ABOUT | Biodiesel Agricultural Research

Oilseed R&D differentiates Blue Sun from other producers in the biodiesel industry.

Blue Sun's agriculture research and development plan is focused on developing low-cost oilseed crops that are well-adapted to the hot, arid growing conditions of the High Plains. Blue Sun estimates that these new types of oilseed crops - our R&D includes dryland mustard, false flax, canola, and rapeseed varieties - can significantly reduce production costs of biodiesel over the mid- to long-term.  This is crucial since the cost of feedstock represents approximately 75% of the total cost of biodiesel fuels. The social, economic and environmental benefits of biodiesel will not be realized until the price is competitive with petroleum diesel. Thus Blue Sun’s dryland agriculture strategy represents a significant opportunity to increase the use of domestically-grown biodiesel in North America.

  • Blue Sun harvested more than one million lbs of canola and camelina from crop production in Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming during 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
  • Blue Sun maintains a conventional oilseed breeding facility in Torrington, Wyoming that currently has more than 1,600 experimental lines which include winter and spring canola and winter and spring camelina.
  • Advanced material is evaluated in regional and national performance trials. Currently available cultivars are 1) Wichita (winter canola) and 2) Cheyenne (spring camelina).

Blue Sun has been awarded several U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants to breed and commercialize (without genetic modification) new proprietary oilseed varieties for biodiesel production. Blue Sun's crops are bred for improved heat and drought tolerance, early maturity, cold tolerance, pest and disease resistance, and other important agronomic traits. An additional benefit for regional farmers is the opportunity to grow biodiesel crops on unused cropland during the winter wheat crop rotation, adding profit to the farmers' bottom line.

Expert Researchers
Charlie Rife, Ph.D., former Research Assistant Professor and Project Leader of Canola Breeding at Kansas State University, has joined Blue Sun full time as Blue Sun's Oilseed Crop Scientist and plant breeder. Dr. Rife leads Blue Sun's oilseed crop identification and testing program, working with top researchers at Kansas State, Colorado State University, the University of Wyoming, and the University of Nebraska. In addition, Blue Sun's full-time agronomist, Gus Foster, M.S., works closely with university extension agronomists and Blue Sun's network of agronomic experts to provide hands-on support to Blue Sun's family of growers.

For more information on Progressive Producers NonStock Cooperative in Nebraska please contact:

Dan Laursen

For more information on Blue Sun Producers, Inc. in Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, Oklahoma, or Montana, please contact us using our online contact form.