By Melissa St. Aude | Pinal Central
ELOY — A small, often overlooked shrub could make a big difference in the rubber industry and it could change the face of farming in Pinal County.
For several years, tire-maker Bridgestone has been researching the native desert shrub guayule (pronounced why-oo-lee) on a 300-acre farm in Eloy. The company is about to enter phase two of its research pilot project, doubling acreage dedicated to the shrub and encouraging other growers to plant it as a crop.
“It’s very exciting to see Bridgestone want to commercialize guayule,” said Bridgestone Operations Manager Dave Dierig. “It’s exciting for everyone.”