North Dakota industrial beet grower meetings scheduled

Farm Forum

Farmers are invited to attend informational meetings on industrial beet production and processing at five locations across central North Dakota the week of Jan. 27.

Industrial beets, also called energy beets, are sugar beets bred for the biofuels market and industrial purposes. The beets are used to create ethanol and high-value chemicals.

The meetings will update farmers on industrial beet processing development efforts in the state and answer grower questions about industrial beet production and the economics of industrial beets.

“Farmer involvement is critical because processing facility siting is dependent on the local availability of beet feedstock supplies,” says David Ripplinger, North Dakota State University bioproducts and bioenergy economist and assistant professor. “Because beets are sensitive to certain herbicides, and commercial processing is scheduled to begin in 2017, farmers need to plan ahead to determine which fields can be used.”

Meeting locations, times and dates are:

• Cando – 1 to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 29, Extension Service office, Towner County

• Carrington – 9 to 11 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 29, Carrington Research Extension Center

• Jamestown – 1 to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 28, Farmers Union headquarters

• Langdon – 9 to 11 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 30, Langdon Research Extension Center

• Valley City – 9 to 11 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 28, Eagles Club

Grower meetings planned for later this winter will provide more details on beet agronomics and production economics, plus gauge farmers’ willingness to grow the crop.

The development of beets as a new industrial crop is a partnership between Green Vision Group based in Fargo and Heartland Renewable Energy based in Muscatine, Iowa. The research component is led by NDSU.

Additional project funding is provided by the North Dakota Renewable Energy Council, North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission and many communities and private companies.