Farmers are increasingly "hot" on new energy technologies these days. That interest is is smoking hot due to the push to reduce energy costs. It's also stoked by Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction and the potentials for biofuel from plants such as switchgrass, soybeans, camelina and other energy crops.
So it's no surprise that energy will be a focus at next week's Penn State Ag Progress Days, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 16, 17 and 18. It's held at the Russell E. Larson Ag Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45.
The Marcellus Center on West 10th Street at the APD site will feature fact-based and timely information on issues related to Marcellus Shale exploration, leasing and drilling from Penn State extension educators and commercial vendors.
"Marcellus development has impacted the ag community in many ways," reports Tom Murphy, extension educator and co-director of Penn State's Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research. "The center will present science-based information on topics ranging from the latest research on industry workforce development to remediation techniques after pipeline installation, and many other related subjects in between."
Explore farm energy-savers and makers
Energy efficiency and conservation will be among the topics featured in the College of Agricultural Sciences Exhibits Building on Main Street. Daniel Ciolkosz, Extension associate specializing in renewable and alternative energy, and other Penn State experts will staff a display where farmers and homeowners can learn about assessing current energy needs, identifying alternative energy sources and shopping for a better price.
"Energy conservation is often the smartest way to improve your bottom line and make your operation more friendly to the environment," says Ciolkosz. "At Penn State Extension, we are working to help people make smart decisions about energy use and efficiency."
Commercial exhibitors involved in alternative-energy opportunities and conservation will be located in the nearby Energy Conservation Tent on West Ninth Street. Vendors will showcase products, services and educational programs that help promote new energy sources and reduce the carbon footprint.
Energy crops and biofuels will be the subject of an exhibit at the Crops, Soils and Conservation Tent on East Fifth Street. Information will be available about several varieties of plants that can be grown by farmers in the Northeast and converted into energy.
"Our team is working to develop bioenergy cropping systems that provide value-added co-products and soil-conservation benefits in addition to bioenergy," explains Greg Roth, Extension agronomist specializing in energy crops. "This work will be on display at Ag Progress Days."
Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 16; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 17; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 18. Admission and parking are free.
For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website at http://apd.psu.edu. Twitter users can catch more details using the hashtag #agprogress.