Camelina seems to be just about the perfect crop

The time may be rapidly approaching when the familiar phrase- you can’t grow anything on this desert land except rocks- will be one for the history books.
    
Finding something that will grow with little or no water or fertilizer that will turn a profit has long been a challenge for landowners. But there may just be a plant that fills the bill.

Mark Wiest, of Sams Valley, just completed harvesting about three acres
of camelina on a piece of ground north of Eagle Point that has been
otherwise unproductive. His first planting of camelina was last year
when he and Dalton Straus planted 26 acres in the Sams Valley area.
But, he says, what he is producing this year has been incredible.
   
Not
only can camelina be grown where many other plants could not grow, it
is proving to be a plant with great versatility. Wiest is contracting
with BioMass Processors out of Rickreall Once the camelina has been
harvested and left to dry in the field, it is sent north. There the
harvested camelina is crushed and the camelina oil is extracted. This
oil can be used in making fuel. The Japanese have experimented using
camelina for fuel in airplanes. An analyses at Michigan Technical
University shows carbon is reduced by 80 percent compared to jet
fuel.    The stalks (straw) are used for various things. It is
especially good for archery events because the straw  has a heavier
stalk and makes a firmer bale.
   
More recently they have
found the seed hull (meal) is about 40 percent protein and is beginning
to be used as feed for sheep, pig and cattle. Wiest said it has been
USDA approved. It has to be mixed with other feed because of its high
protein level.
   
The three uses means the plant is totally
consumable and can be grown on non-productive land. Wiest is working
with others from Beatty to Murphy to turn their bare land into
productive land.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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