GCB Bioenergy

Cover image for Vol. 6 Issue 5

Edited By: Steve Long

Impact Factor: 4.248

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 2/78 (Agronomy); 12/82 (Energy & Fuels)

Online ISSN: 1757-1707

Associated Title(s): Global Change Biology

Farmers Opinions on Bioenergy Development

Farmer’s Opinions on Bioenergy Development

The European Union aims to increase production of renewable energy to help mitigate rising greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations. As part of this directive, the Republic of Ireland needs to generate 16% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020. Energy produced from biomass crops will play an important role in meeting Ireland’s bioenergy targets.

Farmer’s willingness to grow energy crops is an important factor in the development of a bioenergy industry. To develop strategies that encourage farmers to grow energy crops, policy makers must have information on their opinions.

Augestenborg and coauthors conducted a survey of 172 Irish farmers interested in energy crop production. The survey of 27 questions was designed to collect demographic information, existing knowledge of bioenergy, and opinions about bioenergy production. This information was then used to understand farmer’s motivations and obstacles to energy crop production and to characterize ‘potential adopters’ of energy crop production in Ireland.

Respondents of the survey represented all counties in Ireland and all major farm enterprises (beef, dairy, tillage and other livestock). The methods of survey distribution encouraged those interested in energy crop production to respond more than those who were not interested in adopting energy crops. As a result, over 70% of respondents were interested in producing energy crops. The authors found that farmers preferred adoption of Miscanthus (48%), grass (30%), willow (21%), and oil seed rape (14%).

The results indicated that lack of interest in adopting energy crop production may be due to lack of knowledge regarding the economic benefits of adoption and the variety of energy crops available for cultivation. Respondents believe that the establishment of long-term contracts and government schemes are important for the development of bioenergy crop production. The information gathered from this survey can be used to increase the effectiveness of programs designed to attract new energy crop producers.
Augustenborg, C. A., Finnan, J., McBennett, L., Connolly, V., Priegnitz, U. and Müller, C. (2012), Farmers' perspectives for the development of a bioenergy industry in Ireland. GCB Bioenergy. doi: 10.1111/j.1757-1707.2011.01151.x Read this paper.

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