Energy Flow: Successful Rollouts in D.C. The Publication and Powerpoint Presentation Now Available

January 24, 2012

Energy Issues Affecting Corn/Soybean Systems: Challenges for Sustainable Production(Issue Paper 48, 16 pp.)

Dr. Doug Karlen (pictured at left lecturing and with Dr. John Bonner CAST EVP/CEO) presented CAST's newest Issue Paper at three rollouts on Monday, January 23. Senate, House, and corporate attendees were able to learn from Karlen's informative PowerPoint presentation and speech. The events were held at the Russell Senate Office Building, the Longworth House Office Building, and the CropLive America Building.  Click the title at right to access the paper and PowerPoint video.

This publication is important considering current concerns about energy and agriculture.  All sectors of the global economy are affected by the growing demand for energy. The need for food, feed, fiber, and fuel increases while concerns about finite supplies and political instability add to the uncertainties. A new CAST Issue Paper, Energy Issues Affecting Corn/Soybean Systems: Challenges for Sustainable Production, examines energy issues within the corn/soybean production system as a model for understanding the complexity of addressing global energy challenges.

Led by Dr. Douglas Karlen of USDA--ARS, the authors focus on critical energy issues affecting corn/soybean systems by

• establishing a global production framework for corn/soybean crops,

• reviewing Farm Bill criteria defining sustainability, and

• examining economic, environmental, and market factors affecting energy use and efficiency.

Research and development is needed to find ways to lower adoption barriers for energy-conserving practices and develop management systems that allow agricultural production to meet multiple demands. The challenges include (1) a growth in biofuel production directly from corn/soybean coupled with a simultaneous growth in oil and agricultural commodity prices, and (2) the ability of the motor fuel infrastructure to handle an increased volume of ethanol, biodiesel, and advanced biofuels.

The authors propose a landscape vision for sustainable corn/soybean systems that is feasible and could be done efficiently and economically if there is a desire and public willingness to do so. It would, among other things:  provide sustainable grain and biomass feedstock supplies for the bioenergy industry, protect water quality, lessen producer/environmental risk, and promote biodiversity.

Dr. John Bonner, says, "All sectors of agriculture are interrelated, and this paper has special importance because energy flow affects the many aspects of sustainability."On January 23rd, the full text of Energy Issues Affecting Corn/Soybean Systems: Challenges for Sustainable Production (IP 48, 16 pp.) may be accessed free of charge on the CAST website at www.cast-science.org, along with many of CAST's other scientific publications. The paper also is available in hard copy for a shipping/handling fee.

CAST is an international consortium of scientific and professional societies, companies, and nonprofit organizations.It assembles, interprets, and communicates credible science-based information regionally, nationally, and internationally to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public.

Dr. Douglas L. Karlen--Phone: 515-294-3336; E-mail: doug.karlen@ars.usda.gov

Dr. John M. Bonner--Phone: 515-292-2125, ext. 225; E-mail: jbonner@cast-science.org