AgDM newsletter article, July 2006

High expectations for 2006 Biobased Conference

by Noel Holton Brathwaite, Grad Assistant - BioEconomy Initiative, Doctoral Student - Rhetoric and Professional Communication, Iowa State University, 515-294-7936,

The 2006 Biobased Industry Outlook Conference, which will be held August 28-29 at Iowa State University, promises to be a dynamic and high-profile event.This year’s theme - Growing the Bioeconomy: Reimagining Agriculture for National Energy Security - will outline strategies for producing a significant amount of U.S. energy from agricultural crops and residues.

The lead-off keynote speaker at the conference will be James Woolsey, former director of the CIA. Woolsey will discuss the role that biofuels can play in enhancing national security. Woolsey currently serves as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Clean Fuels Foundation and also serves on the National Commission on Energy Policy. He was a member of The National Commission on Terrorism from 1999-2000. Woolsey would like to see the country increase its production of biofuels and products and supports the development of biorefineries.

A second keynote address will be delivered by Dartmouth engineering professor Lee Lynd. Lynd will describe several potential models for integrated biorefineries, as well as different types of crops that can provide the raw materials needed for large scale bioenergy production. The bulk of his presentation will focus on ways to integrate the production of food, feed, fiber, and energy; and ways to continue to expand today’s ethanol plants in to integrated biorefineries which process different feedstock to a wide variety of biobased products.

Bob Egerton, commercial agribusiness division manager at CoBank; Tom Dorr, Undersecretary for Rural Development; and Willis Hanson, Iowa Bankers Association will describe the impact investors can have on the development of the agricultural sector of the economy. Vinod Khosla, another keynote speaker and a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, was recently labeled one of the nation’s most influential ethanol advocates. His firm, Khosla Ventures, endeavors to build integrated biorefineries which provide positive economic, social and environmental benefits to communities around the world.

Other highlights of this year’s conference include 14 breakout sessions, tours and workshops. The breakouts will cover new and promising bioprocessing discoveries and market incentives for biobased products, and other topics including:  human resources needs, research innovations, business development transportation needs, policy issues, and environmental issues. Conference attendees will also be able to take a tour of the Lincolnway Energy Ethanol Plant, the Iowa Energy Center/Biomass Energy Conversion Facility (BECON) or the Bill Couser Family Farm. They will also be able to visit the Iowa State Agronomy Farms or attend a demonstration workshop of I-FARM, a computer-based farm modeling system that analyzes how harvesting energy crops and residues can impact soil fertility and conservation.

Registration is limited, so interested persons are encouraged to register early.

For more information about the 2006 Biobased Industry Outlook Conference, please visit


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