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Iowa State University Extension


Extension looks at the future of the bioeconomy in Greene County

Greene Team: Haddad, Anderson, Hertel

What should Greene County do to minimize the negative impacts and maximize the positive impacts of the bioeconomy? When Greene County residents asked this question, ISU Extension’s “Greene Team” responded —with a pilot study using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to conduct a feedstocks potential assessment, a transportation infrastructure spatial analysis and a Web-based survey. Based on the results, the team made recommendations to assist elected officials and business leaders in strategic planning.

Members of the team are Monica Haddad, assistant professor of community and regional planning; Paul Anderson, professor of landscape architecture; Craig Hertel, ISU Extension education director for Greene County; and four graduate and one undergraduate research assistants.

The feedstocks potential assessment showed that with four operating ethanol plants, four ethanol plants under construction and two operating biodiesel plants, the number of biorefineries in and around Greene County may soon reach the saturation point. However, more than 72 percent of the 203 survey respondents support increasing the number of biofuel manufacturing facilities. The survey results also indicate that Greene County residents support the expansion of livestock production.

The team recommended that Greene County should not allow new biorefinery construction to avoid future problems of corn and soybean supply. Other recommendations included repairing and reconstructing specific areas in the transportation infrastructure, conducting a suitability analysis to explore changing the types of agricultural crops grown in the county and educating residents on the importance of landscape conservation.

The complete results of the pilot study are published in the report, “A Participatory Approach to Assess the Future of the Bioeconomy in Greene County: A Pilot Study for Iowa.” For additional information regarding the study, contact Haddad, haddad@iastate.edu; Anderson, fridolph@iastate.edu; or Hertel, chertel@iastate.edu.

This article appeared in March 2008 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter