Business: The Why of Guayule

The U.S. last week took its biggest single step yet toward future self-sufficiency in rubber. The Department of Agriculture okayed a $25,000,000 project to plant 45,000 acres in the Southwest with guayule (wa-yu-ley), a tough, sagebrush-like plant containing 20-22% pure rubber.

Guayule rubber is not new; Intercontinental Rubber Co. has been producing and selling it for 35 years. A U.S. corporation, Intercontinental gets all of its guayule rubber from Mexico, where the shrub grows wild in high, semi-arid regions. Mexican peons yank the plants from the ground, tie them on the backs of plodding burros, send them off to one of...

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