Markets and Distribution

The Markets and Distribution team was responsible for evaluating farm-level adoption decisions and exploring policy, market, and contract mechanisms that facilitate broad scale adoption of perennials in the landscape. 

The team focused on two research themes:

  • The study and evaluation of farm level adoption decisions, exploring the effectiveness of policy, market and contract mechanisms that facilitate broad scale voluntary adoption of perennials in the landscape; and
  • The evaluation of impacts of the expanded advanced biofuel system on regional and global food, feed, energy and fiber markets.

Our Markets and Distribution team members have produced an extensive resource library with material for everyone interested in the agricultural marketing of perennial grasses. Check out our 

Markets and Distribution Project Directors

  • Keri Jacobs and Dermot Hayes, Iowa State University

Markets and Distribution Collaborator

  • Richard Perrin, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Research Summaries

What Would it Take to Convince Farmers to Grow Switchgrass for Biomass? (Mar. 2017)

  •  Richard Perrin (Ag. Economics, University of Nebraska, Lincoln) delves into the economic incentives that would induce farmers to grow switchgrass for cellulosic biofuel.

Switchgrass Hay Could Be a Useful Roughage in Beef Diets While Offering a Market Alternative to Biofuels (Jan. 2017)

  • Chris Clark (Extension and Outreach Beef Field Specialist, Iowa State University) shows how switchgrass hay can provide a useful roughage in beef cattle diets while offering a market alternative to biofuels.

Competition For Land Use: Why Would a Rational Producer Grow Switchgrass for Biofuel? (Jan. 2015)

  • Keri Jacobs describes how farmers value the conservation and environmental benefits of switchgrass grown for biofuels but also consider profit, alternative land uses, and public policy incentives when making production decisions.

Fact Sheets

Utilization of Mature Switchgrass as Roughage in Feedlot Diets (PDF) (June 2016)

  • A feed trial was completed at the Iowa State University Armstrong Research Farm to evaluate the utilization of untreated mature switchgrass as a roughage source in feedlot diets.

The Economics of Switchgrass for Biofuel (Jul. 2014)

  • Richard Perrin (Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska) discusses how profitable production of switchgrass for biofuel depends  primarily on the price of oil, as well as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

  • Dumortier, J., N. Kauffman & D. Hayes. 2016. Production and Spatial Distribution of Switchgrass and Miscanthus in the United States under Uncertainty and Sunk Cost. Working Paper 16-WP 568, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University, September 2016. 

  • Elobeid, A., M. Carriquiry, J. Dumortier, F. Rosas, K. Mulik, J.F. Fabiosa, D.J. Hayes & B.A. Babcock. 2013. Biofuel expansion, fertilizer use, and GHG emissions: Unintended consequences of mitigation policies. Economics Research International. Article ID 708604. (Open Access:
  • Kauffman, N., J. Dumortier, D.J. Hayes, D.J., Brown, R.C. & D.A. Laird. 2016. Producing energy while sequestering carbon? The relationship between biochar and agricultural productivity. Biomass Bioenergy 63:167-176
  • Kauffman, N. & Hayes, D.J. 2013. The trade-off between bioenergy and emissions with land constraints. Energy Policy 54:300-310
  • Perrin R., J. Sesmero, K. Wamisho, & D. Bacha. 2012. Biomass supply schedules for Great Plains delivery points. Biomass Bioenergy 37:213-220.

Instructional Videos and Webinars

Commercialization Update: Opportunities for Perennial Biofeedstocks 

  • Rob Mitchell (USDA-ARS) discusses commercialization opportunities for switchgrass and other perennial biofeedstocks. [2:18]

Competition for Land Use: Why would the rational producer grow switchgrass for biofuel?

  • Keri Jacobs (Economics, Iowa State Univ.) considers the current economics of switchgrass production in the Central United States and the fundamental challenges and opportunities that exist. [43:21]

Switchgrass Economics in the North Central Region of the USA

  • Richard Perrin (Ag Economics, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln) walks the viewer through switchgrass production costs, potential markets, and market values for switchgrass biomass. Dr. Perrin also discusses potential break even values for corn and switchgrass production on marginal land. [42:49]

Switchgrass Production Industry Perspectives

  • CenUSA Bioenergy Advisory Board member David Stock (President, Stock See Farms) provides the industry perspective to attendees of the CenUSA-Extension Switchgrass Establishment Field Day (March 2012, Mead, Nebraska). (23:00)

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)