Energy farming? Bioenergy crops workshop set for April 8 in Piketon

March 15, 2013

PIKETON, Ohio - Opportunities for growing bioenergy crops in Ohio, energy policies and potential markets for biomass will be the focus of an April 8 workshop at Ohio State University's South Centers at Piketon.


The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Registration is $10 and includes breakfast and hot lunch. To register, call 740-289-2071 (ext. 132) or 800-297-2072 (ext. 132), or e-mail The workshop is limited to the first 125 registrants.


"The workshop will review a bioenergy case study from Ashtabula County, provide insight on bioenergy crop opportunities from researchers at Ohio State University and Michigan State University, and offer a walking tour of bioenergy crops on the OSU South Centers campus," said Eric Romich, an Ohio State University Extension field specialist in energy development and co-leader of OSU Extension's Energize Ohio signature program.


Some of the bioenergy crops that are being researched in Ohio include a perennial warm-season grass known as miscanthus, said Rafiq Islam, soil, water and bioenergy specialist with OSU South Centers at Piketon.


"Miscanthus is getting a lot of attention across the Midwest because of its adaptability to many different soil types, low-nutrient requirements, fast-growing nature, confined growth, and lack of dispersal - not like Johnson grass (an aggressive weed that can outcompete crops)," Islam said. "Miscanthus has a high biomass output that can be used for combustion or conversion to cellulosic ethanol or butane."


Another crop that will be featured during the workshop is guayule, a southwestern woody shrub that can produce a diesel-like fuel in addition to rubber.


Topics and speakers include:


* "Energy Trends and Policy Overview" by Romich.


* "Bioenergy Crop Opportunities in Ohio" by Islam.


* "Michigan State University Bioenergy Crop Production and Research" by Dennis Pennington, MSU Extension bioenergy specialist.


* "Case Study: Ashtabula County Miscanthus" by David Marrison, OSU Extension educator, Ashtabula County.


* "Land Capacity in Southern Ohio" by Jeff Fisher, OSU Extension educator, Pike County.


* "Guayule Crop Production in Ohio" by Katrina Cornish, endowed chair in bioemergent materials, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Ohio State.


* "Bioenergy Crop Field Tours" by Islam.


For more information on the workshop, visit


The workshop will be held at OSU South Centers' Endeavor Center (room 160), 1862 Shyville Road, Piketon.