NABC Report 20: Reshaping American Agriculture to Meet its Biofuel and Biopolymer Roles

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Published 2008 by NABC.

Agriculture is challenged to establish an equilibrium that will enable the needs of traditional markets—food, feed and fiber—to be met while also serving the needs of new markets—energy, chemicals and materials, A biobased economy, balanced with a reduced fossil-based economy, is projected to contribute to national security, sustainability, minimization of global climate change, expanded farmer-market opportunities, and rural development. The presentations and discussions at this conference helped to identify significant questions and to pose relevant perspectives to an emerging land-use issue in which energy generation and food production—two critical issues for society today and for the foreseeable future—will need to be considered by all as we seek to maintain a precarious balance in a world with increasing population and the concomitant accompanying pressures.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 26
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    Student Voice report
    Schumm, John; Frier, Mary Carol; Kiger, Sarah (NABC, 2008)
    Student Voice report and recommendations
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    Supporting cross-cutting research: The Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program
    Deslauriers, Christiane (NABC, 2008)
    Canadian interest in the bioeconomy isn’t driven primarily by energy-related consider­ations. Canada is a net energy exporter, producing many forms including hydro, nuclear, oil and natural gas. The main reasons for interest in bioenergy are environmental and social, with the development of rural economies and improvement of farm incomes as desirable outcomes.
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    View from the president’s office: The power of partnerships
    Gee, E. Gordon (NABC, 2008)
    The world is intellectually rapidly changing and two of the larger human needs—providing adequate nutrition and an ample energy supply for the world’s expanding population—seem to be in conflict. The potential for political instability caused by scarcity of food is very real in many corners of the world. Even the United States is not immune to the problems of hunger. At the same time, the earth’s supply of fossil fuel is dwindling and we face an additional crisis with similar result: political turmoil brought about by diminishing resources.
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    Energy transformations in a land-grant college: The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
    Goldman, Irwin L (NABC, 2008)
    The establishment of the GLBRC on university campuses represents a new model for large-scale research and development with a federal partner. Achieving the objective of removing bottlenecks from the bioenergy pipeline is a monumental national goal. One of the unique elements of the center is its sustainability thrust, emphasizing practices throughout the bioenergy-production pipeline that focus on environmental and resource issues and sustainable practices.
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    Agriculture: The foundation of the bioeconomy
    Kishore, Ganesh M. (NABC, 2008)
    Corn is being blamed as responsible for global food shortages. Although the United States has consumed significant amounts of corn for biofuel, this usage is unconnected to short­ages of rice, wheat and fruits and vegetables. At most, corn may account for 20% of the current food shortage. Corn is less efficient than sugar cane or sweet sorghum in terms of its biofuel-energy content, but it’s a good starting point on which we can build.
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    Biobased economic growth in Ohio
    Strickland, Ted (NABC, 2008)
    Ohio has a promising economic future. Investments in areas of growth will lead research to new and better products capitalizing on the fact that Ohio has a diverse economy with a thriving agricultural industry and an emerging biopolymer industry.
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    Panel discussion and Q&A: Policy issues impacting agriculture and bioenergy
    O’Brien, Doug; Roberts, Matthew C.; Schmid, Chris (NABC, 2008)
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    Agricultural biofuels: Two ethical issues
    Thompson, Paul B. (NABC, 2008)
    The science and engineering of developing biobased energy alternatives comprise known capabilities, highly plausible conjectures and problems yet to be solved. But scientists and engineers need to pay attention to the timeline implicit in this simple statement, for it suggests that we should think of biofuels in terms of a trajectory that begins in the past and arrives at some not-fully-determined point in the future.
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    The social cost and benefits of US biofuel policies
    de Gorter, Harry; Just, David R. (NABC, 2008)
    This paper provides important insights into the social costs and benefits of key policy instruments. One key insight is how a change in the price of ethanol affects the corn price Because the corn market is now directly linked to the ethanol price, which is directly linked to gasoline prices, any change in oil prices that affects gasoline prices is now directly transmitted to the price of corn for a given level of the tax credit. On the other hand, once a consumption mandate is in place, any changes in oil prices will not directly affect the corn price (only indirectly affecting costs of production). Hence, a mandate will not transmit instability from the oil market to the corn market unlike a tax credit.
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    Scientific challenges underpinning the food-versus-fuel debate
    Cassman, Kenneth G. (NABC, 2008)
    Humanity is in a race against time to ensure global food security on a planet with limited supplies of arable land, water, and low-cost energy resources, and a rapidly growing hu­man population. Biotechnology and plant molecular sciences provide critical tools for meeting the challenge of food security, but they are not silver bullets. Achieving food security and protecting natural resources will require scientific breakthroughs and tech­nology developments from a large number of basic and applied disciplines.