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Ethanol Now A Big Cash Crop For Hoosier Farmers

Sarah Altendorf

Indiana farmers‘ biggest cash crops now include not just corn and soybeans, but energy.

Indiana Farm Bureau president Don Villwock says ethanol now accounts for 40-percent of Hoosier farmers‘ corn production.

And he says other forms of renewable energy benefit farmers as well.

"We do have a few solar farms starting to sprout up," says Villwock. "We have a new one in Tipton County that just recently started. So we're really on the forefront, and Purdue University is probably the leading cellulosic research institute in the country."

The Farm Bureau and the agriculture-and-environment renewable energy coalition 25x25 spotlighted some of those initiatives with a daylong tour of northern Indiana.

It included visits to a Danville landfill-to-gas operation, a solar farm in Montgomery County, the nine-year-old "BioTown" experiment in Reynolds, and Jasper County‘s Fair Oaks dairy farm, which is almost entirely self-sustaining.

Renewables now comprise 11-percent of American energy production, with more than half that amount coming from different forms of biomass.