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[Question:] "Do you think we're ever going to see a time when Nebraska is covered with switchgrass?"
     "Not covered. I think that if people have to choose between eating and driving their car, they'll choose to eat… Will we take some of these nice, fertile, flat, irrigated areas and put them into a biomass fuel crop, like switchgrass? I don't know. I doubt that that's what will happen. I think because corn is used for other things, food things, food will win out in the longer run. People will be willing to pay more for food. So, I think some of our land that we know works really well on corn will continue to work well on corn. So, an ethanol plant that has other alternatives to tap into for carbon might be better positioned to stay in business… "
     "We can do a lot of lifestyle changes on the urban side of things to reduce our need for liquid fuels. And so, I think in the end that will be a big part of the answer to the ethanol question is that – People will have to change their consumptive lifestyle when it comes to liquid fuel purchases.
     "I think there's definitely the potential for the cellulous-based ethanol to be a player. And we have lots of land in Nebraska that would be better in a perennial crop system, like switchgrass, that could be used in this kind of fermentation. Technology has to come along before we can take a rigid cell wall and get yeast to use it as a sugar source the way we can take starch in corn grain and covert it to sugars for the yeast to use. It's a much more challenging process. But the engineers will figure out ways of working that out along with the biologists. But again, I think it will fit. I think we're going to see a liquid fuel industry that's a part of agriculture. But the biggest driver there will be that the cost of liquid fuels from petroleum will just get higher and higher and higher."

Don Lee – Alternatives to Corn Ethanol

   

Excerpts from Don Lee’s Interview:

The Bust of the 80s
Government Subsidies
An End to Subsidies?
The Internet for Ag
Immigration in Rural Am.
History of Hybrids
Preserving Genetics
Climate Change
Politics of Ethanol
Alternatives to Corn
Genetic Engineering
Bt & Roundup Ready
Patenting Genes
RR & Conservation