A new survey of U.S. growers showed that 71 percent of respondents were very interested or interested in growing dedicated energy crops. An even greater percentage, 77 percent, said they had under-utilized land on which to establish energy grasses such as switchgrass, miscanthus and sorghum. The survey was conducted by Ceres, Inc. (www.ceres.net), a developer of energy crops.
While the survey was weighted to growers in the Southeast, Gary Koppenjan, communications and product marketing manager, Ceres, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, said the Midwestern growers share the same enthusiasm for energy grasses since most have marginal land that they would like to see put to better use. Given competing row crops, however, growers in the Midwest have a much higher bar to participate (in energy grass production) than growers in the Southeast, for example, he added.
Growers responding to the survey indicated they wanted to make better use of marginal land and spend less time, money and resources on crop management, Ceres reported. In addition, 70 percent of the respondents were very interested or interested in growing energy crops under contract and 48 percent they would anticipate putting at least half their acreage in long-term contracts. They also expressed interest in receiving prices linked to energy prices, and incentives for quality and inflation adjustments.