Producer Profiles

Across Wisconsin entrepreneurial farmers are achieving their production and farm sustainability goals while supporting state and national renewable energy? goals by growing and harvesting biomass? on their farms. Learn from their success and observations through their own words. View the spotlight below, see a list of producer profiles, or go to the directory.

Spotlight On...

Jamie Derr, Sun Prairie, WI. Ditchmass: a pilot study for harvesting biomass along Wisconsin highway rights-of-way.

Jamie_Bales1.jpg Jamie Derr, a commodity farmer, is anything but conventional. In addition to his on-farm biodiesel operation and pennycress/corn/soybean no-till crop rotations, Jamie recently added a pilot biomass? project to his list of innovative endeavors.

In partnership with Pam Porter, Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence, Jamie proposed and received Wisconsin Department of Transportation funding to conduct a pilot study in 2010 to evaluate the farmer feasibility of road shoulder biomass harvesting and biomass quality. Using a 3-mile strip of right-of-way along Highway 151, the study involved harvest of biomass in 15 ft. swaths using a sickle and a disk bine for comparison, windrowing, and baling into large square bales. In addition to assessment of profitability, the study will also provide a detailed analysis of operations safety, potential cost savings for WiscDOT, and a preliminary analysis of carbon impacts of roadside harvesting. Ultimately, the study will determine whether an expanded project should be conducted, possibly involving additional Wisconsin farmers.

The humorously dubbed "Ditchmass" study could illustrate the potential for reducing tax-payer money spent on roadside maintenance. The study may also provide evidence for a new land base for biomass collection that does not compete with cropland.

Contact Jamie:

Anerobic Digestion and Biogas

UW Extension have created seven modules focused on the use of anaerobic digestion technologies. Details of the process are introduced, as well as factors that influence start-up, operation and control of anaerobic digesters at different scales.

Contact Us:


Carol Williams
(608) 890-3858 (office)
(515) 520-7494 (mobile)
Department of Agronomy
1575 Linden Dr.
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

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Wisconsin Sustainable Planting and Harvest Guidelines for Non-forest Biomass? on Public and Private Lands (2011)


These Guidelines are an effort to encourage decision-making and land use practices that benefit farmers financially while protecting the state’s natural resources.

Perennial Herbaceous Biomass Production and Harvest in the Prairie Pothole Region of the Northern Great Plains: Best Management Guidelines to Achieve Sustainability of Wildlife Resources (2013)


These Guidelines are provided by the National Wildlife Federation. These Best Management Guidelines were developed through a process involving an advisory group of natural resource professionals with expertise in agronomy, production aspects of energy crops, wildlife ecology and management, and native ecosystems. Although the guidelines are targeted for the Northern Great Plains, many of the general principles apply to Wisconsin.

Crop Fact Sheets

Get the information you need for informed decisions:
- switchgrass.pdf
- Miscanthus.pdf