Across the country, farmers are taking advantage of the growing interest in biofuels and investing in ethanol and biodiesel projects. While this phenomenon is not new, until recently it has been a Midwest driven activity. Today higher oil prices and a desire to reduce our dependence on foreign oil are moving this opportunity to farmers on the east and west.
Farmers and interested parties are invited to attend an informational program on Monday, March 6, 2006 at the SMECO auditorium in Hughesville. "We are putting together this workshop at the request of grain-producing farmers of Southern Maryland who have limited access to market their product. Hopefully, a bio-diesel plant can be built somewhere in our agricultural district", said Delegate Wm. Daniel Mayer, Charles County.
Producers will learn how they can become involved in existing activities in the state or gather some insight if they wish to consider their starting their own, said Christine Bergmark, Executive Director of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, the agency hosting the program.
The program will include both ethanol and biodiesel opportunities. Susanne Zilberfarb from the Maryland Soybean Board will provide an introduction to biodiesel and Robert and Jeremy Butz, Frederick County farmers will discuss the soybean crushing facility with a biodiesel facility that they are investigating. Lynne Hoot with the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board who are planning or build an ethanol plant in Baltimore and Pat McMillan from the Maryland Department of Agriculture will offer ways the state can support biofuels projects. The meeting will run from 9:30 a.m. until noon. Coffee at 9 a.m.
To truly benefit from biofuels projects, farmers must become investors in these value-added projects, said Lynne Hoot, hopefully this meeting will offer information and inspiration for Southern Maryland farmers to become more involved.