Producers learn how perennial energy crops fit in Iowa agriculture

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension
Iowa State University

Extension Lead(s)
(name, position, counties served, contact information)

Emily Heaton;; 515.294-1310

Your Position


POW # and Team

 ­­­­­__x___100 Corn and Soybean Production and Protection
­­­­­_____ 110 Dairy
­­­­­_____ 120 Farm and Business Management
­­­­­_____ 130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer
­­­­­_____ 140 Iowa Beef Center
­­­­­_____ 150 Iowa Pork Industry Center
­­­­­_____ 160 Natural Resources and Stewardship

ANR Priority (select all that apply)

­­­­­_____Global Food Security and Hunger
­­­­­_____Regional Food Systems
­­­­­_____Natural Resources & Environmental Stewardship
­­­­­_____Food Safety
­­­­­_x____Sustainable Energy – Biofuels & Biobased Products
­­­­­_____Climate Change

Title of Success Story

Producers learn how perennial energy crops fit in Iowa agriculture

Continuing Story

___x__ No                _____  Yes (If continuing, what story?)

Knowledge Areas: (USDA categories)



Desired Changes


(Why is it important to address this issue with education?  What are the desired changes?)

The US is trying to increase production of advanced biofuels made from cellulosic biomass like perennial grasses and wood. Southern Iowa is well-suited to produce these crops that can also improve soil, water and habitat quality on marginal land that is under increasing pressure from high commodity prices.

(Outputs: activities, numbers reached, publications, products)

A 1-day workshop was held March 17, 2011 in Creston, IA. 40 participants interacted with presenters to learn about crop production, market development, energy production technology and successful examples from neighboring states.

RESULTS (Outcomes:  specific changes that occurred in Learning, Actions, Conditions; how outcomes were measured)

The majority of participants knew little about biomass energy before the workshop and felt they had increased their knowledge afterwards. Overwhelmingly, the participants felt the workshop should be held at least annually.

Public Value (now or future)
(Impact:  Who benefits beyond participants and how?  What conditions changed?)

Farmers and landowners benefited from learning about crop diversification opportunities. If they choose to adopt perennial energy crops, they will benefit from improved environmental quality as well as economic value in a developed market area. The public at large will benefit from biomass crop production in Iowa through improved environmental quality associated with reduced fossil fuel combustion as well as the myriad benefits provided by perennial grasses and an improved rural economy.

Major Partners or Collaborators

Jeremy Singer ARS, Mark DePoy NRCS, Doug Davenport NRCS, Rick Sprague ARS, Rick Cruse ISU.

Where story took place
(Region, campus, multi-regional)

State – southern Iowa

Fiscal Year


Multi-state or Integrated (Ext + Research)

Integrated. Part of a larger grant that has on-campus and on-farm work.

Funding Source



Perennial grasses, Miscanthus, switchgrass, biomass, bioenergy, crop production


Page last updated: July 1, 2011
Page maintained by Julie Honeick,