By Farm and Dairy
January 22, 2015 - Long before farmers in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania were allowed to grow giant miscanthus, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and local partners completed studies to make sure it would not compete with existing agriculture and that the crop - a sterile variety - truly would not spread.
They targeted land that was marginal in nature, wet-lying and of lesser value for conventional farm crops. And, they looked at potential uses — everything from cellulosic biofuel to plant-based bioproducts.
The crop is organized by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, and Altoerra Energy, a company formed in 2010 with a location in Ashtabula County, that bills itself as developing biomass conversion facilities through growth of biomass crops, that lead to biomass fuel marketing.
But three years into the crop, there’s a tale of two sides over how it’s all going.