Agricultural Outlook Forum Focuses on Profits Outside the Box

FORT COLLINS – Alternative sources of agricultural profit by developing products such as biofuels or harnessing energy provided by alternative sources such as wind or the sun is a focus of the annual Colorado Agricultural Outlook Forum. The form, "Profits Outside the Box: Agri-Energy and Beyond," will be held Thursday, Feb. 19 at the Renaissance Denver Hotel at 3801 Quebec Street.

The forum will provide the latest information about wind energy development, biofuels and bioproducts, carbon sequestration, and information about funding for agricultural-energy products.

"The forum will address fundamental questions about promoting the production and use of renewable energy in Colorado," said David Carlson, executive director of the event.  

House Speaker Lola Spradley and Kirk Johnson, executive director of environmental affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association will provide contrasting views about promoting renewable energy in agriculture and rural Colorado.

Spradley is sponsoring legislation requiring utilities in Colorado to acquire 900 megawatts of generation from renewable resources by the year 2010.  Rural Electric Cooperatives and municipal utilities are exempted. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association recently signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to identify and advance cost-effective voluntary opportunities for rural cooperatives to partner with farmer and ranchers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through generating and marketing alternative sources of energy.

Additional speakers at the event include Jim Nichols, an agricultural producer, county commissioner and former commissioner of agriculture in Minnesota. Nichols will discuss incentives and mandates used in Minnesota to promote ethanol and wind energy as a profitable product for agriculture and how those products foster rural development. Experts from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden will discuss Colorado’s potential for renewable energy, and Reagan Waskom, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension specialist, will discuss current drought conditions.

The forum also will include breakout sessions about wind farming, agri-energy cooperatives and financing opportunities, carbon sequestration, water and water transfers and an agricultural legislative and fiscal outlook update.

The forum will be preceded by a reception the evening of Feb. 18. Forum registration is $90 per person before Feb. 6 and $100 after that date. To register or for more information, visit the Web at or call 303-477-0076 extension 210.


For more information about this story and other agricultural related news at Colorado State University, visit