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Corn research facility creates innovative solutions for niche markets

Photo courtesy of JFS & Associates

Tucked away on Easy Drive, in Harlan, Iowa, is one of the best kept secrets in Shelby County.

JFS & Associates, founded in 2005, houses between 120 and 130 white and 70 and 80 yellow corn hybrids. Dr. Jerry Strissel, president and owner, applies over four decades worth of experience to create new material for niche markets.

“It’s a cooperative research project, where you look for sources of genetic diversity and make all of these combinations. The results have been quite good, especially for the niche products a lot of people are in,” Dr. Strissel says.

Dr. Strissel’s first project at JFS & Associates stemmed from a great friendship, which later lead to creating better tortillas.

“Over the years, I developed a good friendship with one of the owners of a tortilla company in Chicago. In Chicago, they have nine plants. Across the United States, they have a total of 15,” Strissel says. “He became infatuated with one of the high protein whites we developed and wanted something specifically for him because this was one way for them to differentiate themselves from the rest of the tortilla business. And so we did.”

Dr. Strissel invested numerous hours into this project, which in turn helped JFS & Associates secure a deal with the Chicago-based company.

“As of two weeks ago, we secured a significant volume for their plant in Texas,” Dr. Strissel says. “What they like about it is it processes evenly and lowers the BOD in their wastewater, which is cost-effective. They can lower the temperature of cooking and time of steeping, and the texture and taste is something of essence to them.”

Dr. Strissel’s research ranges from food-grade products to animal feeds. We’ll have more on his research in the coming days, so stay plugged in to the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.