The 25Farmer Network is pilot program started in 2008 that has brought together a group of West Tennessee farmers assembled to grow new crops, participate in value-added processing, and partner with companies producing biofuels and biobased products. Memphis Bioworks Foundation and BioDimensions are currently working to expand this network into the surrounding region as a key component toward developing a strong regional bioeconomy.
The 25Farmer Network is actively assisting West Tennessee farmers to become more competitive in a rapidly changing world economy that is shifting from dependence on petroleum to using renewable, agricultural products. In this bioeconomy, agricultural crops will play a primary role in producing biofuels and many biobased products, as well as food, feed and fiber. The 25Farmer Network is helping prepare a core group of West Tennessee farmers, and in the future farmers from the surrounding region, for this transition by growing alternative crops, increasing agricultural processing opportunities, and developing relationships with key companies that want to do business in West Tennessee.
Memphis Bioworks Foundation and BioDimensions is supporting the members of the 25Farmer Network with business development and leadership training, providing access to companies seeking agricultural products that can be grown in West Tennessee and facilitating the development of new farmer-based businesses.
The 2009 crop year, the 25Farmer Network selected 3 crops to begin growing: sunflower, sweet sorghum, and switchgrass.
13 plots across West Tennessee were planted from May through June of 2009. Harvesting of these plots has taken place the end of September through the middle of October and are being sold to AgStrong in Georgia.
22 acres of sweet sorghum is growing in West TN through the 25Farmer Network. Ten acres will be harvested for seed, and the other 12 acres will be used in harvesting and crushing trials in Whiteville, TN.
The 25Farmer Network partnered with Ceres, Inc and Blade Energy Crops to grow 6 plots of switchgrass, each with two varieties, EG 1101 & EG 1102.
If you are a farmer in the Mid-South Mississippi Delta region and would like to participate please let us know.
For more information concerning the 25Farmer Network, contact:
20 South Dudley, Suite 802
Memphis, Tennessee 38103