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Office Hours

Fri., Aug. 26, 2011, 11:44 a.m.

If you think camelina is like any other crop, take a little time to dig deeper

Since stellar staffer John Stucke was on vacation this week, we had to rely on Tom Sowa to cover the recent visit by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.,  talking about a newly created federal crop support program specifically for camelina, under an effort called BCAP (biomass crop assistance program) .

This BCAP version invites Eastern Washington farmers to sign up to grow camelina, a promising biocrop for producing biodiesel and aviation fuel.

We posted the story on our Facebook page, and we found a number of concerned residents who feel this "farm to fuels" effort can be potentially bad, harmful or disruptive to normal agriculture and food production.

We don't see it that way. Camelina is not ever going to displace other serious food crops in the land. And it is unlike other designer crops, in that it doesn't need to be bio-engineered to improve yields.

We just want folks to look at some other resources that explain in better detail than our story what the feds are up to, pushing camelina into the food-fuel stream.

Here are the basic set of informational links on the program:

The BCAP fact sheet is here. A TriCities TV station's web story is here.

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Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.