Friday, February 20, 2009

Biomass Alabama's Renewable Energy Source

On Thursday, February 19, 2009, the Walker County Soil and Water Conservation District hosted an informational workshop on woody biomass. Partners for the workshop were the Alabama Forestry Commission, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Walker County Forestry Planning Committee. The goal of the workshop was to provide information to our landowners as well as the business opportunities that will arise from one of Alabama’s largest renewable energy sources. Due to the funding that was provided by a grant that was received from the Bradley Murphy Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Trust there was no charge to attend this workshop. There were 3.0 professional logging manager credit hours and 3.0 continuing education units for registered foresters available for attending the workshop. There were 100 hundred attendees at the workshop. Available to speak with the attendees were Berry Johnson, Product Support for John Deere and Greg Freeland, Forestry Products Consultant for John Deere. Berry and Greg brought caps for attendees as well as providing, DVD’s and brochures about the equipment they produce for biomass harvesting. Julius Nichols with Warrior Tractor was available to talk with attendees about the line of John Deere equipment as well. The following speakers and topics were discussed at the workshop: Welcome by Steve Cauthen, Executive Director of the Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Introduction of the topic by Charles Holmes, Chairman of the National Association of Conservation Districts-Forestry Committee, Wood Chips to Electricity by Mark Hall, Extension Renewable Energy Specialist, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Mega Trends in Forestry by Jim Jeter, BMP Coordinator/Hardwood Specialist, Alabama Forestry Commission, Logging Debris Utilization by Daniel Hogue, Forester, American Forest Management, Biomass Co-Firing Process by Gene Quick, Biomass Resource Associates, Wood By Products by Bryan Thompson B&T By Products, Pre-Commercial Thinning Cost Share Assistance by Tim Albritton, State Staff Forester, USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service, Farm Bill Renewable Energy by Pat Butler, USDA Rural Development Area Specialist, Wood Pellets by Curt Lee, Vice President Business and Public Affairs, New Gas Concepts, and an Open Discussion by Dorman Grace, Chairman, Walker County Soil and Water Conservation District. After the workshop there was a Champion Elm Tree dedication located at Diane’s Formal affair in downtown Jasper.