A Biomass Crop Production Workshop will look at reasons for the increased interest in producing biomass crops for energy in Iowa. The workshop will be held Tuesday, March 19, at the Johnson County Extension office, Iowa City, Iowa. Registration opens at 8 a.m., with the program beginning at 8:45 a.m. and concluding at 1 p.m.
This workshop, sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and cooperating partners, is specifically targeted to farmers and land managers wishing to learn more about dedicated energy crops, especially Miscanthus, for heat and power in Iowa. It will also be useful to policymakers, students, educators and the general public seeking to learn more about renewable energy.
University of Iowa goal is to get 40% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020
Farmers and land managers in the Iowa City area are especially interested in this topic because the University of Iowa has committed to an ambitious goal to procure 40% of its energy (electric power, natural gas, coal, and biomass) from renewable sources by 2020.
Since 2003, the UI has partnered with Quaker Oats to use oat hulls to produce 8% to13% of the university's annual energy need. Expanding to 40% renewable energy is a significant challenge that will require multiple renewable energy feedstocks. In addition to evaluating waste wood and invasive species as feedstocks, the UI expects to rely on dedicated energy crops, of which Miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus) is the highest yielding. The UI has contracted with two area farmers to produce Miscanthus in 2013, with future expansion expected.
Miscanthus and other perennial crops could be grown for energy production
Iowa State University has been investigating Miscanthus -- a giant, perennial grass new to Iowa, but used for energy in Asia and Europe -- and other perennials for use in Iowa farm landscapes. The Biomass Crop Production Workshop will feature speakers from UI, Iowa State, Miscanthus planting company New Energy Farms, and Miscanthus farmers from the Iowa City area. Practical information will be presented on the UI biomass project and Miscanthus crop management, including environmental impact and invasive potential. In addition to presentations and panel discussions, there will be opportunity for interaction with speakers and other attendees.
Workshop registration: Preregistration is $20 until midnight, March 12, and $30 after that date. Registrations will be accepted the day of the workshop. Registration includes refreshments, lunch and class materials. Students may attend for free but advance registration is appreciated.
Registration can be completed online with a credit card at this link. Registration forms are available on the website for mail or fax registration. For information contact ISU Extension ANR Program Services at 515-294-6429 or [email protected]. This program is sponsored by ISU Extension, USDA-NRCS, Iowa National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.