The multiple benefits that a sustainable bioenergy system can provide underscore the need for its development in a manner that assures that the expansion of this sector provides not just new energy but broader environmental and community benefits as well (Kleinschmit, 2007; Jordan et al, 2007; Kleinschmit and Muller, 2005). It will require that farmers understand sustainability issues, which in turn requires educators to become more familiar with the various aspects of sustainable bioenergy and energy efficient production technologies.
Marin Byrne and Jim Kleinschmit’s series of six training sessions for more than 340 attendees focused on sustainability and renewable energy for natural resource and agriculture educators throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Farm field days, tours, and workshops addressed topics such as alternative bioenergy crops and production methods, whole farm planning for renewable energy, and on-farm energy production and efficiency.
Researchers and practitioners also addressed farm economics, community impacts, business models, climate change, water quality, natural resources management, and technologies such as gasification, oilseed pressing, and pelletizing. The Biomass Crops for Renewable Energy workshop in Wisconsin brought together a diverse mix of UW-Extension faculty that has continued to work together as a result. Surveys indicated that lessons from the workshops were being transferred to participants’ clients, and respondents reported that they planned to add new components to their educational curricula and materials.
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