Learn How to Grow Biomass Energy Crops

Learn How to Grow Biomass Energy Crops

University of Missouri Extension offers educational program on biomass grasses Dec. 6 at Bradford Farm.

Experts will discuss and answer questions on new developments with biomass grass crops during a Dec. 6 program at the University of Missouri Bradford Research and Extension Center near Columbia.

"This will be a timely meeting, as many producers in mid-Missouri and other parts of the state are preparing to plant biomass crops as part of a USDA-funded project," said Newell Kitchen, a USDA research scientist and adjunct professor at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

In addition to producing 6-7 dry tons per acre for cellulosic ethanol production, switchgrass offers excellent carbon sequestration as well as groundcover for conservation and wildlife considerations.

The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) provides financial assistance to farmers and landowners who wish to establish, produce and deliver biomass feedstock. Federal renewable fuel standards call for increasing use of cellulosic feedstock for ethanol production.

Available assistance includes matching payments for delivery of material to qualified biomass conversion facilities. Two such facilities, MFA Oil Biomass of Columbia and the Show Me Energy Cooperative of Centerview, have offered contracts to farmers for new biomass acreage in selected Missouri counties, Kitchen said.

The seminar, which begins at 10 a.m., is geared toward farmers, Extension specialists and representatives from agribusiness and farm agencies. It will include experts discussing miscanthus and switchgrass and answering farmer questions about issues in planting, weed control and harvest of these biomass crops for Missouri. The opening speaker will be Iowa State University agronomist Emily Heaton, one of the nation's leading experts on miscanthus.

Later in the program, Heaton will join MU forage specialist Rob Kallenbach and USDA plant materials specialist Jerry Kaiser in a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities with biomass grasses.

FYI

The free event includes a complimentary lunch to those who RSVP to Kristi Perry at 573-882-0085 or [email protected]. For more information about the program, contact Newell Kitchen at [email protected]. Information about the USDA BCAP program is available through the Missouri Farm Service Agency at 573-876-0925.

Source: MU Cooperative Media Group
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