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EnergyAg Newsbriefs

January 2013

Welcome to this edition of EnergyAg Newsbriefs brought to you by the Washington State University Extension Energy Program Library. Please forward this issue to those of your colleagues interested in energy-efficient agricultural practices. Archives of past messages

While every URL in EnergyAg Newsbriefs is checked for accuracy prior to distribution, URLs may change, and servers may temporarily fail to connect to working URLs.


WSU Extension helps ready PNW for poplar biofuel

Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest (AHB) is a USDA-funded consortium of universities and industry partners working to develop a Pacific Northwest (PNW) biofuel industry that provides 100% renewable and infrastructure-compatible transportation fuels derived from sustainably grown hardwoods. WSU Extension, as a project partner, is playing an important role in developing an outreach program to bring research-based information on utilizing hybrid poplars for biofuels to key community stakeholders, including citizens, land managers, and policy makers. To learn more, read “Preparing the Pacific Northwest for Hardwood Biofuels,” published on page 12 of the Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals (ANREP) Fall Newsletter 2012, or see AHB factsheet/ posters presented at the November 13, 2012, Northwest Bioenergy Research Symposium.

Poultry litter gasification

"Poultry Litter a ‘Gas'" was written by Tony Kryzanowski and published in the November/December 2012 issue of Manure Manager; it describes the poultry litter gasification pilot project at M. Marsh Farms in Cheraw, South Carolina. The system produces small amounts of electricity and also serves as a valuable manure management tool for the farm. Additionally, it will serve as an example for future projects.

Sunnyside digester to benefit farms and groundwater

A new manure biodigester in Sunnyside, Washington, will produce natural gas from the manure of two large dairies while reducing ground and drinking water pollution. Details of the project, and perspectives from the farmers on its development, can be found in "Digester Systems Ramp Up Efficiency," published December 6, 2012, in Capital Press.

Thwarted plans for Idaho digesters

Two proposed Idaho manure digesters, one planned for Double B Dairy in Murtaugh and one for Swager Farms in Buhl, have been held up due to difficulties with politics, regulation, and funding. For details, see "Idaho Power Plays Hardball with Biogas Developer," published November 27, 2012, in Idaho Press-Tribune.


Solar-powered well pump for remote pastures

Researchers at the University of Georgia are testing solar well pumps to supply cows with fresh drinking water in isolated pastures. The solar pumps ensure a supply of clean water for cattle, and eliminate the need to run electric wires to remote areas. To learn more, see "Solar-powered Well Pumps Helping GA Farmers Protect Cattle, Water Quality," published December 13, 2012, in Georgia Faces.

Solar institute promotes PV for farms

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in Organic Food Supply is a 14-page white paper published December 4, 2012, by Principal Solar Institute. The document presents the case for LEED certification and water conservation on farms, and extolls the benefits of solar PV energy for a variety of farm applications.


CSNAR/SARE Mini-Grant Funding: Hosting and Attending Educational Events

Related to Agricultural Sustainability

The WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources is offering financial assistance on a competitive basis to WSU Extension faculty and staff and other ag professionals who would like to host or attend a conference, workshop, or training program related to agricultural sustainability. Funding is limited to $800 per request for hosting an event, $500 for attending an event. All proposals that deal with agricultural sustainability (sustainable solutions to agricultural problems) will be reviewed. Priority will be given to applications received by January 31, 2013.


PCAST assessment of U.S. agriculture

Report to the President on Agricultural Preparedness and the Agriculture Research Enterprise was released by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) in December 2012. The 55-page report examines the state of agricultural health and preparedness in the U.S., defines the most pressing present and forthcoming challenges, and outlines strategies for change. A rebalancing of priorities for funding and research is recommended, as are the creation of public-private partnerships for innovation. A press release and webcast summarize the report's findings.

Washington Foodshed Study yields results

Planting the Seeds: Moving to More Local Food in Western Washington, released in December 2012 by American Farmland Trust, examines how much food is produced and consumed in Western Washington, and suggests ways to make our food supply more local: connect farmers and consumers, bring land back into food production, increase yields, reduce food waste, and change the local diet.


Webinar series: PNW Agriculture and Climate Change

The WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSNAR) is presenting a series of webinars on PNW Agriculture and Climate Change. A link to registration for upcoming webinars, as well as archives of past webinars and companion reference sheets, are available. The next webinar, Soil Carbon Dynamics and Climate Change Mitigation in the Inland Pacific Northwest, will be presented on January 10, 2013.

Farm energy webinars

Between January and March, 2013, the University of Wisconsin will present a series of farm energy webinars on the topics of irrigation, animal housing, greenhouses, grain drying, milk production, and field crop production. The webinars are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.


Cascadia Grains Conference
January 12, 2013, Tacoma, Washington
The Cascadia Grains Conference will bring together farmers, processors and end-users, as well as investors, brokers and local government officials to support rebuilding a grain economy west of the Cascade Mountains in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia through three value-added enterprises: brewing and distilling, poultry and livestock feed, and artisan baking. This conference is presented by the Pierce County and Thurston County Washington State University (WSU) Extension offices. It was organized to augment the efforts of the Kneading Conference West held at WSU Mount Vernon in September.

South Sound Food Summit
January 17, 2013, Tacoma, Washington
The South Sound Food Summit is the premier event for those dedicated to the improvement of the South Puget Sound food system. This conference will inform, organize and connect, and support local community efforts to optimize the growing demand for local, fresh, healthy food, both for today and for our future. This forum provides a valuable opportunity for businesses and organizations to build connections and engage with these key food system stakeholders, including consumers, students, policy makers, buyers, farmers and food producers.  Don't miss this ground floor opportunity to join us as we work to build a strong, vibrant local food system for all.

33rd Annual EcoFarm Conference
January 23-26, 2013, Pacific Grove, California
Get ready for the 33rd Annual EcoFarm Conference, the oldest and largest gathering of ecologically sustainable agriculture advocates in the West. For 33 years, we have convened to create, maintain, and promote healthy and just food/farming systems. The multi-day conference yields myriad opportunities for over 1,500 participants to network with colleagues, discover the newest ecological agricultural research and techniques, and build, both individually and as a community.

2013 Country Living Expo & Cattlemen's Winterschool
January 26, 2013, Stanwood, Washington
At the Country Living Expo and Cattlemen's Winterschool, you can attend classes on a multitude of topics, network with other small farmers, enjoy a prime rib lunch and visit with local agricultural businesses offering you service. This event is hosted by Stanwood FFA and presented by WSU Livestock Master Foundation, WSU Extension, and the Cattlemen's Association.

Harvesting Clean Energy 2013
January 27-29, Corvallis, Oregon
Drawing on several dozen top-notch speakers, Harvesting Clean Energy focuses on the practical steps to successful project development, from economic and feasibility assessments, to accessing technical support and securing financing in difficult economic times. Learn about wind power, a range of bio-energy technologies, solar and geothermal resources, microhydro, energy innovation in the food processing sector, and efficiency technologies to reduce energy costs and enhance profitability. Hear about strategies to maximize local job creation and economic benefits from developing our clean energy resources

AWEA Regional Wind Energy Summit NW
February 19, 2012, Portland, Oregon
Focusing on the Pacific Northwest, the AWEA Regional Wind Energy Summit – Northwest provides a comprehensive and timely analysis of current and near-term market conditions, opportunities and the latest on siting, transmission expansion and grid operations issues. This is a can't-miss event whether you are making investment decisions to enter this market, or are already involved in Western U.S. wind project development and need to learn more.  Feature sessions include a spotlight on recently built wind projects and business development activity, as well as a state policy roundtable with legislators and regulators on what's hot in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana.

Oregon Small Farms Conference
March 2, 2013, Corvallis, Oregon
The daylong event is geared toward farmers, agriculture professionals, food policy advocates, students and managers of farmers markets. Twenty-one sessions will be offered on a variety of topics relevant to the Oregon small farmer. Speakers will include farmers, OSU Extension faculty, agribusiness, and more. 2013 Sessions Descriptions are now available, and registration is currently open.

Want to Contribute? If you have information on events, publications, or other ag-related topics that you would like mentioned in an upcoming issue of EnergyAg Newsbriefs, please contact Talia Mathews at