatives to increase farm income, improve diets, lower
costs, expand markets, diversify products, and increase exports. However,
there is a dilemma to new crops developments. Processors and other entiities
in the production chain are not interested in establishing facilities for new
crops unless volume and markets are assured, while farmers will not plant
without assured markets. This is the weak link in the chain of new crop
development. Successful development of new crops and plant products requires a
working partnership between scientist, farmers, industry, and government.
To encourage crop diversity, Purdue University initiated a New Crops and Plant
Products Center in 1990 with the hope that a coordinated effort can overcome
obstacles to new crop development. The broad mandate of the Center is to
establish and promote a cooperative, synergistic relationship between farmers,
scientists, processors, and state and federal government in order to promote
new opportunities for Indiana agriculture. The specific objectives are as
The Center was officially approved by the the Purdue University School of
Agriculture in 1990 with Jules Janick, Department of Horticulture, as Director.
Support was solicited and received for a New Crops Initiative from the Indiana
Corporation for Science and Technology (later renamed the Indiana Business
Modernization and Technology Corporation or BMT) for 1990 and the grant was
renewed in 1991 involving the Departments of Agronomy, Agricultural Economics,
Horticulture, and Forestry and Natural Resources, to support three major
projects: Expansion of Canola Production; Commercialization of Specialty Crops;
and Development of Edible Soybean. Funding for 1992-1993 was approved.
Projects and personnel are listed in Table 1.
By the second year of funding, the research initiative was able to demonstrate
substantial results. The 1990-91 Indiana canola crop was approximately 2,800
ha harvest in early summer of 1991. Efforts of the New Crop Center project
concentrated on providing Indiana growers with research information on planting
dates, fertilization practices, appropriate cultivars, and alternative tilling
methods. Preliminary research with pearl millet in Indiana have indicated that
this African crop could find a place as a potential double crop after wheat on
as many as 30,000 acres for the northern third of Indiana. Research on edible
soybeans has been aimed at exploiting specialty markets for export. Progress
has been obtained in characterizing lines with altered oil content as well as
improved flavor for tofu production, a major component of the Japanese market.
Research with a number of specialty crops including essential oil crops such as
basil and artemisia, new melon crops, dry beans, and crayfish have demonstrated
promising opportunities for Indiana farmers throughout the state. The 1992
proposal has expanded the number of crops through direct Center support as well
as alternative funding opportunities.
National outreach of the Center has been achieved through symposia to determine
the status and future of new crops research and development; to explore the
potential of new crops, to identify new uses for existing and underexploited
crops; and to develop strategies for establishing partnerships among state,
federal, and industrial organizations. Two national symposia have been held in
Indianapolis, Indiana. The proceedings of the first symposium held on October
23-36, 1988 (NEW CROPS: Research, Development, Economics) was published
by Timber Press in a 560 page book entitled Advances in New Crops. The
proceedings of the second national symposium (Progress in New Crops)
held Oct. 6-9, 1992 is the subject of the present volume. The Purdue New Crops
Center has agreed to host a third national symposium in conjunction with the
AAIC in 1995 or 1996.
- Identify, adapt and commercialize new crops for growers and processors.
- Create new plant based industries based on new crops products.
The following four-stage plan was proposed to accomplish these objectives:
- Researchers, growers, and processors, and growers would be surveyed for
their interest and activities to identify promising ideas and projects. New
crop candidates would be identified by the Center. The Center would coordinate
new crop activities with interested researchers, growers, and processors to
develop working partnerships.
- Field trials of targeted crops would be carried out on University Research
Farms and commercial farms to evaluate performance and market potential. Where
possible, risks incurred would be shared between the center, growers, and
processors to establish a strong proactive relationship among interested
- Successful candidates would undergo crop commercialization research, product
development, and market evaluation on the basis of a "seed" grants program.
- Separate grower/market organizations would be initiated for new crops that
show economic promise.
The Center has developed a newsletter (New Crops News) which is
distributed to the New Crops community. Symposia featuring individual new
crops are planned; the first on Crayfish production was held in July 1992.
Internally, the New Crops Center has served as a focal point to engender
cooperation among disparate researchers interested in various aspects of new
crops. A seminar program in new crops has been helpful for this purpose.
The outreach program has had a national and international impact. For example
the American Association of Industrial Crops (AAIC) was organized at the first
symposium and was a co-organizer of the second national symposium. Following
our lead, international new crops symposia have been held in London in l989 and
in Jerusalem in l992. Finally the Alternative Agricultural Research and
Commercializaetion Center (AARC) based on a $4.5 million federal appropriation
represents national support for new crop efforts.
Future Center activities will depend on the flow of funding support which will
depend largely on the success of present programs. It is difficult to predict
which of the current programs will be successful, but we are confident that a
few of them will reward our early enthusiasm with solid accomplishments that
will translate to a more diversified Indiana agriculture.
Janick, J. and J.E. Simon (eds.). 1990. Advances in new crops. Timber Press,
Table 1. Projects funded for New Crop Iniative, 1990-1992.
|Title ||Personnel ||Department|
|Development of Edible Soybeans ||N.C. Nielsen |
|Expansion of Winter Canola and ||E. Christmas ||Agronomy|
|Pearl Millet Production ||J. Axtell |
|Commercialization of Specialty Crops for Processing and Fresh Market ||J.E. Simon |
Fors & Nat Res
|Development of Alternative Double Crops
|Introduction of Pearl Millet to Indiana Agriculture ||J. Axtell |
|Development of Weed Management Strategies for Pearl Millet ||S. Weller ||Horticulture|
|valuation of the Nutritional Value of Pearl Millet in Pig Diets ||L. Adeola |
|Expansion of Winter Canola Production ||E. Christmas |
|Introduction of Annual Medics into Indiana Agriculture ||K.D. Johnson |
|Development of New Specialty Crops|
|Commercializing New Essential Oil Crops ||J.E. Simon |
|Commercialization of Specialty Melons ||J.E. Simon |
|Development of Integrated Production and Marketing Strategies for Commercial Expansion in the Fresh Melon Industry ||G.H. Sullivan ||Horticulture|
|Evaluation of New Fruit Crops ||B. Bordelon |
|Soft-Shell Crayfish Expansion ||P.B. Brown ||Fors & Nat Res|
|Evaluation of Transgenic High-solid Tomatoes ||A.K. Handa ||Horticulture|
Last update April 8, 1997