|By VICKI JOHNSON
LONDON, Ohio — The Ohio Bioproducts Innovation Center (OBIC), a new research alliance that coordinates academia and industry, will be featured at this year’s Farm Science Review Sept. 19-21.
OBIC is working toward making Ohio a leader in developing and manufacturing renewable specialty chemicals, polymers and plastics such as adhesives, coatings and packaging. The Department of Energy predicts almost half of the country’s chemical and industrial material demand will be supplied from renewable sources by 2050.
“The ag industry is the No. 1 industry in Ohio, and Ohio is a national leader in polymer and advanced materials technology. OBIC is designed to bridge those two industries,” said Denny Hall, who is in charge of public information for OBIC and is special assistant to the dean of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “OBIC is all about finding a new use and increased value for the corn and soybeans Ohio farmers produce, while providing environmental benefits through the production of bioproducts.
An OBIC exhibit in the Firebaugh Building on Friday Avenue throughout the three-day event will demonstrate the potential for producing products such as adhesives, coatings, plastics and packaging from the corn and soybeans that Ohio growers produce, as well as highlight the companies that are working to make that happen. One day, the fenders on a combine or the film wrap around a bottle of water could be made from field crops, Hall said.
Developing bioproducts is a way to add value to Ohio’s field crops during a time when the cost of producing corn, wheat and soybeans is getting higher because of fuel and fertilizer costs and increased land rental rates.
To aid producers in balancing production costs with on-farm profit, OSU Extension agricultural economist Barry Ward with the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics will be on hand during the review to provide farm management strategies to help contain increasing costs.
“To get the most out of farm profit a grower needs to know the costs, know how to manage those costs, and understand how they impact the bottom line,” Ward said. “We can’t completely eliminate those costs but there are steps that can be taken to help mitigate those costs, such as making timely purchases and buying in bulk.”
Ward will share data that compares on-farm costs between 2001 and 2006 in such areas as fuel and fertilizer, land rental and cash rates, custom rates and marketing to help create more awareness about the factors that are pulling more money from a farmer’s pocket.
“We’ve seen significant increases in on-farm costs over the past five years. For example, fertilizer costs in corn production have increased 37 to 45 percent,” said Ward. “You have to know how to balance those budgets to continue to stay competitive in the business. And that’s where Ohio State University comes in.”
Also in the Firebaugh Building, Purdue University will showcase nanotechnology – the latest in agricultural production and technology. The technology allows the creation of objects so small they’re measured in nanometers. A single sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick.
Visitors can stroll through “Nanotown” and imagine the possibilities nanotechnology offers - customized cancer-fighting drugs, batteries and fuel cells with enormous energy capacity, super strong and light building materials, incredibly fast computers, and much more.
This farm news was published in the Sept. 13, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.