Energy a focus at Penn State's Ag Progress Days

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Energy is a timely topic in Pennsylvania -- whether it is biofuel from plants such as switchgrass, soybean or camelina, or natural gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale -- so it's no surprise that energy will be a focus at Ag Progress Days, Aug. 16-18.

Show attendees can collect fact-based and timely information on issues related to Marcellus Shale exploration, leasing and drilling from Penn State extension educators and commercial vendors at the Marcellus Center on West 10th Street at the Ag Progress Days site.

"The development of the Marcellus Shale has impacted the agricultural community in many ways," said Tom Murphy, extension educator and co-director of Penn State's Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research.

"Our focus this year at Ag Progress Days will be to present science-based information on topics ranging from the latest research on industry workforce development to remediation techniques after pipeline installation, and many other related subjects in between."

Energy efficiency and conservation will be among the topics featured in the College of Agricultural Sciences Exhibits Building on Main Street. Daniel Ciolkosz, extension associate specializing in renewable and alternative energy, and other Penn State experts will staff a display where farmers and homeowners can ask questions about assessing current energy needs, identifying alternative energy sources and shopping for a better price.

"Energy conservation is often the smartest way to improve your bottom line and make your operation more friendly to the environment," said Ciolkosz. "At Penn State Extension, we are working to help people make smart decisions about energy use and efficiency."

Ag Progress Days visitors also will have the opportunity to talk with commercial exhibitors involved in alternative-energy opportunities and conservation. They are the primary focus for this year's initiation of the Energy Conservation Tent on West Ninth Street. The area features vendors who will showcase products, services and educational programs that help promote new energy sources and reduce the carbon footprint.

In addition, energy crops and biofuels will be the subject of an exhibit at the Crops, Soils and Conservation Tent on East Fifth Street. Information will be available about several varieties of plants that can be grown by farmers in the Northeast and converted into energy.

"Our team is working to develop bioenergy cropping systems that provide value-added co-products and soil-conservation benefits in addition to bioenergy," said Greg Roth, professor of agronomy, who specializes in energy crops. "This work will be on display at Ag Progress Days."

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 16; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 17; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 18.

Admission and parking are free. Free shuttle bus service between the Ag Progress Days site and downtown State College will be available.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website at http://apd.psu.edu. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogress.

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Last Updated May 18, 2012