Goals And Objectives

Switchgrass, a warm weather, native, Iowa grass that grows well on marginal ground, has been identified by the Chariton Valley Conservation Reserve and Development Inc. as an alternative revenue generating crop for southern Iowa farmers. Up to 50,000 acres of land currently enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) are sought after to grow up to 200,000 tons of switchgrass annually. The switchgrass could generate up to 35MW of electrical power and displace up to 5 percent of the coal used at Alliant Energy’s Ottumwa Generating Station annually. Other benefits for the Chariton Valley and Rathbun Lake watershed in Southern Iowa would include reduced sediment and chemical runoff into Rathbun Lake, improved local air quality, wildlife habitat improvement, and the potential participation of 500 local farmers.

The primary goal of the federally cost-shared phase of the Chariton Valley Biomass Project was to conduct all necessary research, demonstration, analysis, planning, development, and outreach work required to lay the groundwork for commercializing the project. By creating a commercially operating switchgrass fuel supply business in southern Iowa, the project sought to bring a new source of revenue to Iowa farmers while creating significant environmental benefits for local air, water, soil, and wildlife.

For more background information on the project, please see the following links: