An UMPI faculty team is studying the potential of perennial grass production to supplement farm incomes and create jobs in Aroostook County. The goal of this study is to learn more about the potential contribution of grass biomass to the County’s portfolio of clean, renewable, “home grown” energy sources, which currently center on wood biomass and wind power. Grasses, such as switch grass, reed canary grass, or timothy, are being studied as possible feed stocks for a biomass pellet production facility. As part of this work, they conducted a survey of Fort Fairfield landowners who own greater than 10 acres. The team surveyed landowners about their current agricultural activities and resources, their farming experience and, importantly, their perspectives on grass biomass as a potential land use and production activity.
A report of the landowner survey is now available for download, and you can request a hard copy by emailing your physical address to . Next, we are conducting focus groups and key informant interviews of Fort Fairfield landowners. If you are interested in participating, please also contact Dr. Johnston. Focus groups will take place at the Fort Fairfield municipal building on Friday, April 12 (2:30-4:30) and Saturday, April 13 (9-11 AM). The team is interested in talking to farmers with a diversity of opinions on the potential of grass biomass, non-farm landowners, potential custom operators, and any others who have an interest. In the next year, the team will begin taking what it has learned in Fort Fairfield and reaching out to other central Aroostook communities.