St. Louis, MO (April 26, 2022) – Bunge (NYSE: BG) and CoverCress Inc. (“CCI”) announced a unique commercial partnership to bring a new renewable oilseed and animal feed crop to market.
The agreement establishes a long-term commercial relationship between the two companies and supports the expansion of CCI’s CoverCress™ technology, a new winter oilseed crop that is ideal as a lower carbon intensity feedstock to help meet the growing demand for renewable fuels.
Through sophisticated breeding and gene editing, CCI has converted field pennycress, a winter annual weed, into the CoverCress crop that fits into existing corn and soybean rotations.
Adding a new, marketable crop into rotation on existing land during winter can provide farmers with additional revenue while also offering the ecosystem benefits of a cover crop; the CoverCress crop provides cover, decreases nitrogen losses, and improves overall soil health.
“Bunge is pleased to expand our relationship with CCI to continue to develop next generation lower carbon feedstocks, which will also help meet the growing demand for renewable fuels," said Greg Heckman, Bunge CEO. "We believe rotational cover crops will play a key role in our strategy in connection with the recently announced partnership with Chevron. Together, we share a commitment to sustainability and reducing carbon in our value chains.”
Bunge Ventures, the for-profit, global investment arm of Bunge, led a Series B-1 financing round in CCI in April 2021 and recently increased its stake in CCI through a Series C-1 round.
Complementing the commercial agreement between Bunge and CCI, Chevron U.S.A. Inc., a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX), also acquired an ownership stake in CCI through the Series C-1 financing round. Bunge and Chevron have announced a joint venture that will produce feedstock to supply the rapidly growing renewable fuel industry.
“Chevron continues its efforts to build a leading renewable fuels business by investing in all parts of the value chain,” said Mark Nelson, executive vice president of Downstream and Chemicals for Chevron. “This investment in CCI advances our efforts to secure a diversified source of lower carbon intensity, reliable feedstocks for our forthcoming joint venture with Bunge.”
Under the commercial partnership between CCI and Bunge, CCI will supply CoverCress grain produced under contract with farmers to Bunge for processing. The strategic partnerships among Chevron, Bunge and CCI create a dedicated farm-to-fuel supply chain for the low carbon intensity oil feedstock produced from CoverCress grain.
“The advancements in the development and performance of our climate-smart agricultural product we have branded as CoverCress™, coupled with the expansion of our strategic partnerships with Bunge and Chevron, will accelerate the pace of our commercialization efforts with growers as well the value proposition of our company,” said Mike DeCamp, CCI’s CEO. “Farmers are the key to enabling our CoverCress technology to make a difference to lowering the carbon intensity of diesel and jet fuel. That is why this agreement is so critical—it enables us and our farmer partners to earn more from the distinctive aspect of our ultra-low carbon grain than just a commodity value.”
At Bunge (NYSE: BG), our purpose is to connect farmers to consumers to deliver essential food, feed and fuel to the world. With more than two centuries of experience, unmatched global scale and deeply rooted relationships, we work to put quality food on the table, increase sustainability where we operate, strengthen global food security, and help communities prosper. As the world’s leader in oilseed processing and a leading producer and supplier of specialty plant-based oils and fats, we value our partnerships with farmers to improve the productivity and environmental efficiency of agriculture across our value chains and to bring quality products from where they’re grown to where they’re consumed. At the same time, we collaborate with our customers to create and reimagine the future of food, developing tailored and innovative solutions to meet evolving dietary needs and trends in every part of the world. Our Company is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, and we have almost 23,000 dedicated employees working across approximately 300 facilities located in more than 40 countries.
CoverCress Inc. is an innovative startup company developing a new winter oilseed crop under the CoverCress™ brand. Founded in 2013, the company is converting the common winter annual, field pennycress, using plant breeding to improve yield and maturity combined with advanced gene editing tools to improve fiber and oil composition. CoverCress™ seed allows corn and soybean farmers to add a new crop into their rotation on existing land during winter, while offering the ecosystem benefits of a cover crop, including improved soil health and carbon sequestration. It generates farm revenue as a whole grain feed ingredient, or when processed, as a low carbon intensity oil for renewable fuel production, and as a high-protein meal for animal feed. The St. Louis-based company plans a commercial launch in 2022, with the goal of growing to millions of acres across the lower Midwest. Learn more at CoverCress.com.