Southern Iowa Considers Dedicated Energy Co-Op

Emily Heaton, Faculty, Agronomy


Farmers in the Southern Iowa RC&D want 1) a profitable crop; 2) to reduce sedimentation of lakes from field erosion; 3) stable electricity


Educate area thought leaders on dedicated energy crop species, production potential and cultural practices.



A 2-hour informal meeting was held on the ISU campus in Ames with Southern Iowa RC&D board members, the RC&D coordinator, and Agronomy faculty (Rick Cruse, Emily Heaton). During the meeting, we learned the needs of the producer group as they seek to organize a co-op to produce energy feedstock for area utilities. I provided an overview of what crops might be suitable to the region, and how the crops used will depend on the type of renewable energy desired (ethanol, heat, electricity) and on the land available. Rick described how the choice of crop system would impact the RC&D’s lakes and watersheds.


At the conclusion of the meeting, it was decided that ISU and the Southern Iowa RC&D would work together on research projects investigating ways Miscanthus x giganteus could be established on sloped land using companion crops. Currently we are collaborating on grant applications for external funding.

Outcome Statement:   

Short-term results measure awareness and knowledge. 

Short-term outcomes of this activity were 1) increased awareness of different types of biomass feedstock and their markets; 2) new knowledge of the dedicated biomass crops Miscanthus and high-biomass sorghum; 3) new knowledge of the critical gaps in biomass agronomy research that must be addressed to allow farmers to confidently adopt biomass crops.

Medium-term results measure behavior change. 

Long-term results measure condition (i.e., new standard).


100 Corn and Soybean Production and Protection

Page last updated: July 15, 2009
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