U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is in Iowa to sign a new agreement with DuPont that sets standards for how corn stalks and other plant residue is collected from farmland for use in new cellulosic ethanol plants.
DuPont is building a $200 million plant in Nevada that will use corn residue to make ethanol. A certain amount should be left on cornfields to replenish nutrients and control erosion.
Under the memorandum of understanding signed Friday, the USDA and DuPont will work with farmers to determine how to best feed the growing cellulosic industry and maintain soil quality.
DuPont's plant is scheduled to begin production next year. The company is working with 500 farmers to collect more than 375,000 tons of corn waste annually to feed the plant.