FOA 213: CoverCress is Reinventing the Cover Crop


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The Story of CoverCress isn’t just as straightforward as bringing a new crop to the market. Their ambitions also represent a new feed, a new cover crop, genetic engineering, a low carbon intensity feedstock and a new revenue source for farmers among others. Fulcrum Global Capital saw the potential in CoverCress and return to the show this week to share the excitement surrounding this company. If you missed episode 208 where we first introduced Fulcrum Global be sure to go listen to it. The CoverCress new crop will not compete with current midwestern crops and should provide farmers with a new marketable product.

“They’re going to create this new revenue source for the midwestern farmer. It’s going to go in on the corn soy rotation and you’re going to get the traditional cover crop benefits of which there are numerous but you’re going to get increased profitability.” - John Peryam, Venture Partner and General Counsel for Fulcrum Global

Fulcrum Managing Partner, Duane Cantrell, shares that this new product will “change the economic dynamic” for the farmer. “There are multiple pathways of product lines there” including oil for cooking and bio-based fuels and a seed crop that can be used as a high protein meal for feed additives.

“We have built this business off of I’ll call it the chassis of the native plant, pennycress. But because we have used genome editing to improve the quality, both with oil and the meal, it's a little different crop when we’re done. That's what we call CoverCress. - Jerry Steiner, CEO of CoverCress

CoverCress has the advantage of having a better grain than the agronomy and quality of its pennycress counterpart. The CoverCress “business plan is based on having really a partnership on both ends. One end with the farmer and another end with the end user” according to Jerry Steiner. CoverCress will provide the seed to the farmer creating a low barrier to entry in planting the crop. The company will then gain its revenue when the final grain product is delivered and also when it is processed into oil.

Jerry Steiner highlights the fact that CoverCress is taking a plant that is currently considered a weed and is converting it into a profitable crop with added cover crop benefits. CoverCress is considered a product of gene editing using natural occurring genes which in the United States differentiates this crop from GMOs. CoverCress is still in the research phase. The company is really “focused on getting a product that is well-tested before” it is released. This includes a well-tested process for the farmer and process for creating the end product.They expect to have their first commercial planting in the fall of 2021.

“We’re trying to use land the farmer already owns or operates, just use it at the time of year when they’re not trying to use it. And we want to have the farmer use equipment, whether its planting or harvesting, that they already have. We want to partner with people who already have existing grain handling and crushing assets for other oils seeds… it's kind of taking existing assets and just getting more out of them.” - Jerry Steiner, CEO of CoverCress

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Learn about CoverCress, a new crop being developed to create a new revenue source for midwestern farmers
  • Discover the research and benefit to using CoverCress without it competing with any existing crops
  • Meet Jerry Steiner, CEO of CoverCress, and hear about the unique opportunity CoverCress can offer farmers using existing equipment and available planting times

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246 episodes