Sorghum hybrid firm is first tenant for Tech's Research and Technology Park
An agbiotech company that focuses on sorghum hybrids is the first tenant signed to move into the new Texas Tech Innovation Hub and Research Park. Headquartered in Chicago, Chromatin targets its research in areas such as water scarcity, increasing global demand for food and the limits on fertile land, making a great fit for Texas Tech and the South Plains region.
Chromatin will move its research and development team from Champaign, Illinois to Lubbock, creating approximately 12 jobs. The company also has seed operations offices in Lubbock and New Deal.
"We are very pleased Chromatin will be the initial tenant at the Research Park," said Michael Galyean, dean of Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. "With increasing pressure on farmers in the region to manage their operations with less water for irrigation, sorghum should become an even more important crop than it already is."
Chromatin's CEO Daphne Preuss added, "Chromatin is excited to bring its industry-leading sorghum research program to the new Texas Tech Innovation Hub and Research Park. We believe our team will benefit from the new facilities and the proximity to Chromatin's production facilities as well as the Texas Tech community."
Chromatin has developed technologies and innovations resulting in an advanced breeding program, as well as collaborations bringing about technological developments in sorghum. Chromatin targets sorghum because it requires fewer nutrients and less water than other crops such as corn and sugarcane, and it can also be grown in more than 80 percent of the world's agricultural land.
Total U.S. sorghum production last year reached 432 million bushels using 7 million acres. Texas and Kansas are the top producing states, with Texas having between 30 to 40 percent of total U.S. production, said Jaime Malaga, a professor specializing in international trade modeling and policy with Tech's Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. A good proportion of the U.S. sorghum supply is exported to a growing international market where it is perceived as a suitable substitute for corn. In 2014, the value of the U.S. sorghum exports attained a historical $1.7 billion, a 200 percent increase over 2013, primarily due to an explosive Chinese demand that is expected to keep growing, he said.
"Sorghum or milo is among the most efficient crops in conversion of solar energy and use of water," Malaga said. "It's also drought tolerant and used mostly as a feedstock or for ethanol production."
Tech's Innovation Hub and Research Park, being constructed at the corner of Fourth Street and Quaker Ave. in Lubbock, is a $29 million, 40,000-square foot facility that been developed to promote innovation and partnerships between the academic and business communities to further research efforts.
"The ability of CASNR faculty and students to interact with Chromatin scientists should provide great opportunities to not only improve the crop, but also to advance basic and applied science in plant and animal agriculture," CASNR's Dean Galyean said.
By NORMAN MARTIN
CONTACT: Michael Galyean, Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0212NM15 / Editor's Note: To review a full text of the Chromatin story and video on Texas Tech Today, click "Texas Tech Announces First Tenant for Research and Technology Park" http://today.ttu.edu/2015/02/texas-tech-university-announces-major-corporation-as-first-tenant-for-research-and-technology-park/#sthash.Wp9bjqVZ.dpuf
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Editor: Norman Martin
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