Biofuel Crops being Contracted in the Carolinas

Growing specialty crops on contract is nothing new to the Carolinas…many crops are grown on contract these days…from the area’s heritage, tobacco, to fruits and vegetables. But, one thing that is new is crops for use as renewable fuels, and Jeff Wheeler with Reprieve Renewables, based in Greensboro talks with Southern Farm Network’s Bob Midles about their concept:

“Reprieve Renewables has been operating for almost five years and came together with looking at renewable solutions for crops. The crop we focus on is giant Miscanthus. It has multiple market opportunities. It is a crop that offers economic and environmental benefits.

The poultry industry is huge here in NC. For that market we are working with the local integrators for a poultry bedding for their grow out facilities. So you can raise the supply of the poultry bedding right here. And then you can chop the material right at harvest and go right into the poultry facilities as bedding.

There is one plant that will be going under construction in eastern NC for biofuels. Miscanthus can be used for biofuels to create fuel from non food sources.

We are working with farmers who are willing to create new markets and new opportunities. We want to make sure that we have the downstream markets to really connect directly to the farmers. Its also a crop that offers a new opportunity but they don’t have to invest in new equipment. And we do the planning and technology for them. It’s a perennial crop that is planted from a ryzone. That saves them time during a very busy tie for them. We also have an agronomist on staff to help farmers. We also do all of the harvesting our selves to get the product to the desired specs for our customers.

SFN’s Bob Midles and CEO of Reprieve Renewables Jeff Wheeler.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.