Iowa State University
INDEX A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

6-12-06

Contacts:

Rich Bundy, ISU Foundation: 515-294-9088

Laurie Groves, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation: 515-225-5414

Brian Meyer, ISU College of Agriculture: 515-294-5616

Iowa Farm Bureau Commits $1 Million to Iowa State's Bioeconomy Program

AMES, Iowa -- The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation has committed $1 million to the Iowa State College of Agriculture to support the university-wide Bioeconomy Initiative, which develops technologies for converting crops and plant materials into chemicals, fuels, fibers and energy.

"Iowa State University's Bioeconomy Initiative is helping Iowa become a national leader in developing new sources of energy, fuels and other products from renewable, Iowa-based resources rather than from petroleum," said Gregory Geoffroy, Iowa State University president. "The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation's generous support for our efforts in this area is a strong acknowledgement of the high-quality work of our faculty, staff and students in developing our biorenewable resources, and we are very grateful to Farm Bureau for their support."

Farm Bureau's gift will be used to provide support for the Office of Biorenewables Programs, including additional faculty and staff salaries and new collaborations in research, educational and outreach activities.

"Iowa is blessed with abundant agricultural assets that are critical in developing alternative energy sources," said Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Lang. "We must develop these sources at home, before the opportunity slips past us. These sources translate into jobs for rural Iowa, less dependence on foreign oil, new markets for our farmers and more opportunity for Iowans. We're pleased to partner with a high-caliber institute such as Iowa State to help leverage these assets, nurtured from our farmers, and lead the nation in renewable energy development."

"Iowa State is a leader in training students to transform biological materials into high-quality, cost-effective, biobased products," said Wendy Wintersteen, dean of Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and a member of the Office of Biorenewables Programs executive committee. "We are pleased to have the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation as our partner in this effort. Their gift is truly a strategic investment in Iowa State's ability to provide long-term leadership to this developing, and increasingly important, segment of the Iowa economy."

In recognition of the Iowa Farm Bureau's commitment, Iowa State will name the director of the Office of Biorenewables Programs the Iowa Farm Bureau Director of Biorenewables Program for a five year term.

"Iowa State is uniquely positioned to provide the leadership and scientific expertise for the emerging bioeconomy," said Robert Brown, Iowa Farm Bureau Director of Biorenewables Programs at Iowa State University. "Across campus, we have more than 50 faculty working on cross-disciplinary research, education and extension programs. We also are located in the epicenter of biorenewable production, whether it be for ethanol, biodiesel, biomass or a future use. As the bioeconomy grows, agriculture will continue to be a crucial industry for Iowa and the nation. We are extremely pleased that Iowa Farm Bureau supports the contributions we're making to expand and further develop opportunities for Iowa's communities and farmers."

The Bioeconomy Initiative was launched by President Geoffroy in 2002 as one of several "big impact" programs to respond to critical needs in Iowa and the country. The initiative's aim is to investigate the use of plants and crops to produce chemicals, fuels, materials and energy to reduce the country's reliance on imported petroleum.

In the past year, nearly 50 externally funded projects have addressed research, education and extension in bioeconomy issues. Recent research includes:

  • Using ultrasonics to squeeze out more ethanol from corn.
  • Creating biobased polymers from a byproduct of biodiesel production.
  • Developing enzyme-laced water systems to process soybeans to replace petroleum-based chemicals.
  • Using corn-stover biomass to produce a nitrogen-rich substance that enriches the soil and sequesters carbon from the air.

Iowa State was the first university in the United States to establish a graduate program in biorenewable resources and technology and offers one of the few master's and doctoral degrees in this field.

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is the largest grassroots farm organization in the state, representing more than 153,000 rural and urban families dedicated to enhancing the people, progress and pride of Iowa.

-30-

Quick look

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation's gift will be used to provide support for the Office of Biorenewables Programs, including additional faculty and staff salaries and new collaborations in research, educational and outreach activities.

Quote

"Iowa State University's Bioeconomy Initiative is helping Iowa become a national leader in developing new sources of energy, fuels and other products from renewable, Iowa-based resources rather than from petroleum. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation's generous support for our efforts in this area is a strong acknowledgement of the high-quality work of our faculty, staff and students in developing our biorenewable resources, and we are very grateful to Farm Bureau for their support."

Gregory Geoffroy, Iowa State University president