A new word has crept into the English language and is impacting the lives of farm families in our area. That word is 'biomass'.
We are all familiar with the term 'fossil fuels', but this supposedly inexhaustible resource is currently in dangerously low supply. To our rescue comes a renewable energy source - biomass which is made into biofuels.
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, refers to living and recently dead biological material that can be used as fuel or for industrial production. In this context, biomass refers to plant matter grown to generate electricity. For example, trash such as dead trees and branches, yard clippings and wood chips are biofuel. Industrial biomass can be grown from numerous types of plants, including switchgrass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow and sugarcane. Production of biomass is a growing industry as interest in sustainable fuel sources is growing. Some farmers in the Tamworth area have begun producing switchgrass on their farms. One advantage to this crop is that this hardy perinnial can be grown on marginal agricultural land so that food production is not compromised.
For the buyer dreaming of life in the country but needing a farm that can be financially productive, switchgrass could be the answer to this dilema. There is a growing need for alternative fuels. For instance, Lafarge is currently considering biomass as an energy source for the Lafarge plant in Bath. To see what farms are for sale in the area, contact Marion Leavens at 613-583-9789.
Is this the farm crop of the future? Is it the energy source of the future? My opinion is 'yes' as an answer to both questions.
Biomass might be a new word today but it will be as common in the future as the words coal and oil are to us today.