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FarmSmart - "Growing and using Switchgrass and Miscanthus"

  • 21 Jan 2017
  • 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
  • Rozanski Hall, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

FarmSmart Registration


3:40 pm – Rozanski 5 


Growing and Using Switchgrass and Miscanthus


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Jake DeBruyn, OMAFRA

James Fisher, Fidale Farms

David Smith, Norfolk County

The Ontario Biomass Producers Co-op presents an interesting session featuring switchgrass and miscanthus growers and users talking about why they’re making the switch to biomass crops.  Switchgrass and miscanthus markets continue to expand, both in conventional markets like livestock bedding and feed, in premium markets like no-spray/organic and ginseng, and in the bioeconomy for bio-based pots, other plastics and biochemicals.  This session will present the agronomic basics for farmers to understand how to get started growing biomass crops within their existing operation, and will also provide details from users discussing the end-use markets.

Jamie Fisher is the President of the Ontario Biomass Producers Co-operative.  He runs a mixed operation near Carlisle Ontario including switchgrass production, hay primarily for the horse market, and beef cattle.

Jake DeBruyn is an agricultural engineer at OMAFRA, based in the Guelph office. His areas of focus include biomass crops, green energy and climate change.  Jake DeBruyn is an professional engineer working at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs as the Engineering Specialist, New Technology Integration.  He’s previously held roles as the On-farm Wastewater and Water Technology Engineer, and the Rural Environment Engineer.  Jake DeBruyn has a B.Sc.(Bio.E) and M.Sc. (Bio.E) from the University of Manitoba.

David Smith, has been farming in Norfolk County since 1976.  For the last 30 years he has been operating a bio-fueled, hydroponic greenhouse, as well as one hundred acres of field crops.  David is an early adopter of purpose grown biomass and for the past six years has been growing and propagating miscanthus.  With the support of Growing Forward 2 he is developing innovative mechanical systems to improve the establishment process of future miscanthus acreage. David is a Director of the Ontario Biomass Producers Co-operative and REAP-Canada.


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