Enhancing Rural Agricultural Family and Community Development in Wyoming Through Sustainable Bioful Crop Production

Final Report for FW09-319

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2009: $49,873.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Western
State: Wyoming
Principal Investigator:
Donn Randall
Wyoming Business Council
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Project Information

Abstract:

In Wyoming, rural agricultural production and community economic stability are jeopardized by increasingly high input costs for fuel and fossil-fuel-related products. To counteract these problems, Wyoming producers must look into raising sustainable alternative crops that can add value to their current cropping practices, provide for vertical integration of a product for local consumption and help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. This project proposes to help Wyoming producers conduct biofuel-crop test trials in the northeastern and southeastern districts of the state. The goal is to increase and sustain Wyoming biofuel crop production, provide producers with a marketable biofuel crop that can be processed, marketed and consumed locally and increase revenue streams that provide sustainable jobs for rural communities.

Project Objectives:

The main objective of this Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant funded project has been to promote oilseed crop production with Wyoming producers.

Cooperators

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Research

Materials and methods:

January – Promoted oil seed production test plots with Wyoming producers throughout the state.

February – Participated in WESTI Ag Days conference in Worland, Wyoming with an oilseed production and crushing demonstration with the mobile demonstration trailer. Attended the Northwest Harvesting Clean Energy conference in Kennick, Washington to observe and learn more about alternative energy programs and to network with other alternative energy project managers.

March – Helped the University of Wyoming research staff at Powell, Wyoming plan and organize a producer meeting with Dahlgren Sunflower Company, Crookston, Minnesota. Helped the Colorado State University to present production information for growing confection sunflowers in the Big Horn Basin.

April- Ordered safflower, camelina, canola and soybean seeds for Wyoming producers who were participating in the Western SARE oilseed test plots.

May – Conducted producer site visits to Wyoming producers who were planting oilseed test plots. The Wyoming oilseed/biodiesel team members conducted oilseed/biodiesel demonstrations with Hulett, Casper, Gillette and Sheridan High School agricultural education departments.

June – Four Wyoming producers, two high school students, Wyoming Biofuels LLC Vice President and Donn Randall, project manager, traveled June 5-12 to central Montana to spend the week visiting Montana producers, agribusiness companies and colleges to observe oilseed production practices and research projects. A highlight of the week was being able to attend the MSU-Northern College biofuels department 25 X 25 Energy Conference.

July – August – Monitored oilseed test plots, assisted producers with harvesting oilseeds and developed a 21-page Wyoming Oilseed/Biodiesel bulletin.

September – Conducted the state-wide oilseed/biodiesel Western SARE field day on September 13 on the ranch of Phil and Kate Boreen in Otto, Wyoming. The 45 participants included a mix of Wyoming producers, high school and college students, government agency representatives and numerous agribusiness representatives.

October-December – Worked with Sheridan Farmer’s Co-op to assist them in developing a business plan that will allow them to acquire a $180,000 matching business development grant/loan to construct facilities and acquire equipment to start an oilseed crushing and oilseed meal to value-added livestock range cake supplement business.

Research results and discussion:

Due to producer oilseed test plots over the past two years, the number of Wyoming producers planting and harvesting oilseed crops has greatly increased. Wyoming producers are experiencing and seeing the benefits of utilizing various oilseed varieties in their crop rotation programs. As a result of the increase in acres planted to oilseeds, a current stock pile of some 315 tons of various oilseeds are available to be crushed by the Sheridan Farmer’s Co-op. A newly-formed Wyoming biofuels company, Wyoming Biofuels LLC, and the Sheridan Farmer’s Co-op will be partnering to process the current and future Wyoming oilseeds into either value-added livestock range cake supplement or into a biodiesel B100 premium fuel product that will then be blended into B20.

Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

Participation Summary

Education/outreach description:

The Western SARE oilseed/biodiesel field day was conducted on the ranch of Phil and Kate Boreen in Otto, Wyoming. On September 12 & 13, a very successful state-wide field day was planned and conducted by the Wyoming oilseed/biodiesel team. Forty-five participants attended the one-day field day to learn more about the procedures and processes of growing, harvesting, crushing and processing of the oil into biodiesel. All of these great accomplishments from this project would not have happened if it were not for the assistance the Wyoming oilseed/biodiesel team was able to receive from the Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant. On behalf of the Wyoming oilseed/biodiesel team members, Wyoming producers, students and Wyoming businesses, WE WISH TO THANK THE WESTERN SARE STAFF AND PROGRAM VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND CONFIDENCE IN THIS PROJECT!

The Wyoming oilseed/biodiesel team members were able to collaborate and work together to produce a 21-page oilseed/biodiesel bulletin that highlights the research and production of the oilseeds in Wyoming. A total of 500 copies were made available to producers, schools and businesses throughout Wyoming in September 2010.

Other:

– Promoted oil seed production test plots with Wyoming producers throughout the state.

– Participated in WESTI Ag Days conference in Worland, Wyoming with an oilseed production and crushing demonstration with the mobile demonstration trailer. Attended the Northwest Harvesting Clean Energy conference in Kennick, Washington to observe and learn more about alternative energy programs and to network with other alternative energy project managers.

– Helped the University of Wyoming research staff at Powell, Wyoming plan and organize a producer meeting with Dahlgren Sunflower Company, Crookston, Minnesota. Helped the Colorado State University to present production information for growing confection sunflowers in the Big Horn Basin.

– Conducted producer site visits to Wyoming producers who were planting oilseed test plots. The Wyoming oilseed/biodiesel team members conducted oilseed/biodiesel demonstrations with Hulett, Casper, Gillette and Sheridan High School agricultural education departments.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

The most significant accomplishment thus far with the project has been the increase of acres in Wyoming being planted to oilseed crops. Prior to 2008, two Sheridan, Wyoming producers planted and harvested a total of 45 acres of camelina. As of September 2010, the following number of acres and oilseed varieties were planted and harvested:

camelina – 350 acres,
safflower – 150 acres,
sunflower, oil varieties – 250 acres,

sunflower, confection varieties – 900 acres,
canola – 360 acres,
brown mustard – 35 acres,
soybeans – 20 acres.

Since the #1 agronomic crop in Wyoming for the highest economical return is forage production, Wyoming producers have seen enormous positive results from the planting of Round-up ready (RR) canola in old alfalfa fields. Producers who have planted RR canola for at least two years and then on the third year replanted the field back to a new hybrid variety of alfalfa now have the best stands of alfalfa that they have ever had on their farms and ranches. They are also starting to see how this crop rotation with RR canola can benefit their sales of high quality Wyoming premium alfalfa hay to out-of-state dairy and horse hay markets.

In addition to the increased production of oilseed acres, the Wyoming oilseed/biodiesel team members were able to collaborate and work together to produce a 21-page oilseed/biodiesel bulletin that highlights the research and production of the oilseeds in Wyoming. A total of 500 copies were made available to producers, schools and businesses throughout Wyoming in September 2010.

Recommendations:

Potential Contributions

As a result of the increased production acres of various oilseeds by Wyoming producers, there is now a potential market for the purchasing of these oilseeds by the Sheridan Farmer’s Co-op that was not in existence prior to the conception of this project. The Sheridan Farmer’s Co-op has purchased two Kern Kraft oilseed crushers that were used to crush approximately 15 tons of various oilseeds during the winter of 2009. Phase I of the Sheridan Farmer’s Co-op business plan was to learn how to operate the oilseed crushers and experiment with using the meal to be processed into a value-added livestock range cake supplement. The Sheridan Farmer’s Co-op is now in the process of working on Phase II of this business plan, which is to secure a community development business grant/loan through the Wyoming Business Council. Funds will be used to construct a separate building that will house the oilseed crushers and oilseed storage facilities. The goal is to be able to crush at least 1,000 tons of oilseed stock yearly and process the various oilseed stock meals into a value-added livestock range cake supplement. The newly formed Wyoming Biofuels LLC Company will then utilize the oil from the Sheridan Farmer’s Co-op to process into B100 biodiesel. The B100 will then be blended to make B20, which will then be sold through the Sheridan Farmer’s Co-op truck stop and delivered to the fuel customers of the co-op.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.