The board of directors for CoverCress Inc., a company aiming to commercialize the nation’s first “cash cover crop,” has named Mike DeCamp as its new president and CEO and a member of the board. DeCamp takes the helm after one year of serving as chief operating officer.
CoverCress Inc. is converting field pennycress, a native winter annual, into a new winter oilseed crop for Midwest farmers under the CoverCress brand. As the “cash cover crop,” CoverCress seed allows corn and soybean farmers to add a profitable new third crop into their rotation on existing land over winter and early spring. It also offers the environmental benefits of a cover crop such as mitigating nutrient loss, reducing soil erosion and increasing soil carbon sequestration.
The CoverCress crop is unique as one of the best scalable options to produce low carbon intensity oil to be made into renewable fuels like biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, and help that industry meet the goal of doubling its role in the nation’s fuel supply. It will also be used in animal feed.
DeCamp succeeds company co-founder Jerry Steiner, who will serve as executive chairman of the board, remaining active in the company’s strategy execution.
Cameron Ator has joined in the new role of chief commercial officer, reflecting the company’s transition from a research and development focus to launching commercial operations. He brings more 30 years of ag industry experience, most recently serving with Bayer Crop Science. Ator grew up on his family farm in western Illinois and is still active in its operation today.
The company plans a commercial launch of CoverCress seed in 2022, initially partnering with Illinois and Missouri farmers, with the goal of growing to several million acres across the lower Midwest.
Alan Weber, an economist with MARC IV Consulting and a leading biodiesel expert instrumental in the commercial success of the U.S. biodiesel industry, was also elected to the board. Weber, the first independent director, will play an important role in the company’s efforts to position CoverCress oil as a reliable low-carbon feedstock source to produce biodiesel and renewable diesel, particularly in light of the industry’s aggressive goal of reaching 6 billion gallons by 2030.
From its inception, CoverCress has partnered with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a world-leading institution for plant science based in St. Louis, and the company’s headquarters are located in the 39 North innovation district.