0106WFSfarmfuelprogramkoMR.cfm Food and Fuel Forum provides information to farmers, consumers
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Food and Fuel Forum provides information to farmers, consumers

As the United States explores alternative sources of fuel and energy, agriculture has an opportunity to be part of the solution and develop new markets for its crops. However, critics have raised concerns about U.S. farmers' capacity to provide both fuel and energy, while continuing to feed the world.

The Western Farm Show seeks to provide information that may help answer some of these questions. The Food and Fuel Forum will be held at this year's Western Farm Show, Feb. 19 to 21, and it will provide experts on alternative fuels and energy the chance to inform farmers and consumers about current and future markets for alternative energy.

"There is a lot of misinformation and a lack of knowledge about alternative fuels, our dependence of foreign oil and the role agriculture can play in providing solutions," says Jeff Flora, CEO of the SouthWestern Association, which manages the Western Farm Show. "We decided to hold the Food and Fuel Forum to bring more awareness to farmers and consumers about what opportunities exist for agriculture."

The Food and Fuel Forum will cover opportunities and challenges in biomass, wind energy, solar energy and alternative fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. Industry experts will discuss what is possible and probable for each type of energy and explain how U.S. farmers can provide both energy and food to a growing population. Flora says SWA is not taking a position on these issues, just bringing in experts to share information.

Visitors to the Western Farm Show can attend the Food and Fuel Forum at 1:30 p.m., Feb. 19 and again Feb. 20 at 9:30 a.m. Each session will be three hours, with presentations, a panel discussion and an opportunity for the audience to ask questions of the expert speakers.

"The Food and Fuel Forum will provide farmers with an opportunity to learn how some of their equipment may or may not be affected by alternative fuels, and also learn about the opportunities for sources of income from new technologies," says Flora.

Lifestyle farmers and consumers have a lot to learn by attending the Forum as well. While U.S. farmers and ranchers have done a great job of providing food and fuel to the world, they have not always done a great job sharing their story, and Flora says this is an opportunity to do that.

"We owe it to ourselves to be more knowledgeable about opportunities in alternative fuels," says Flora. "We need to promote to the general public what role agriculture can play as a fuel source, and the Food and Fuel Forum is a good way to do that."

For more information on the Food and Fuel Forum at the Western Farm Show visit www.westernfarmshow.com.

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