NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded Bridgestone Americas Inc. a $35 million "climate-smart" grant to invest in expanding processing capacity for guayule, the desert shrub alternative to natural rubber.
The grant, part of the USDA's Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Initiative, will allow Bridgestone to expand cultivation of guayule the U.S Southwest with lowered greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs in the region for local U.S. farmers and Native American tribes, Bridgestone said.
"By participating in this larger industrywide initiative led by the USDA," Bridgestone's William Niaura said, "we can continue our commitment to establishing a natural-rubber industry domestically in a climate-smart way alongside other industry 'thought leaders' who are similarly dedicated to sustainable commodity production that will provide meaningful benefits for domestic growers."
Niaura is director of sustainable materials and circular economy for Bridgestone Americas.
The USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities was established to expand markets for America's climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse-gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production, and provide direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture, including for small and underserved producers.
Bridgestone's grant is part of the first pool of partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity, the tire maker said.
Bridgestone said it will leverage the grant funds to attract additional guayule growers in the Southwestern U.S. among local farmers and Native American tribes.