Ep. 7-Creating Corn Demand with Biobased Materials, with CRA’s John Bode and Iowa State’s Dr. Brent Shanks

May 21, 2020

Ep. 7-Creating Corn Demand with Biobased Materials, with CRA’s John Bode and Iowa State’s Dr. Brent Shanks

May 21, 2020

Key Issues:New Uses

Corn-based materials technology is ready to compete with traditional plastics for market share.

 

When new materials can increase demand for corn, offer low-cost alternatives to traditional plastics AND benefit the environment, everybody wins.

 

And, backed by organizations like Iowa State’s Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) and the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), researchers in the heartland are pioneering new uses for corn that could reinvent the future of manufacturing.

 

In this episode, NCGA CEO Jon Doggett explores the possibilities with CRA CEO John Bode, CBiRC Director Dr. Brent Shanks, BioCognito Principal Nathan Danielson, and NCGA Director for Market Development Sarah McKay.

 

 

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Transcript

Dr. Brent Shanks:

We think an important driver for new bio-based products is when we can get products that are produced from molecules generated from corn that can actually create added value in the product.

 

John Bode:

Our industry of chemical engineering has a competitive advantage because no one in the world produces carbohydrates as efficiently as American corn farmers.

 

Dusty Weis:

Hello, and welcome to Wherever Jon May Roam, the National Corn Growers Association podcast. This is where leaders, growers, and stakeholders in the corn industry can turn for big picture conversations about the state of the industry and its future.

 

Dusty Weis:

I'm Dusty Weis, and I'll be introducing your host, association CEO, Jon Doggett. You can join Jon every month as he travels the country on a mission to advocate for America's corn farmers. From the fields of the corn belt to the DC beltway, we'll make sure that the growers who feed America have a say in the issues that are important to them with key leaders who are shaping the future of agriculture.

 

Dusty Weis:

In this week's episode, how the NCGA is working with influential partners to drive demand for corn through the creation of corn sourced bio-based products like plastics. We talk through the environmental and economic benefits with John Bode, the CEO of the Corn Refiners Association, Dr. Brent Shanks, director of the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals at Iowa State University, Nathan Danielson from BioCognito, and Sarah McKay from the NCGA.

 

Dusty Weis:

So if you haven't yet, make sure that you're subscribed to this podcast and your favorite app. That way you can take us with you in your truck, your tractor, or on your next trip, and never miss an update from Jon. Also, make sure you follow the NCGA on Twitter @nationalcorn and sign up for the National Corn Growers Association newsletter in your email at NCGA.com

 

Dusty Weis:

And with that it's time to once again, introduce Jon. Jon Doggett, the CEO of the National Corn Growers Association. Jon, today's episode touches on a subject that gets us thinking about the future a little bit. And what types of products corn might be used in 10, 20, or even 30 years down the road.

 

Jon Doggett:

You know Dusty, it's always, always dangerous to start off anything by saying, "I read on the internet...", But you know, I think that absolves me from any judgment on this podcast, right Dusty?

 

Dusty Weis:

You know as long as this isn't about the latest Tiger King fanfic conspiracy theory that you read about Jon, I think that I can just roll with the punches here.

 

Jon Doggett:

All right well, I'll try to leave that out. So anyway, I read on the internet that we humans dump more than eight million tons of plastic in the ocean every year. That's like 15 big trucks every minute. Now, I read that on the internet, but as they say, seeing is believing and as an avid kayaker, I can tell you I've picked up enough plastic to probably fill up one of those trucks. Plastic bottles, plastic bags, a lot of the folks that I paddle with we all carry little string bags and we see something in the water, we pick it up and then we toss it in the trash when we get done. And it's amazing how much we pick up.

 

Jon Doggett:

So I'm saying this all to frame up the conversation we're going to have today on bio-based plastics and other renewable products and molecules and the potential for corn. And we think that's huge. So if you read the labels of common household products from the emulsifiers in your detergent to the plastic that wraps the items in your fridge, these all can be made from corn-based material. And I don't need to tell this audience, we really need to find some more places to put all this corn that we're growing. And we're growing it sustainably. We want to push that through to new products that help our environment around the world.

 

Jon Doggett:

So how do we convert the efficiencies that we have in the field to the new product opportunities in the marketplace? So with me today to answer that question, are John Bode, who is the CEO of the Corn Refiners Association, Dr. Brent Shanks, director of the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals at Iowa State University, Nathan Danielson, who is the principal of BioCognito, and Sarah McKay, who is our very own director of market development at NCGA.

 

Jon Doggett:

I want to start off by giving each of you a minute to introduce yourself, and let's start with John Bode.

 

John Bode:

Thanks, brother Doggett, it's a pleasure to be on here with you. I've listened to some of your previous podcasts and have always enjoyed them, flattered to be part of this panel. The Corn Refiners Association, they purchase and process between 10 and 15% of America's corn crop every year and make it into hundreds of products with thousands of uses, foods, of course, but also getting to your point, lots of other products, corn we process is used in tires, deodorants, dissolvable, stents, and sutures, and increasingly in bio-plastics. And we really see the bio industrials as the great growth opportunity for our industry.

 

Jon Doggett:

Okay. And Brent, your turn.

 

Dr. Brent Shanks:

Yeah. Thanks, Jon. You gave a nice introduction to... I'm on the faculty in chemical engineering at Iowa State University, director of the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals, but I think it's also useful for a little background to give some... where my perspective came from after graduate school I actually worked in the petrochemical industry for Shell Chemicals for 11 years before joining the faculty at Iowa State. And so that strongly influences how I look at this space in terms of the competition with the petrochemical area.

 

Jon Doggett:

And Nathan Danielson, who isn't a stranger to NCGA. He used to be an employee and, he did leave under good circumstances. So Nathan...

 

Nathan Danielson:

John, thank you very much for the introduction. You know, it's great to be on podcast with the esteemed group that you've put together. Between the time I'd left in NCGA and between the time I started BioCognito, I worked at DuPont and the industrial biotech group there. And a lot of the things we're talking about actually today were things that we were working on then. So, there's a long pipeline that's going to bring new products out of corn.

 

Nathan Danielson:

Today, BioCognito, the company I'm a principal at, works with other firms like Zymergen, we'll talk a little bit about them, works with groups like Exopolymer, companies like Triple Bar, all of which are really working to bring new technologies to market that are going to utilize corn and make these new products that are going to be exciting and interesting for consumers.

 

Jon Doggett:

And last, but certainly not least, Sarah McKay.

 

Sarah McKay:

Thanks, Jon, really looking forward to today's discussion. Sarah McKay here, and I'm director of market development with National Corn Growers Association. And I've been with NCGA just about three years and am responsible for a portion of our market development and demand portfolio, including our animal ag and food uses as well as new uses, which is the topic of today's discussion.

 

Jon Doggett:

So Nathan, let's talk about the potential. As an example, you hear a lot in the news about the damage, the plastic and bags and plastic straws do to the environment and the ocean. Can you tell us what would a solution based on corn look like?

 

Nathan Danielson:

You know, at the very most basic level, plastics of carbon and what corn does is it takes carbon dioxide out of the air and it converts it into a useful form. You know, and John was talking about this with his... with all the good work that CRA does and the CRA members do is, everything we're doing with ethanol is we're taking carbon dioxide and we're turning that into something that we can use.

 

Nathan Danielson:

So I think that the big thing is why this gets interesting is we've got all this raw material. I think there's two broad groups. And so what we'll probably end up talking a lot about is that group that is important for marine waste. And I would say that that group is what we'd like to get there, is things that can degrade rapidly. But we've also got these durable plastics, and you mentioned this earlier, durable plastics are really important because if you have a detergent bottle, to use your example, that's made of a plastic material, you don't want that degrading as it sits on the shelf above your washer and covering your washer with detergent. So we need to think about more durable and short-lived plastics.

 

Nathan Danielson:

The petrochemical plastics we get today, and as you said, when you're out kayaking and you see a lot of these, so you see these petrochemical, durable plastics and you're picking them up. Unless these are collected appropriately, these are going to be an environmental hazard or at least a nuisance. So, I think it's really important to understand that what biology can do, biology can do this too, biology can make durable things too.

 

Nathan Danielson:

Think about shells. You know, shells last millennia. Wood lasts a long time. We all live in... many of us live in houses that are made of wood. So we've got really good durable materials from biology already, and we can expand these materials through the technologies we have today. But we also have short-lived products. You know, so think about leaves for example, you know, they break down quickly.

 

Nathan Danielson:

I think where this really starts getting exciting, where I'm going with this whole discussion is, through research, we can take the corn and the sugars from this corn, and we can make a whole range of plastics. And we're making a whole range of plastics from the very short-lived plastics that would be appropriate for these straws to more durable plastic that would be appropriate for cell phone covers or materials that you'd use in a car.

 

Nathan Danielson:

So there's a lot of these and you know, again, I would give you the short-lived plastics first, polyhydroxyalkanoates, polybutylene succinate is another good one. This one actually is interesting. PBS can be used in straws today and they'll degrade in marine environments. So we, and that is, can be completely a bio-based product. It could come from corn. And of course polylactic acid. Polylactic acids are a really great plastic that can be degraded when composted. So, you know, I think that we've got... we have some really good ways to answer environmental needs, both in composting plastics and in plastics that would degrade in marine environments.

 

Nathan Danielson:

So that's why I get excited about this. You know, there's lots of solutions, but the solutions, I think are environmental solutions. One of those environmental solutions is cleaning up the plastic waste that you see in marine environments. But there's a bigger one too. And hopefully, we can talk about that a little later, which is a greenhouse gas solution as well.

 

Jon Doggett:

So John Bode with the Corn Refiners Association, your members are based all over the world. When we talk about new uses, we're talking about products that might not even have been thought of yet. When you think of ethanol, that didn't happen overnight. So how do your members view this opportunity with bio-based products?

 

John Bode:

They're very enthusiastic about it, Jon. Our members have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in this area. They see it as the leading growth area and we're especially excited... they're based all over the world, but we're especially excited right here in the US because we feel that our industry of chemical engineering has a competitive advantage because no one in the world produces carbohydrates as efficiently as American corn farmers. That is a basic building block we're using. They're real excited and to pick up on Nathan's point, there are multiple environmental imperatives that are driving us forward for these products to... in the bio-economy to grow.

 

John Bode:

You very appropriately raised the marine waste issue. I think we've got broader municipal waste issues, and these products have great answers there. They are a wonderful answer to concerns about greenhouse gases, because we have that one-year life cycle on that carbon instead of using carbon that was stored millions of years ago when dinosaurs were roaming the earth. Also water quality, as you pointed out, but water quality plays out in a number of ways in soil health because plastic particles are becoming a growing concern in soil health.

 

John Bode:

So having broader use of these renewables, there is a significant market interest, and we feel, a great future.

 

Jon Doggett:

So, John, what are some of the biggest challenges from your perspective in this space?

 

John Bode:

Well, first of all, let's recognize that the primary alternative feedstock is petrochemical and oil and gas prices are very low. And it's really tough to take on a legacy industry when they have super low costs for their primary feedstock and the advantage of already being in place. They own the markets, they have the facilities. That is the number one challenge is just a competitive challenge. And we have to overcome that. The number two challenge that I see is the environmental protection agency has a truly backward policy that they treat carbon emissions from stationary sources, the same way, whether it is from a short cycle annual crop, or it is from a fossil fuel. They are the only regulatory authority in the world that does that. It's even inconsistent with their own greenhouse gas inventory. And yet they haven't fixed that problem yet. And that is holding back investment in the bio-economy. It's such a factor that we estimate that about a billion dollars of new investment in the corn refining industry is being blocked, in the US, is being blocked by that EPA policy.

 

Dusty Weis:

So John, when you're talking about all of these different products and the potential that they have, what's the path for getting these new products to market and commercializing them?

 

John Bode:

First of all, we've got a number of products that are in the market now. So you see the corn base compostable cups that are in the market. Some restaurant chains, some of the most progressive are moving to having all of their materials, food packaging, and the like is compostable. But it takes a system for the compostables, for example, to really work, we need to have a composting infrastructure. And that's very doable because it's actually more economical for cities and counties to compost than operate a landfill because they've got a product at the end. And so it's more economical. But getting that system in place so that composting... those compostable products can actually achieve their purpose.

 

John Bode:

There is some public private sector cooperation that's needed to build out that infrastructure. Then also, I'm really eager to hear what Dr. Shank says, because let's recognize there's a tremendous amount of scientific development to come. Every day I see new stories about exciting new developments.

 

John Bode:

So for that scientific base to develop, or the products that are not just doing the same thing as conventional plastics, but actually doing better, having functional advantages, that's coming online. My favorite one right now is, in Germany there's work being done on a self-repairing auto paint. So basically you can put a little heat gun on a scratch on the auto paint and it will self-repair.

 

Dusty Weis:

I'll be darned. Well, that's just absolutely fascinating, and a great point as well to transition to Dr. Brent Shanks from Iowa State University. Dr. Shanks, you're really the one that starts this entire innovation process here. If it weren't for the labs and the research that goes on at your facility, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. So based on the research from the lab and the projects that you've been working on, what have you found when it comes to using corn as a product for these bio-based materials?

 

Dr. Brent Shanks:

You know, the first comment I would make is I think it's been known for a long time that sugars such as... can be co... particularly cost-effectively produced from corn, can be made into a broad range of different molecules. The challenge has always been historically for how do we do that in an economical sort of way. The beauty now is we've had an explosion of biotechnology going on across the world that's allowed us now to access in a more practical sort of way, or potentially more practical sort of way, a number of those different molecules.

 

Dr. Brent Shanks:

So in my mind then that's really changed what the challenge is. We have all these great tools now to create molecules, but now we really need to answer the question of how do we choose, what are the right molecules to make, because we've gone from... the petrochemical industry quite candidly has a limited range of molecules that they can access. There's much smaller than what we can get from sugars. So the beauty is that explosion of possibilities, but then the challenge of an explosion of possibilities is how do you pick the right ones to work on?

 

Dr. Brent Shanks:

And you've heard from both Nathan and John, comments on environmental attributes, which is fantastic, and that certainly things are going on. One of the big things we're looking for is we think an important driver for new bio-based products is when we can get enhanced performance in end-use applications. So in other words, products that are produced from molecules generated from corn that can actually create added value in the product. Now, the beauty of that is that you're creating value with that product. So you're creating market drive to do it, and it's not required... it doesn't require government policy to try to get there. It's really driven by the economics of the situation.

 

Dr. Brent Shanks:

And we think what's fundamentally required now is how do we figure out how to take those market demands and push them back to, what are the molecules we need to make? So let me give you a couple of examples of ones that our center has demonstrated at the lab scale.

 

Dr. Brent Shanks:

The first one is a plastics example, so Nylon 6,6 is a very common plastic. It's well-liked for a lot of end-use applications. The problem with Nylon 6,6, however, is it picks up a small amount of moisture. If you just leave it out in a humid atmosphere, it picks up about 4% moisture. Well, it turns out if you get above 2% moisture in Nylon 6,6, you lose 40% of the mechanical integrity of the polymer. What this means is that polymer can't be used in some applications. So the market need here is how do we make and modify Nylon 6,6 to overcome this issue.

 

Dr. Brent Shanks:

And so we use a sugar derived molecule that we can then incorporate into Nylon 6,6 to actually make a water repellent Nylon 6,6, which now all of a sudden creates new opportunities to use that polymer that we didn't have before. And you're increasingly creating value by doing that.

 

Dr. Brent Shanks:

Another example is right now, a lot of our insecticides that we use to combat mosquitoes or cockroaches are based on a family of molecules called pyrethrins. They come from petrochemical sources, but also importantly, they've been used in the insecticidal community for going on 25 years now. And these bugs are starting to develop resistance to these molecules. And so the market need is how do we move away from pyrethrins? Well, we've identified some again, molecules that we can generate from sugars that are very effective insecticides that are nothing like pyrethrins. So we've now been able to then potentially overcome this evolving issue with organisms that can be resistant to pyrethrins.

 

Jon Doggett:

So, Brent, can you share some examples of products that you term as bio privileged?

 

Dr. Brent Shanks:

As I mentioned, one of the big challenges deciding what molecules to make, and as I mentioned that really needs to be market-driven. The challenge is if you only develop technology for a single product, that can be a very cost disadvantaged approach. So what we've been working on is how do we identify molecules that we can make from sugars that are essentially intermediate molecules that can be diversified into a range of different products that have end-use applications?

 

Dr. Brent Shanks:

So the examples I gave of the enhanced or water repellent Nylon 6,6 and the alternative insecticide, those were based on what we would call bio privileged, intermediate molecules, which we can access these novel molecules that can be used in products. And so we think that an important part of this overall strategy of developing bio-based products, cost-competitive bio-based products is we need to be thinking about ultimately down the road, what does the manufacturing look like? And we're convinced that the right manufacturing strategy is to generate large volume molecule intermediates, that we can then make into a range of different molecules. And that's what we deem bio privileged molecules.

 

Jon Doggett:

So Sarah McKay director of market development, and at NCGA. And you're kind of the reason that we're all here, you work with all these organizations and start pulling all of these things together. So, as we mentioned in the opening, we're working with academia, we're working with USDA researchers and other government entities. Why, and why is finding a new use for corn a focus for in NCGA?

 

Sarah McKay:

Thanks Jon, you know the growers listening know all too well, that grinding more corn is absolutely imperative. And it's the success of our growers that are continuously finding new ways to grow more with less. But it's one of the factors that we continue to have an annual carry out of corn. And this really does present an opportunity though, for us to pursue these new uses, while also meeting our current demand and future for feed, fuel and food demand. And I'm going to speak just a little bit about how NCGA approaches our new uses efforts and a little bit more about our integrated programs.

 

Sarah McKay:

So as you know, Jon, at NCGA, we are committed to building demand at all levels across the supply chain. And this is done by creating new opportunities, improving efficiencies, and building trust with our consumers.

 

Sarah McKay:

So we take a three-pillar approach and the first pillar is encouraging and creating new demand. And this is things like our Consider Corn Challenge. The second pillar is to make sure that we position corn as the clear feedstock choice. And the third pillar is to help our customers sell products to their customer.

 

Jon Doggett:

Okay. So Sarah, you mentioned the Consider Corn Challenge. Talk about that contest. And some of the technologies that some of these winners have come forward with.

 

Sarah McKay:

So far, we've had two open innovation contests and each contest had a large number of submissions, but we had nine winners across the two, two contests so far that were chosen with industry input. And these were based on things like the volume of corn that would be used by this new technology, whether or not this created a new market for those corn-based products, how far along they were in commercialization, as well as what Dr. Shanks, as well as John Bode, they both mentioned these bio advantaged, or performance-enhanced properties. Those were all factors among others that were taken into consideration when we're choosing our Consider Corn Challenge winners then.

 

Sarah McKay:

The technologies that have come out of this ranged in everything from thermoset resins, new Nylon 6,6 applications that Dr. Shanks mentioned, all the way to things like hydrocolloid application in healthcare and pharmaceutical products, to something called mono-ethylene glycol, which is a technology that our colleagues over at Iowa Corn actually work on. And this has applications in plant-based bottles and plastic bottles that we use every day.

 

Sarah McKay:

So far our winners are all still continuing in their commercialization and product development. And that's really exciting, especially given the time that these contests have been going on and that these winners have been named. So because of the success that we've had with the first few Consider Corn Challenges, the market development action team is actually considering a third Consider Corn Challenge.

 

Sarah McKay:

And while I could go on and on about our winners and their technologies, our listeners can actually find out more information @ncga.com/newuses

 

Jon Doggett:

Okay. Sarah, and as a followup, I know that you and other members of our staff have been having meetings with USDA and the department of energy. Some might ask, why would we work with the Department of Energy on corn and in new uses?

 

Sarah McKay:

Yeah. So every year, the Department of Energy, even the Department of Defense and USDA has opportunities for grants and funding, research projects, and other technology transfers opportunities. And we want to make sure that we're collaborating across the industry and with these early stakeholders as well, to position corn as that commercially available feedstock of choice. We want to make sure that they recognize the value from the abundancy, the affordability and the sustainability of corn and how the properties of corn position it to be the perfect feedstock choice.

 

Sarah McKay:

You know, the visits that... and our growers go on these visits with us, whether it's to DC or to the USDA and Department of Energy labs, our action team leaders and our corn board leaders, they attend. And there you get the opportunity to share their story. And we've heard from folks, whether it's the USDA Peoria lab or the Albany lab, they say, Hey this... having these visits from the growers actually helped them communicate to the folks that come to them to start these projects, the value of corn. So, that presents a lot of value.

 

Jon Doggett:

What we always say over and over again is, nobody tells a farmer's story better than a farmer. So as a final question, I want to go around the horn and have each of you answer this, what do you see as the future corn in the bio-based plastics and other renewable products and molecules? And John Bode, CEO of the Corn Refiners Association, we're going to start with you.

 

John Bode:

I think it's tremendous. Jon. Just consider this, the Corn Refiners Association provided seed money to start a new trade association called the Plant-Based Products Council. And that was to advocate for all of these bio-based materials. And we did that because it was the right thing to do. The policy should be a feedstock agnostic, but also with complete confidence that corn is so efficiently produced and is such a wonderful feedstock here that it has tremendous promise. And we need to develop that.

 

John Bode:

In that same vein, American agriculture is really well-positioned to take advantage of these environmental imperatives because no agriculture anywhere is as sustainable as that provided by the American farmer. And a significant part of that is the leadership of NCGA, credit the NCGA, particularly the Soil Health Partnership, as providing that kind of leadership.

 

Jon Doggett:

Dr. Brett Shanks, Director of the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals at Iowa State. Same question.

 

Dr. Brent Shanks:

I think that I would echo John Bodes' comments that there's great potential. In fact, it's already happening, bio-based products are happening and it's growing and it's inevitably going to grow. It's really just a question of rate in my view, in terms of how fast is that going to happen? And corn is going to be at the center of that. I mean, as I mentioned, I came from the petrochemical industry. It's all about cheap carbon and the cheapest way to get sugars still in the US and in my view for the foreseeable future is from corn. And so it will be the winner as John talked about. And so, again, it's just a matter of how fast are we able to bring this to fruition rather than if it's going to come to fruition.

 

Jon Doggett:

Nathan Danielson, principal of BioCognito.

 

Nathan Danielson:

I would say just to follow up on what Brent said, the speed, I think we're all really optimistic. The sky's the limit. On speed, I think one thing that would really help is, we've talked a little bit about plastics that can degrade in the environment and the work that John and his team are doing on compostability is fantastic, but I think we really do need to think about these durable plastics. If we can make durable plastics from renewable corn, even if the end of life is landfill, what we've done is we've taken CO2 out of the environment and sequestered it. And you think about some of the other programs that are being done for sequestration now, which are putting up these large pumps and actually pumping CO2 into the ground. That's a lot of energy and a lot of expense.

 

Nathan Danielson:

We can double dip. And I think this will really drive use of renewable plastics if we can teach people. And this is policymakers as well as consumers that, Hey, when you're taking and you're using this plastic and it's end of life is a landfill, then you actually are sequestering carbon. So, I'm very optimistic, I think the future is really bright, but I do think there's a couple of things we can do to really expedite adoption. And that's going to get to Brent's question of speed. And I think one of the things is really allow consumers to understand that when you're using this plastic cup, that's from renewable corn, you're actually taking CO2 out of the air.

 

Jon Doggett:

And last Sarah McKay director of Market Development at NCGA.

 

Sarah McKay:

Thanks Jon, I get really excited when we talk about the future of these new uses. And I think that that excitement is reflected not only by the folks on this call, but everyone across this value chain, from our growers to industry representatives to the research agencies. And I think that's because it's a win-win multiple times over. It's a win for our growers and making sure that they remain profitable and that we continue to grind more corn. It's a win for consumers that they can have more choice. And in particular, when it comes to products that are bio -advantaged, and have performance-enhanced properties. It's a win for the environment. And we've talked a lot about that and how corn and ag, this allows us to position corn and ag as a solution to a lot of the sustainability goals and questions that we face.

 

Sarah McKay:

It benefits both wet and dry mills as they work to diversify and have more product and product lines and offerings that enhance their profitability. It’s even a win for our ag partners because as new corn fractionation technologies develop, this allows next-generation feed products to be developed so we can have more tailored species-specific feed products that those animals can better utilize.

 

Sarah McKay:

And then it's also a win for our economy and for economic... and particular rural development. And I think when you combine all that together, it's a really compelling argument for corn to be used for these new uses. And that's why we do the work that we do at NCGA, and we work with our state partner associations, and we work with our grower leaders and stakeholders across the industry to make sure that we are positioning corn to take advantage of this opportunity.

 

Jon Doggett:

Well, thank you. And this is really exciting, and we're talking about win-win-win for everybody. And it's important for us to continue to work in this space and we're going to with this huge carry out that we've had from the 2019 crop. And so far, this 2020 crop is going to... it has a good start. We're going to have a lot of corn come fall. And we're going to continue engaging in conversations and identify and foster new corn and corn-based product demand within the bio-based products industry. And there's just such excitement there, and there's a lot of work to be done, and we're lucky to have partners in this space to help us continue to move the ball forward.

 

Jon Doggett:

So thanks again to John Bode, Dr. Brent Shanks, Nathan Danielson, and Sarah McKay for joining me today. And before we end, I want to give a shout out to our producer and ask him on behalf of all of us to thank his wife, Cecilia, who is a doctor and who just recently went back to work and is one of the folks on the front lines with the pandemic. And so Dusty, please extend our thank yous to her.

 

Dusty Weis:

Well, and she'll appreciate that so much, Jon. I tell her every chance that I get that right now, she is not only the most important breadwinner in our household, but she's a hero of sorts. She's a firefighter running into a burning building, and we couldn't be more thankful to her and all of her colleagues that are just on the front lines, trying to push back against this pandemic right now.

 

Jon Doggett:

Well, again, thank you here from all of us and thank you for all that you do too. So that's all we have for this month's episode. Thank you for listening to Wherever John May Roam. I'm Jon Doggett, I am the CEO of the National Corn Growers Association. Thank you.

 

Dusty Weis:

That is going to wrap up this edition of Wherever Jon May Roam, of the National Corn Growers Association podcast. New episodes arrive monthly, so make sure you subscribe on your favorite app and join us again soon.

 

Dusty Weis:

Visit ncga.com to learn more or sign up for the association's newsletter in your email. Wherever Jon May Roam is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and produced by Podcamp Media, branded podcast production for businesses, podcampmedia.com

 

Dusty Weis:

For the National Corn Growers Association, thanks for listening. I'm Dusty Weis.