Renewable Energy Production is Focus of New Collaboration Between AFT and Argonne National Laboratory
(Washington, D.C.) – American Farmland Trust announced a new collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory to better understand farmer engagement and interest in biomass production and bioenergy use on farms in the Midwest. The collaboration includes reaching out to farmers to understand how tools and technologies can be adopted to meet the community’s needs, scaling up these tools, and providing technical assistance to the farming community on incorporating various perennial bioenergy crops into their management plans. To launch this engagement process, AFT and Argonne National Laboratory have created a brief 10–15-minute survey focused on farm energy consumption in Illinois. The survey examines the possible role of bioenergy crops in making rural communities more self-sufficient for their energy needs and reducing the use of fossil fuels.
“This new initiative is a complete win-win for farmers and Illinois residents,” said Kristopher Reynolds, AFT Midwest Regional Director. “More diverse crop rotations and market opportunities for farmers can not only improve farm profitability and resiliency, but also help Illinois achieve its water quality goals by encouraging perennial cropping systems on land vulnerable to erosion and nutrient loss.”
“Perennial bioenergy crops, such as switchgrass and willow, provide more than just income in the burgeoning biofuel industry,” said Bradford Kasberg, Argonne National Laboratory Sustainable Landscape Specialist. “They are also low maintenance, can improve local soil and water quality health and enhance wildlife biodiversity. We at Argonne have developed an online geospatial tool which can identify portions of farms, counties and watersheds that have low corn and soybean yields and are more suitable for perennial biofuel crops.”
Individual input, opinions and needs are particularly important to this project; therefore, participation is encouraged. Those who complete the survey and provide contact information will be entered into a random drawing to win $150, with four total winners. Click here to take the survey.
“We are excited to collaborate with AFT to connect with farmers and further refine the tool to meet their needs and decision-making in the biofuel market,” said Kasberg.
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.