There is high interest among the forums in the topic of agriculture-based renewable energy technologies and the need to create jobs that meet energy demands in rural areas. In the last decade, bioscience has become one of the nation's most significant sectors in research and economic activity and grew by 4.6% across the U.S., adding close to 270,000 jobs nationally. Agriculture biotechnology products totaled less than $1 billion in 1995, but grew to $10 billion in 2005. More than 1,100 companies are engaged in Iowa's biosciences industry, employing over 72,000 highly-skilled workers. Some of the most promising biobased products are produced in immense quantities in rural areas.
Iowa's strengths in animal and plant sciences at its research universities and in the private sector point toward large-scale market potential and development of a bioscience sector. According to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Iowa is the nation's number one ethanol-producing state and ranks second in the production of biodiesel, processing more than 400 million bushels of corn into 1.1 billion gallons of ethanol annually and producing over 25% of U.S. biodiesel production. Iowa's biofuels industries have added $8 billion to Iowa's economy, generated $2 billion in new household income, and created 50,000 Iowa jobs. Agriculture households and rural communities have responded to government incentives and have expanded their production of renewable energy, primarily in the form of biofuels and wind power.
This project was funded by the New Era Rural Technology Competitive Grants Program (USDA) which makes grants available to community colleges or advanced technological centers, located in a rural area, for technology development, applied research, and training necessary to produce graduates capable of strengthening the Nation's technical, scientific and professional workforce in the fields of bioenergy, pulp and paper manufacturing, and agriculture-based renewable energy resources. Although, focused on Iowa - these technologies cross all geographical regions.
Our goal in creating these modules was to offer a one stop shop for agricultural energy modules that instructors can use in their classrooms. In doing so, we did the heavy lifting of sifting through mounds of websites, research, and cutting edge technologies to bring you the information in an easy to understand format. We made sure to create non-biased material that puts students in a position to make a decision about the agricultural energy that interests them most, or is most cost effective for their own farms.
We made sure to use PowerPoint so instructors could make changes to the presentations or re-brand them in a way they see fit.
The curriculum designer on this project was Tim Benedict who is from a rural farming community in Illinois. Tim holds a Masters of Environmental Studies from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He would be pleased to receive feedback about the curriculum for future revisions at firstname.lastname@example.org