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The Sweet Smell of Success…and Beets!

Submitted by on August 1, 2017 – 3:12 pmNo Comment

(Treasure Coast Research Park)  … On Wednesday, June 14th, a team of research and industry leaders established through the leadership of St. Lucie County’s Treasure Coast Research Park, gathered at Tropicana’s feed processing facility in Fort Pierce to test the possibility of turning beets into one of the key ingredients for jet fuel of tomorrow and into an equally important high-nutrient feed for livestock.

The Tropicana test marks the last step in a highly successful 18-month Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) funded by USDA Rural Development. The grant identified the feasibility of creating this new and important opportunity for the St. Lucie county agriculture industry and for others in Florida who have suffered citrus crop losses from Citrus greening infestation. The RBDG was conducted under the leadership of the Treasure Coast Education, Research, and Development Authority’s (TCERDA), located off Pruitt Research Park Road in St. Lucie County.

Importantly this initial trial was designed to learn if Tropicana’s equipment could process beets as effectively as it does citrus peel, offering the industry leader a viable income stream and means to turn seasonal workers into yearlong staff members. Importantly, the test shows the potential to provide St. Lucie growers with the opportunity to add a new cash crop to compensate for losses to citrus greening.

In addition to providing pelletized feed product high in nutrients to help feed livestock in Florida and across the country, the other prime co-product of beet processing is a large amount of sucrose, which can be converted into jet fuels and diesel for trucks and marine use as well as other chemical co-products.

Link to entire Farm to Fly Feasibility Report can be accessed at:


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