Tuesday, August 14, 2007

UI Agronomy Day Features Bio Fuels

The University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences 51st Annual Agronomy Day is this Thursday August 16 on the South Farms. Dr. Hans Blaschek of the Center for Advanced Bio-Energy Research will be the featured Noon time speaker.

And as the college moves test plots south to make way for athletic and business interests in its test farm, the 51st consecutive Agronomy Day seems likely to be one of the last when farmers can visit fields adjacent to campus to see what's new at ACES.

Chairman Pat Tranel said the theme, "Growing Our Future," hits home on at least two fronts.

"We're talking about alternative energy, growing our own energy, and that's a hot topic," Tranel said. "We have a tour focused on that issue.

"The other way it's relevant is, because of bioenergy and other new things, we have a lot of need for new students trained in agronomy, and we feel we need to grow in size to fill employers' needs," he said. "People don't associate bioenergy with agronomy but in fact, a lot of it is basic crop science research. "

Tranel said increased demand and higher prices also create a hot market for agronomy graduates.

"It's an optimistic time in agronomy and we need to grow our students," he said.

Crop sciences department head Bob Hoeft agreed.

"We'll be set up to talk to students and their parents," Hoeft said. "We have really good news for them. Last year our crop sciences students were hired for the highest average salaries of any department of the college. Agriculture isn't a pitchfork and shovel any more. We're a high-tech operation. We have GPS and satellites out there working for us. We have biotechnology in plant breeding. It's the most exciting time in my career."

No comments: