Kansas is among 12 north central states with the
potential to produce up to two-thirds of the nation´s perennial
bioenergy crops and crop residues, which brings the region into the
national spotlight as the U.S. Congress considers federal farm policy
that will help shift energy reliance from the Middle East to the
Midwest.

To help guide this transition and ensure coordinated policy and
research, directors from 12 state departments of agriculture,
Cooperative Extension Service and university agriculture experiment
stations have formed the North Central Bioeconomy Consortium. The
states are Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota,
Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

"The north central region currently leads the nation in ethanol
production, and we plan to also lead the transition to cellulosic
biofuels from perennial bioenergy crops and other biomass sources,"
said Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Adrian Polansky. "This shared
goal will align our states to achieve the most possible from our
abundant renewable resources while protecting our environment and
boosting our rural economies."

The North Central Bioeconomy Consortium recently received a $100,000
grant from the Energy Foundation of San Francisco to coordinate
regional public policy development and research for a renewable
energy future. A strategic partnership has been formed with the
Great Plains Institute of Minneapolis to help coordinate, facilitate
and implement the 12-state consortium agenda.

"We will use collaborative research through our Midwest universities
to make sure that our valuable working lands of agriculture and
forestry are used in a sustainable manner for future generations,"
said Forrest Chumley, associate director of the Agricultural
Experiment Station at Kansas State University and vice president of
the consortium.

The consortium met for the first time in February to reach a
memorandum of understanding for the three participating
organizations.

"The long history of university extension offices working with local
communities, producers and business leaders to make sure state-of-the-
art research goes to work in our farms, forests and local businesses
helps guarantee that bioeconomy growth will benefit all," said Daryl
Buchholz, associate director of Extension and Applied Research at
Kansas State University.

The North Central Bioeconomy Consortium recently submitted summary
work to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN)
documenting the region´s achievements and potential in leading the
transition to greater use of bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts.

"These are exciting and changing times for the north central region
and the United States as we move toward greater renewable energy and
fuels," said Sara Bergan, executive director of the Great Plains
Institute. "This consortium provides our region the opportunity to
develop the next generation of biofuel feedstocks and energy
technologies while providing the research and policy tools necessary
to ensure long-term sustainability and economic vitality."

The North Central Bioeconomy Consortium also recently agreed to
collaborate with the Midwestern Governors Association on policy
review and development for a proposed energy summit later this year.

More information about the consortium is available at
www.ncbioconsortium.org. A list of members of the 12-state consortium
including the Midwest Association of the State Departments of
Agriculture (MASDA), the North Central Experiment Stations and North
Central Cooperative Extension is available at
http://www.oznet.ksu.edu.
Also available are the NCBEC Fact Sheet at
http://www.oznet.ksu.edu and a
NCBEC report at
http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/.