Farm Progress

From field to fuel, event to showcase switchgrass production research, equipment and processing facilities

September 29, 2011

3 Min Read

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture plans to show off its expertise in biofuels production and processing research at a new, two-day field day event geared for farmers, industry representatives, and the general public.

Day one, Oct. 25, is organized as a traditional field day and will be held at Color Wheel Farm in Monroe County, Tenn.

Owners Brad and Kim Black, recipients of the 2010 Tennessee Farmer of the Year Award, are participants in the university’s switchgrass production program. They have agreed to open their east Tennessee farm and its 183 acres of established switchgrass to field day visitors.

The second day of the event will be on the site of the new Tennessee Biomass Innovation Park operated by UT partner and field day co-sponsor Genera Energy, LLC.

Each day will operate independently. Attendees are welcome to attend either day, or both days.

During the first day of the event visitors will be introduced to switchgrass production methods and will have to opportunity to review and compare varieties, including improved varieties from field day sponsor and energy crop company, Ceres, Inc. Crop harvesting and transportation logistics and other aspects of biomass production will also be featured. In-field equipment demonstrations are scheduled, weather permitting. Attendees should gain first-hand knowledge that will position them to capitalize on the developing industry.

Day two of the event will be geared toward biomass processing and transportation logistics for products. Exhibits, demonstrations and presentations about the latest in biomass preprocessing and handling will be held at the Tennessee Biomass Innovation Park, which is located on the shores of Tellico Lake near Vonore. Day two will also feature an outdoor exhibition on the site of the nearby DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol biorefinery, one of the world’s first pre-commercial cellulosic ethanol biorefineries.

“We are planning a broad-based event full of information about every aspect of switchgrass production and processing,” says event organizer Dr. Sam Jackson, a research assistant professor in the UT Center for Renewal Carbon. Jackson also serves as vice president for feedstock operations for Genera Energy, LLC, which is wholly owned by the UT Research Foundation and dedicated to developing integrated biomass supply chain solutions and strategic partnerships to support the region’s emerging bioenergy industry.

Jackson adds that the event will also feature aspects of woody biomass production and processing, focusing on short rotation woody crops and wood residues.

Attendance to the each day of the event is free; however pre-registration is strongly recommended.

Lunch will be sponsored for attendees to day one who pre-register. Unregistered attendees may purchase lunch onsite for $10, based on availability.

Day two will feature refreshments for purchase. Reservations may be made at the field day website: or by calling Genera Energy at (865) 974-8258. The website also contains more details about the program and useful information about parking and lodging.

For more information about the Biomass Innovation Park email [email protected] or visit the website

Cooperating partners for this event include the University of Tennessee AgResearch and Extension programs; the UT Center for Renewable Carbon; Genera Energy, LLC; DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol (DDCE); Ceres, Inc.; and the US Department of Energy, which sponsored a grant to compare switchgrass variety performance.

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