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Commodities: Field Crops: Forages: FAQs

When Will Farmers Sell Switchgrass for Bioenergy?

The choice to grow dedicated energy crops such as switchgrass is based on simple economics. The economic viability of switchgrass for bioenergy will be determined by a combination of variables (e.g., market demand, input requirements and costs, government support programs, and the alternative use of the land). Despite years of research and the development of improved biofuel feedstocks through government research programs, little has been done to definitively establish these economics. Some pilot projects are underway at a localized level (e.g., the switchgrass to ethanol facility in Vonore, TN). Regardless, it would be wise to plan to use switchgrass as a dual purpose crop: forage and potential bioenergy.