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NC Ag Commissioner Explains “Refocus” of NC Biofuel Research

This past legislative session, the General Assembly refocuses the states’ approach to bioenergy development. This necessitated the closing of the Bio Fuel Center – where do we go from here?

North Carolina Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler:

“There have been some things in the press that NC was not going to proceed with bioenergy development and that is not true. What they have decided to do is instead of putting the money into the non profit Bio Fuels Center of NC, they shifted that responsibility to NCDA&CS. We had been partners and owned with the Center, so it’s a switch in focus only.

The budget provided $900,000 this fiscal year to support the development of energy production for NC ag and forestry based products. It increases to $1.5 million the next fiscal year and will support five positions, operating expenses and the grant program. The Center is now under the research stations division and we intend to do a lot of research and bring in more partners.

The synergy that we can develop between biofuels development and the ag research stations division will be very sufficient for NC. We think this industry will provide the opportunity to grow farm income.

We have both the natural and the human resources here in NC. We have never had a future in corn based ethanol production because we are a corn deficit state and would rank #4 in the world in corn importation to feed our hog and chicken industries. So it’s a great way to look at the possibilities we have here in NC.”'

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.