A partnership between Perdue AgriBusiness and Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Technology Crops International introduced a new crop, known as HEAR, to farmers in North Carolina.

The crop, high erucic acid rapeseed, or HEAR, looks identical to canola, but the oil the crop produces has a different composition.

HEAR has been grown in the state for three years in trial work and will now be provided to North Carolina farmers through the partnership. HEAR, unlike wheat, is grown under contract. TCI supplies the seed, agronomic assistance and then purchases the end crop from farmers, while Perdue provides storage and processing.

Oil from HEAR seed can be used in the manufacturing of polymers, petroleum additives, pharmaceuticals, foods and personal-care products, and a derivative of the oil is used in the manufacturing process for almost all plastic bags.

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"We have a very strong demand for HEAR globally, and are seeking long-term crop production partners," says Andrew Hebard, president and CEO of TCI. "Yield results in North Carolina prove the state offers one of the best regions for growing HEAR. Commercial crops grown by North Carolina farmers produced approximately 55 bushels per acre in 2011. We contract with growers around the world to supply specialty oils to our customers and we're pleased to be able to bring this opportunity to farmers right here in our home state."

The companies expect HEAR will earn growers from $50 to $100 more per acre than wheat, and the crop could potentially improve wheat yields the following growing season by as much as 15%. The meal produced after the oil is extracted from the seed is a high-protein animal feed, which the companies say will help North Carolina's current protein deficit in the livestock production industry.

North Carolina farmers interested in growing HEAR should contact TCI at +1.877.780.5882 or Perdue AgriBusiness at goagpartners@perdue.com.