Biofuels for Agriculture’ will be the theme of the 59th Annual Rice Field Day at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center in Beaumont. The center is located 6.5 miles west of Beaumont off U.S Hwy. 90 at 1509 Aggie Drive Activities will begin at 8 a.m., July 13.
The field day is free and open to the public.
Dr. Ted Wilson, Beaumont Center Director with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, is confident this year’s event will be one of the most informative ever held.
“We’ll begin with tours of the research plots, where participants can learn about new rice varieties, insect and disease control, ratoon management and advances in molecular genetics,” Wilson said.
However, all the production knowledge that exists can’t help the farmers if the economic environment is such that they can’t make a living.
“That’s why we are so excited about our morning program guest speakers,” he said. “We’ve put together a group of experts that will provide realistic information on how biofuel production can really give our farmers the boost they need.”
The keynote speaker will be Dr. Mark Holtzapple, from the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. He and his team of researchers have developed a process that converts biomass, such as rice straw, into mixed alcohols that can be used for fuel. Holtzapple also developed the “super-efficient” StarRoto engine, which has the potential to achieve over 200 miles per gallon, he said.
Also on the agenda is David Schermock, an industrial engineer with AgriBioFuels, which recently announced plans to build a biodiesel plant in Dayton. The company hopes to eventually purchase locally produced oilstock, giving Southeast Texas farmers a new market for their crops.
A barbecue lunch, courtesy of BU Growers, will begin around noon. Anyone interested in rice research or the development of bio-based fuels is encouraged to attend.
For more information contact Brandy Morace at 409-752-2741, extension 2227.