Q&A

DEAR NEW FARM:

I have 64 acres in Rhode Island and would like to know if it would profitable to grow corn for Ethanol.
Thanks,

Bill King
Rhode Island

 

DEAR BILL:

Probably not, at least for the commercial market. Corn ethanol, which requires vast energy inputs, is not a sustainable model for current or future energy needs. Despite this, the gold rush is on and prices are up, for now. University of Vermont professor Vern Grubinger says that with all the ethanol plants planned for Iowa, the state will be a net importer of corn inside of five years. Feedstocks do exist for biofuels that are easier on the land—that even build the soil—and that don’t require costly inputs, in terms of both energy and dollars. Just like “local” makes sense—in terms of production and distribution—as a means of fixing our broken food system, so, too, is this a sound model for our energy needs. Here’s a link to a paper Dr. Grubinger wrote on closed-loop on-farm biodiesel production.

NF

 

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