Bookmark and Share

EnergyAg Newsbriefs

July 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.


Oilseed growers: Drop site list available

The Washington State University Crop and Soil Sciences Biofuels department has compiled a list of delivery points in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho that are accepting delivery of oilseeds this year. The list is current as of June 14, 2013, and contains contact information for the delivery and storage providers.

Switchgrass success story

"Switchgrass Project a Success," published June 5, 2013, on the University of Kentucky Department of Agriculture (UKAg) website, describes the progression and outcomes of a UKAg pilot project that conducted trials for the cultivation, harvest, processing, and delivery of biomass switchgrass. The project lowered several barriers to adoption, and also revealed work that has yet to be done to increase the viability of switchgrass as a biofuel feedstock.

Black locust for biomass

Researchers from the University of Illinois Energy Biosciences Institute are examining whether black locust trees might have the potential to be a viable crop for biomass production. Initial results are promising, due to the tree's rapid growth and an ability to do well in marginal soils. To learn more, read "Black Locust Showing Promise for Biomass Potential," published June 12, 2013, in ACES College News.


Manure energy capture

"How Can I Capture the Value of Energy in Manure?" is a brief article added to on June 21, 2013. It outlines how the energy in manure can be captured, either on the farm or offsite, through biogas production, anaerobic digestion, or combustion. A list of helpful resources is also provided.

Short video educates on anaerobic digestion

The Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture (CSANR) released a new short video, " Anaerobic Digestion: Beyond Waste Management," which shows how state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion systems can offer multiple benefits to society. These benefits include renewable energy production, improved air and water quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and job creation. The video contains footage of operating anaerobic digester systems and features brief interviews with key players. It was uploaded to YouTube on May 1, 2013, and can also be viewed on the CSANR home page.

Input on dairy sustainability framework sought

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is in the process of developing the Stewardship and Sustainability Guide, a voluntary framework for dairy farms and dairy processors to measure and report on sustainability indicators. Version 1.2 of the guide was released on May 15, 2013, and is available for review. Feedback is encouraged and can be submitted on or before July 14, 2013.


Irrigation demand management

"Irrigation Demand Management," by Carol Brzozowski, was published in the May 2013 issue of Water Efficiency. Demand side management can be employed to realize water efficiencies just as it has been used to reduce energy use. The challenges of and solutions to water shortages faced by individual farms across three states are examined, and the idea of "green codes" - water efficiency codes for new buildings - is discussed.


Data and agricultural lands

" Agricultural Conservation & Environmental Programs: The Challenge of Data-Driven Conservation " was submitted to Choices in June 2013. It examines the growing importance of data in managing agricultural lands, and outlines the history, role, and effectiveness of government programs in collecting and using data for key natural resources and conservation decisions.

Multi-functional agriculture

Results of research funded by the Leopold Center for Sustaining Agriculture and completed in 2013, " Exploring the Role of Multifunctional Agriculture on the Future of Agriculture and Rural Development ," are now available on the center's website. The project studies the interplay between climate shifts, soil organic matter, and soil management practices in agricultural fields. A one-page brief and a longer summary are available.

The state of world food and agriculture systems

The 2013 edition of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Statistical Yearbook - World Food and Agriculture was released on June 19, 2013. The yearbook features key facts and statistics about the current state of worldwide hunger and malnutrition, food production and supply, global economic trends, and the sustainability of agriculture and the environment.

Till-low till-no till tradeoffs

Research from the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) compared nutrient and sediment loss from no-till, conventionally tilled, and reduced-input rotation croplands and found that there is a tradeoff between the reduced need for herbicides with reduced-input and conventional systems and reduced soil erosion with no-till. A single solution has not been found which strikes an ideal cost-benefit balance in every situation, so along with a need for further research, individual factors must be taken into consideration when choosing the most ecologically sound tillage system. Learn more in "Tillage and Reduced-Input Rotations Affect Runoff," published June 14, 2013, at


Anaerobic Digestion Systems Field Day
July 10, 2013, Lynden, Washington
Come learn from WSU researchers and their commercial partners about the newest developments in anaerobic digestion (AD) system technologies, including tools for managing nutrients, mitigating air and water quality concerns, producing renewable energy, and more. Field day includes site visits to Vander Haak and Edaleen Dairies to learn about the latest AD technology developments. Sponsored lunch is provided.

Cash Cow: The Future of RNG as a Transportation Fuel in Washington
July 16, 2013, University Place, Washington
The Cash Cow workshop will introduce renewable natural gas (RNG) as a new frontier for transportation. Washington State is poised to take the lead toward a cleaner, economical, and locally-sourced energy future. Our commitment to using locally-produced RNG will reduce greenhouse gases, foster the development of clean energy projects in-state, and incentivize the responsible handling of waste. Cash Cow will bring together environmental professionals, policy makers, project developers, and agricultural professionals to strategize ways to bring projects to market and integrate RNG into the greenhouse gas reduction strategies of government and industry. The workshop will also educate attendees on the logistics and physical components of an RNG project.

Farm Walks with Tilth Producers
Selected Mondays, Spring/Summer 2013
A series of farm walks sponsored by Tilth Producers of Washington will take place throughout the Spring and Summer of 2013. Upcoming walks will visit Suyematsu-Bentryn Farms on Bainbridge Island and Lenwood Farms in Connell. Preregistration is encouraged; see website for details.

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