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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, New York.

Indiana Center for New Crops and Plant Products

Jules Janick


  1. THE CENTER
  2. CENTER ACHIEVEMENTS
  3. OUTREACH
  4. FUTURE PLANS
  5. REFERENCES
  6. 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 agriculture.

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.

THE CENTER

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 follows:
  1. Identify, adapt and commercialize new crops for growers and processors.
  2. Create new plant based industries based on new crops products.
    The following four-stage plan was proposed to accomplish these objectives:
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.

CENTER ACHIEVEMENTS

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.

OUTREACH

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.

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 PLANS

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.

REFERENCES

Janick, J. and J.E. Simon (eds.). 1990. Advances in new crops. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Table 1. Projects funded for New Crop Iniative, 1990-1992.

Title Personnel Department
1990-92
Development of Edible Soybeans N.C. Nielsen
J.R. Wilcox
Agronomy
Agronomy
Expansion of Winter Canola and E. Christmas Agronomy
Pearl Millet Production J. Axtell
H. Doster
J. Rogler
S. Weller
Agronomy
Ag Economics
Animal Science
Horticulture
Commercialization of Specialty Crops for Processing and Fresh Market J.E. Simon
J. Janick
G. Sullivan
P.B. Brown
Horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture
Fors & Nat Res
1992-1993
Development of Alternative Double Crops in Indiana
Introduction of Pearl Millet to Indiana Agriculture J. Axtell
R. Nielsen
G. Brown
E. Christmas
Agronomy
Agronomy
Agronomy
Agronomy
Development of Weed Management Strategies for Pearl Millet S. Weller Horticulture
valuation of the Nutritional Value of Pearl Millet in Pig Diets L. Adeola
J.C. Rogler
Animal Science
Animal Science
Expansion of Winter Canola Production E. Christmas
H. Doster
Agronomy
Agricultural Economics
Introduction of Annual Medics into Indiana Agriculture K.D. Johnson
J.J. Volnec
Agronomy
Agronomy
Development of New Specialty Crops
Commercializing New Essential Oil Crops J.E. Simon
J. Janick
D.J. Charles
M.R. Morales
Horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture
Commercialization of Specialty Melons J.E. Simon
J. Janick
M.R. Morales
D.J. Charles
G.H. Sullivan
D. Scott
Horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture
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
R.H. Hayden
J. Janick
Horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture
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 aw