A Meeting of the Minds

Kristin Peterson
Newsletter Issue: 
June 2014

Poster for Energy and Environment Conference, themed like a trading card

Above: CenUSA will host a national summit featuring sustainable biorenewable research and educational innovations

Extension, energy and the environment are the three pillars of the CenUSA Bioenergy project. This year, CenUSA will have the privilege of hosting the E3 Summit, a national meeting on those crucial topics.

The Extension, Energy and Environment (E3) Summit will be a forum for the exchange of sustainable biorenewable research findings and educational ideas, methods and techniques. The summit will feature CenUSA’s research projects along with the other six major USDA-supported Bioenergy Coordinated Agricultural Programs.

“The idea for the E3 summit is to provide a venue for people who have been learning energy programing to share what they have been doing with other extension people,” said Jill Euken, leader of CenUSA Extension programming and Deputy Director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University. 

This summit will be useful both for people who do energy programing as well as those who want to learn more or who serve an area of the country with biorenewable resources.

The summit received a huge response to its call for proposals featuring extension and outreach innovations. A team of five reviewed the proposals and selected presenters for six breakout sessions, each featuring three speakers. The remaining proposals will be highlighted in shorter, less formal “speed sharing” settings, a sort of a science fair for adults.

Euken, along with John Hay, CenUSA/University of Nebraska; Rob Myers, University of Missouri; Jeri Neal, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; and Dennis Pennington, Michigan State University, were among the team members that selected keynote speakers and reviewed proposals for this summer’s summit. Chad Martin, Purdue University and Pam Porter, University of Wisconsin, also members of the CenUSA project, are also assisting with planning for the E3 summit.

“We’re excited about the range of ideas submitted,” said Euken. “We will have sessions featuring topics as varied as investment and finance of bioenergy projects, bioenergy programming with women landowners, consumer fuel literacy, economics of dedicated bioenergy crops, and biomass logistics. The diversity of ideas should allow everyone to learn something new.”

The E3 Summit will feature tours including “Biomass for Biopower” at Iowa State’s Biocentury Research Farm, the first-in-the-nation integrated research and demonstration facility dedicated to bioenergy systems. Other tours include “Dual-Purpose Biomass Production Practices” at ISU’s Comparison of Biofuel Systems (COBS) plots and “Sustainable Corn-based Bioenergy Production” with DuPont at their cellulosic ethanol plant and farmers who are supplying feedstocks to the DuPont plant. The conference will be held September 23-25 at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames, Iowa. For more information and to register visit http://www.2014e3.org/.