Northern Missouri/Southern Iowa landowners sought for prairie program

A USDA Climate Smart Commodities grant program will pay landowners along portions of the Missouri/Iowa border to plant highly erodible land with native prairie grasses.

Director of land management and prairie acquisition Steve Mowry with Roeslein Alternative Energy tells Brownfield 40,000 acres surrounding the company’s anaerobic digesters in the Grand River Basin are eligible to participate.

“We would offer them an annual rental payment plus an amount of money per ton different if we harvest it and transport it versus whether the landowner would, and we would have some arrangement to the land owner for any carbon credits that we were able to arrange,” he explains.

Mowry says the $80 million grant program will pay landowners over the next five years and Roeslein would like to make the collaboration permanent for their facilities.

“The vision is 30 million acres in the next 30 years,” he says. “All of it based around hog manure plants and the creating of what we called Horizon II, which is the biomass created from new prairie and cover crops.”

The Horizon II project includes a partnership of 13 public and private entities including Smithfield Foods and The Nature Conservancy. An informational meeting is planned for March 1.

Roeslein Alternative Energy operates renewable energy production facilities that use ag and industrial wastes, along with renewable biomass feedstocks to create renewable natural gas and sustainable co-products.

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