Yulex Corporation, a manufacturer of renewable biomaterials derived from guayule, is partnering with Arizona Grain, Inc. to expand and manage its guayule program.

This long-term commercial agreement will enable Yulex to cost-effectively and rapidly scale its agriculture program to meet the demand of major manufacturers of medical devices and consumer brands seeking high-performance sustainable materials including Yulex natural rubber.

Under the terms of the agreement, Yulex will supply its proprietary seed to Arizona Grain who will contract with its network of over 600 growers to produce guayule. Arizona Grain will oversee the growing cycle from field establishment through harvest and transportation of feedstock to the Yulex processing facility for the extraction of guayule natural rubber.

While the initial focus of the program will be Arizona-based, the agreement allows for expansion into California and New Mexico.

“We are pleased to be associated with a local agriculture company that also has a strong global reach like Arizona Grain,” said Jeff Martin, Yulex Corporation chief executive officer.

“This partnership will accelerate the adoption of guayule as a vital industrial crop which can lessen America’s reliance on imported natural rubber from Southeast Asia,” said Martin. “It will position Yulex as a key provider of cellulosic feedstocks to the emerging bioenergy industry as our agricultural residues can be combusted in biomass-fired power plants to produce electrical power.”

Arizona Grain President Eric Wilkey said, “The U.S. Southwest is a leader in sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. We are very pleased to partner with Yulex Corporation and play a pivotal role in advancing guayule as a new industrial crop and sustainable industry based here. We are looking forward to working with growers and offering them the opportunity to participate in the commercialization of guayule as a viable and sustainable crop.”

Yulex and Arizona Grain are based in Maricopa, Ariz.