Cultivating a Crop of Hope
Long, Tall Switchgrass Has Promise Uprooting Corn as a Main Source Of
Ethanol and as a Boon For Ex-Tobacco Farmers
Washington Post, Thursday, September 6, 2007

"Researchers across the country think that switchgrass could help
supplant corn as a source for the fast-growing ethanol industry. In
Virginia, some officials are trying to make the state the Iowa of the
new cash crop. They're urging farmers to grow it and envision dozens of
refineries that will turn the stalks into fuel.

Scientists haven't perfected the process that turns switchgrass into
ethanol. So for today, the Crop That Could Change Virginia is just hay
with better publicity.

But Virginia Tech scientists say the grass could play a major role in
creating a massive biofuel economy. In a recent white paper, they
suggested that switchgrass, along with woodchips, could provide a
quarter of Virginia's gas, diesel fuel and heating oil needs and support
68 small fuel refineries in the state. Researchers estimated that the
new fuel sources could create 10,500 jobs, including for farmers, truck
drivers and refinery workers."

Dr. Ann C. Wilkie                          Tel: (352)392-8699
Soil and Water Science Department          Fax: (352)392-7008
University of Florida-IFAS
P.O. Box 110960                         E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Gainesville, FL 32611-0960
Campus location: Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (Bldg. 246).
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Society