What is the SGP (Canola)

The mission of the Sun Grant Program (SGP) is to grow renewable energy and biobased industries that revitalize rural communities by harnessing science and technological capacities of Land-Grant University research, education and extension programs.


Sun Grant was first authorized in January 2004 in section 9011 as an amendment to Title IX of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002   (7 USC 8109) and was reauthorized in the 2008 Farm Bill as section 7526.  Additionally, Sun Grant is authorized as section 5201(m) under provisions of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users of 2005 [SAFETEA-LU (23 USC 118)]. These authorizations culminated the planning and development since 2001 by Land-Grant universities and the Congress.

The mission of the SGP is to:

  • Enhance national energy security through the development, distribution, and implementation of biobased energy technologies;
  • Promote diversification in, and the environmental sustainability of agricultural production in the United States through biobased energy and product technologies;
  • Promote economic diversification in rural areas of the United States through biobased energy and product technologies; and
  • Enhance the efficiency of bioenergy and biomass research and development programs through improved coordination and collaboration between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy, and the land-grant colleges and universities.

With a national office located in Washington, DC, there are five regional centers across the U.S., including the Northeast Center at Penn State University (originally Cornell University until 2014), Southeast Center at University of Tennessee, South Central Center at Oklahoma State University, North Central Center at South Dakota State University, and Western Center at Oregon State University. In 2010, a Western Region Subcenter was established at the University of Hawaii as authorized through the 2008 Farm Bill. The regional concept allows each center to focus on the priority areas and feedstocks unique to their respective area.

To learn more about the four other Sun Grant Centers (Western-Oregon State University, North Central-South Dakota State University, Northeastern-Pennsylvania State University, and Southeastern-University of Tennessee University), click on a region’s host university to visit their Sun Grant Program website.




The South Central Center is directed under the supervision of Oklahoma State University’s Principle Investigator and Interim Director, Dr. Keith Owens, and Associate Director, Dr. Raymond Huhnke. The South Central region consists of Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. A few of the major center activities include:

Awarding Competitive and Center Awards to regional land-grant university employed Principle Investigators (PIs) and their collaborators. Projects must fit into a set of regional priorities created by the center to be eligible for funding. As of 2013, over $7.5 million in US DOT-RITA and over $2.8 million in USDA-NIFA funds have been awarded to PIs working towards the goal of creating a biobased economy.

Participating in the national Sun Grant Feedstocks Partnership, funded by the Department of Energy – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office of Biomass Program. Each center has been charged with three tasks: 1) biomass resource assessment, 2) biomass resource development, and 3) biomass resource education and outreach. Collaboration among each Sun Grant Center’s regional partnership will become critical in developing sustainable biomass production and crop rotation strategies for both existing and new biomass resources.

Maintaining and contributing to the educational Sun Grant Bioweb website hosted by the Southeast Sun Grant Program.  The Sun Grant BioWeb is a non-commercial, educational website that provides current information about using biomass resources for bioenergy and bioproducts. All BioWeb content is contributed by experts in their fields and vetted through an academic peer review process.