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Poster Abstract

Fuelish Dreams? Producing Sustainable Energy Feedstock

Alissa Meyer, Clare Hinrichs, and Tom Richard
Graduate Student, Rural Sociology
The Pennsylvania State University

A billion tons of feedstock will require millions of producers to change the way they manage their farmland and forests. On what will they base their decisions? Through an extensive review of agency, industry, NGO and media documents and an ongoing series of qualitative interviews with upstream and downstream actors in the agricultural biofuels economy, we are addressing the following research questions: What are the likely sustainability impacts of a wide scale transition to a “bioeconomy” premised on the utilization of agricultural biomass? How do farmers and landowners understand the opportunities and obstacles they face in producing perennial feedstocks for the developing agricultural biomass energy sector? And how will benefits and risks be distributed across the supply chain of an emergent cellulosic ethanol sector?