The auto industry represents an exciting opportunity to boost value for Ontario's agricultural products. The farming community produces many of the raw materials and renewable feedstocks required in bioproducts, such as plant-based oils, starches and fibres.
Ontario is Canada's largest agriculture producing province, distinguished by its innovation and diversity. Members of the Ontario Soybean Growers, comprising one of the farming industry's most progressive sectors, have shown support for the Ontario BioAuto Council through active involvement in the council's activities. These farmers appreciate the potential for agricultural markets to provide alternatives to petroleum-based products.
Introducing enhanced varieties of corn and soy will add value to farming operations and increase profits for farmers. New opportunities are opening up for crop diversification, including fibre crops such as hemp and wheat straw. Research is underway to determine how these crops, as well as traditional corn and soy crops, can be used in the auto sector. Many bioplastics, foams and composites have already shown superior properties in weight, texture and structural traits.
Auto parts made from farm commodities have been a proven concept since transportation pioneer Henry Ford introduced the soy car in the 1930s. Technology and market demand have improved over the years, but the concept remains the same: performance, affordability and sustainability. Ontarios agricultural sector is poised to take the next step, and feed the growing bioproducts industry.