The estimates obtained from POLYSYS indicate that the goals targeted in this analysis can be achieved at a reasonable cost by the proposed target year of 2030. The production of feedstock to meet the biofuels demand can be done by re-allocating the current cropland in production and shifting land use towards bioenergy dedicated energy crops, like switchgrass. While the current ethanol industry is based on the transformation of corn grain into ethanol, reaching the proposed ethanol production and utilization level of 60 billion gallons will require a major contribution of cellulosic feedstock: dedicated energy crops (switchgrass), residues from
traditional crops (corn stover, wheat straw), and residues from forest activities (forest thinning, and residues from wood processing facilities). Reaching the goals at a reasonable cost also requires the availability to covert cellulose to ethanol. A delay in the availability of this technology would have significant consequences on the cost and path to reach the goals.
To reach the desired goal of 1 billion gallons of biodiesel by 2012 plus increasing this quantity beyond 2012, it is necessary to utilize both soybeans and other feedstocks such as yellow grease and tallow.
Regional results indicate that the Northern Plains and the Southeast will be the primary areas in which dedicated energy crops will be produced, while the Midwest contribution will be in the form of corn residues. However, most regions of the country have the potential to contribute to biofuels production, and therefore will also likely benefit in terms of net farm income gains and gains for rural communities. The following discussion provides a detailed description and analysis of these impacts.
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