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Growing America’s Agriculture Industry

From the birth of the nation, farming has played a crucial role in the U.S. economy.  Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that the agricultural industry is a $200 billion a year business.  Even though the U.S. is one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world, forty-two percent of America's total land area is still actively used as farmland.

American agriculture is responsible for providing the necessities of everyday life such as the food and fiber that feeds and clothes millions of people around the world.  One out of three U.S. farmland acres are planted for export, making the U.S. the world's largest agricultural exporter.

Chemical derivatives play an essential role in growing America's agricultural industry.  From pest control to irrigation systems and animal nutrition to heavy farm equipment, Chevron Phillips Chemical's products help keep American farmers productive and grocery shelves stocked.

Chevron Phillips Chemical's derivatives are used in the manufacture of many diverse agricultural products that can be grouped into three categories - animal nutrition, crop production, and farm equipment.

Animal Nutrition

The key to success in commercial livestock production is the ability to raise animals that reach both maturity and a uniform weight as quickly as possible.  As a result, many farmers supplement their feed with Methionine, a naturally occurring amino acid that improves the efficiency of protein absorption.  When Methionine is added to corn or wheat feed, it speeds muscle production, encourages rapid and consistent growth, and reduces the amount of animal waste produced.

An exact replica of the natural occurring Methionine can be reproduced synthetically.  Many of the world's leading animal nutritional supplement manufacturers use Chevron Phillips Chemical's Methyl Mercaptan in this process.

Crop Production

The high agriculture production levels realized in the U.S. would not be possible without the use of insecticides to control pests, fungicides to control fungi, and herbicides to control weeds. Chevron Phillips Chemical produces a variety of organosulfur agricultural intermediates and solvents that are essential to the manufacture of thousands of products sold under various formulations and trade names. Some of which include:

  • n-Dodecyl Methyl Sulfide is used in the manufacture of a fungicide designed to combat Asian Soybean Rust.
  • n-Propyl Mercaptan is used in the manufacture of the nematicide Ethoprophos used for fruit crops and the insecticide Profenophos, which protects cotton crops from bollworm and white fly.
  • Methyl Mercaptan, Sodium Methyl Mercaptide & Dimethyl Disulfide are used in the manufacture of herbicides Ametryn, Prometryn, Simetryn, Terbutryn, and Desmetryn, which are designed to combat weeds in rice, corn, soybean, wheat, celery, grapefruit, and cotton crops.   It is also used to manufacture Methiocarb, which controls snails, slugs, wireworm, and repels birds; and it is used in Methomyl, to control ticks and spiders.
  • Ethyl Mercaptan is used in the manufacture of herbicides such as Butylate, Cycloate, and Molinate, which are also designed to combat weeds in rice, corn, beet, and spinach crops.  It is also used in the insecticide Phorate.
  • tert-Butyl Mercaptan is used in the manufacture of the insecticide Terbufos, which controls wireworms, seedcorn maggots, white grubs, corn rootworm larvae, and other pests.
  • sec-Butyl Mercaptan is used in the manufacture of the nematicide Fosthiazate, which is used to combat parasitic worms.
  • Mercaptans also find application as exfoliants, which are useful in harvesting.
  • Methylcyclohexane is used as a reaction solvent in the synthesis of a variety of fungicides.
  • Philflo® Flotation Oil and Orfom® F 2 Frother are used in the production of potash fertilizer.
Farm Equipment

Year after year, farmers plant seeds, nurture their crops, and then harvest the fruit of their labors.  No matter whether the farm is a small family operation or a large commercial enterprise, successfully working the land requires many different types of farm equipment.  From tractors to crates and hay bales to drainage systems, Chevron Phillips Chemical products can be found in almost every piece of farm equipment.

For example, Chevron Phillips Chemical's Polyethylene can be found in:

  • Lightweight Storage Tanks used for holding water, liquid fertilizer, or maintaining septic systems
  • Geomembrane Pond Liners used to prevent leeching in watering ponds or fish/shrimp farming
  • Plastic Bags that are placed inside a cotton stripper's stainless steel cage
  • Corrugated Pipe used in irrigation systems
  • Weed Barriers laid down prior to planting for weed control
  • Airtight Plastic Stretch Film in which baled hay silage is stored and transported
  • Gas Tanks in tractors, generators, pickup trucks, or other farm equipment
  • Crates used to harvest strawberries, blueberries, and other small crops

Chevron Phillips Chemical's Ryton® Polyphenylene Sulfide, a high performance engineering resin known for dimensional stability and resistance to corrosive and high-temperature environments, can be found in:

  • Irrigation Pumps
  • Self-Priming Diaphragm Pumps designed to transfer liquids of high or low viscosity
  • Connectors which are used in the heavy agricultural equipment manufactured by Caterpillar, Inc.
  • Explosive Proof Lights for chicken coops

And lastly, Chevron Phillips Chemical's Styrene can be found in the tires on farmer's trucks and tractors and the corrugated sheets of fiberglass that form the walls and roofs of greenhouses.

Today's farms may have replaced mule-drawn tillers with machines and technology, but the one thing that has remained the same is a dedication to good stewardship of the land.  No matter how it is grown or raised, all life gets its sustenance from the soil and the farmers who nurture it.  Chevron Phillips Chemical is proud to have a role in strengthening America's agricultural industry.