From a media release issued by Better Environmental Solutions:
Platteville–Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, Inc, the Driftless Area Initiative (DAI) and Alliant Energy highlighted six prairie restorations where farmers are planting switchgrass and prairie plants to determine the best management practices to maximize switchgrass yields in Southwest Wisconsin. The biomass field day toured two test plots planted this spring on the Jim and Terry Schaefer farm and the Dan Schaefer farm.
“Planting switchgrass is a great crop for our highly erodible fields,” said Jim Schaefer. “We are looking to develop ways to grow and create more markets for grass and other biomass crops for energy and fuels.”
Grant County has more than 300,000 acres of highly erodible land, but only 33,000 acre are enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to protect it. These test plots allow farmers and researchers to try various strategies to restore native prairie and switchgrass.
“With all the interest in switchgrass and biomass, we wanted to start some test plots to see what we could do to provide fuel for proposed projects in the area,” said Steve Bertjens, coordinator with Southwest Badger RC&D.
“Grant County and southwest Wisconsin are the buckle of the biomass belt and have the best biomass reserves in the state with more than 6.8 tons of potential fuel nearby,” said Brett Hulsey, president of Better Environmental Solutions, an environment and energy consulting firm.
“Restoring switchgrass and native prairie is one of the most effective ways to reduce global warming, provide homes for birds and wildlife, reduce flooding, and clean up our streams.”