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Crop marketing the topic

Farm Science Review preview

September 10, 2007
By Vicki Johnson,
LONDON, Ohio — Marketing crops for making renewable fuels and using alternative energy on farms are two topics planned for the new Energy Education Tent at the Farm Science Review.

“That topic is a fairly hot topic and the fact that renewable energy is a priority not only from a government policy standpoint, but the impact that it has on farmers in the current grain market is very important,” said FSR Manager Chuck Gamble.

Located in Alumni Park, the tent features educational and informational displays from the Ohio State University, Purdue University and organizations and agencies designed to educate farmers on the subject.

FSR is scheduled for Sept. 18-20 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center.

“There’s a lot of impact these renewables are having on the markets right now,” Gamble said.

Ethanol plants and the increasing use of soy biodiesel fuel are changing the way farmers think about marketing grain, Gamble said.

“In a sense, it’s actually created more of a stable situation for crop production and at the same time we understand they’ll still be volitlity in the markets,” he said. “But in past years, farmers couldn’t hardly look beyond next year and know what pricing might do in each commodity.”

Ethanol plants create a stable demand for corn. For example, Gamble said a Cargill plant coming online soon plans to “eat” 110,000 bushels of corn per day.

“That creates a different marketing scheme for farmers and it’s more stable,” he said. “We may not see $2 corn for a few years”

The demand for corn also has increased the demand for soybeans, Gamble said.

“Right now the markets are wanting soybeans,” he said. “If we can sell beans for $6 (a bushel) year in and year out, that’s been a good sale.”

Gamble said the changing markets also are affecting wheat prices.

“We’ve hardly seen these type of prices before,” he said.

All those factors are creating a lot of interest in renewable energy, but Gamble said farmers also are wanting to learn more about using wind and solar power on their farms.

Several vendors are planning exhibits highlighting wind turbines and solar power systems for residential use.

“They’ll be a ton of questions in that regard,” he said.

And people will be on hand to answer those questions.

“Green Energy Ohio is the entity that’s driving the renewable energy use in Ohio,” he said.

In addition to this year’s new tent, Gamble said FSR is partnering with Green Energy Ohio to investigate using wind power for future FSR events.

They are planning to place an anemometer at the site this fall or next spring to test the possibility of erecting a wind turbine.

“We have a huge demand, particularly in the month of September, for energy and it would be a great research topic for our college of engineering,” he said.

He said FSR plans to partner with other departments on the Ohio State campus.

“We’re just in the initial stages of investigation,” Gamble said. But he’s confident there is a good chance the project will work.

“That’s the whole point of studying it, to make sure it’s a viable alternative,” he said.

In addition to the tent, the topic of energy markets, conservation and new technologies are to be covered at several nearby sessions of the Question the Authorities program. The speakers then say they plan to move to the energy tent for topic discussions.

Some related exhibits also are planned for the Firebaugh Building on Friday Avenue.

The Farm Science Review is sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Tickets are $8 at the gate or $5 in advance when purchased from county Extension offices or participating agribusinesses. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Hours are 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sept 18-19 and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 20. For more information, log on to



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