The second session here at the Transition To A Bio Economy conference was on risk and uncertainty.
Jim Larson, University of Tennessee, talked about farmers risk in growing switchgrass as a biomass feedstock for fuel production. He says that this is a commodity that will come into play looking forward. His research shows that it’s risky for farmers because it’s difficult to establish and takes several years to get to full yield. He thinks that farmers will need incentives from biomass processors to get started.
Harvesting this crop is also risky since you have to deal with large amounts of material that’s subject to weather and storage concerns. Some ways to help with risk would be contracting and price guarantees.
You can listen to my interview with Jim here: [audio:http://www.zimmcomm.biz/farm-foundation/ff-bio-08-larson.mp3]
You can also download the interview using this link (mp3).
I’m also uploading pictures to a photo album which you can feel free to use if you’d like: Transition To A Bio Economy Photo Album