Energy opportunities and pitfalls to be covered at Ag Progress Days

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Whether it's a desire for energy independence, concerns about the environment, a need to cut costs or an effort to find new uses for farm products, the agricultural community is taking an increasingly close look at ways to tap an expanding energy market in Pennsylvania.

Producers can learn more about the opportunities and pitfalls associated with shale-gas development and ag renewable energy by attending Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 13-15. The Energy Exhibiter Showcase, a series of presentations on energy resources and conservation practices, will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 13, in the Learning Center Tent at Main and East Ninth streets (below the Pasto Museum) at the Rock Springs site.

"These will be short, informative presentations by industry experts and Penn State Extension energy specialists," said showcase coordinator Ed Johnstonbaugh, an extension educator who specializes in agri-energy economic development. "The speakers will focus on shale-gas issues, conservation, solar and wind energy, and biogas and biomass energy. We have a great lineup of educational and thought-provoking presentations."

Presentations will cover the following topics:

-- 9 a.m.: "Water Management for Shale Energy Development"

-- 9:45 a.m.: "Natural Gas Abundance -- Good for Pennsylvania's Agriculture Community"

-- 10:15 a.m.: "Marcellus on Mainstreet, an Online Business Directory"

-- 10:45 a.m.: "Understanding Oil and Gas Royalty Payments"

-- 11:15 a.m.: "Shale Development and Impacts to Agriculture"

-- Noon: "Program Announcement: On-Farm Energy Assessment Program, Sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities, Supported by Penn State Extension"

-- 1 p.m.: "Looking at the Long Term: What Does Solar Energy Really Cost?"

-- 1:30 p.m.: "Community Wind Power Programs Consider the Options"

-- 2 p.m.: "Wood Briquetting -- Immediate Utilization of Pennsylvania Biomass Resources"

-- 2:30 p.m.: "Pennsylvania's Alternative Energy Credit Market Update, Have We Turned the Corner?"

New this year will be a special presentation at the Learning Center Tent titled "Introduction to Biomass and the NEWBio Consortium Hour," which will be offered at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Visitors interested in renewable energy also can take the one-hour "Short Rotation Woody Crops for Biomass" tour, offered all three days of the show. It leaves from the corn crib at the top of Main Street at noon each day.

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. Aug. 13; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 14; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 15. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogress, and Facebook users can find the event here.

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Last Updated July 29, 2013