Declining water availability for agriculture in the Southwestern United States necessitates new strategies to sustain rural economies. High-valued crops that are drought and heat tolerant, grow on marginal lands, and provide economic returns will be important under variable future climate predictions.
Concurrently, the Energy Independence and Security Act calls for 36 billion gallons of biofuel per year by 2022. The SBAR project aims to identify and support sustainable methods for guayule and guar crop production in the arid regions of the Southwest to meet this demand.
“Guar gum, which comes from guar seeds, is an important product used in the oil and gas industry and it is also used in many food products and pharmaceuticals. Demand for guar gum in the United States is approximately valued at $1 billion annually, and most of the guar gum used is imported. This project aims to develop opportunities for farmers while building a sustainable bio-economy in the Southwest.”
~ Dr. Kulbhushan Grover, New Mexico State University
Scaling up to profitable production for both guayule and guar requires feedstock improvements, expansion of cultivation, improved crop-specific agronomic knowledge and practices, increased economic crop residue utilization, and an understanding of life-cycle costs.
“By bringing together a diverse group of researchers, educators, and Extension personnel to work on two crops, we are establishing a team that can effectively interact to answer questions relevant to building a bio-economy. The techniques developed through this project can be used to address any crop plant, thus helping to support and diversify agriculture in the arid southwestern United States.”
~ Dr. Dennis T. Ray, SBAR Co-Principle Investigator, University of Arizona