UMPI Landowner Survey: Potential for Grass Biomass

Dear Landowner, A faculty team at the University of Maine Presque Isle is studying the potential of perennial grass production to supplement farm incomes and create jobs in Aroostook County. The project is part of the University of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative and is coordinated with on-going grass biomass research by UMaine's Cooperative Extension Service. 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 and reed canary grass, are being studied as possible feed stocks for a biomass pellet production facility. An important part of the project is to learn more about the land base. For example, hay, silage and fallow land -- with the right incentives -- might be available for biomass production. This survey hopes to inventory such lands. We also seek information about land owners’ other agricultural resources, their farming experience and, importantly, their perspectives on grass biomass as a potential land use and production activity. We would greatly appreciate your participation in the project by completing the following survey. It has been designed to take roughly ten minutes of your time, which we realize is especially valuable at this time of year. We ask that you indicate your name, permitting us to follow-up as appropriate. However, we assure you that your survey responses will be kept strictly confidential. We will ensure this by separating landowner name and contact information from the other survey data. We plan summarize data by mid-September, so we'd appreciate your response before then. Thank you very much for your contribution, Jason, for the UMPI team (David Putnam, Kim Sebold, David Vail, Chunzeng Wang) By completing and returning this questionnaire, you verify that: * You have understood the purpose of this survey; * You have voluntarily agreed to participate; and * You are at least eighteen (18) years of age. If you have any questions about this survey and your rights, please contact: Jason Johnston, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology School of Science and Mathematics University of Maine at Presque Isle 181 Main Street (315 South Hall) Presque Isle, ME 04769 207-768-9652

Background information








Farm activities









Land ownership and land use







Row Crops
Small Grains
Hay and Silage
Pasture
Bushhogged Fallow Land

Haying operations and equipment


Was hay or silage marketed from this land?
Did you feed hay or silage from this land to your own commercial livestock?
Was hay or silage from this land harvested by a custom operator?

Hay/silage mowing equipment
Square bale baler
Round bale baler
Silage chopper/blower
Hay wagon

Grass biomass potential



cost of converting land to perennial grass
labor shortages at harvest time
cost of harvesting
cost of transportation
production risks (e.g. inadequate rainfall, pests, diseases)
unprofitable price
unreliable buyers







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