ARKANSAS TRIAL LAWYERS
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Miscanthus Giganteus – Biofuel Boon or Bane to Rice and Soybean Farmers

Published on Aug 11, 2011 at 4:04 am in Consumer Awareness.

There was an article in Saturday’s business section of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette regarding Miscanthus Giganteus, a biofuel grass to be planted in Paragould, Arkansas. The Arkansas State Plant Board has expressed some concerns that the grass to be grown for biofuel has many of the same characteristics of kudzu. Proponents for the biofuel grass say that this variety of Miscanthus is not invasive like kudzu. However, Steve Long, a science professor at the University of Illinois, who has studied Miscanthus for 30 years said state regulators need to be cautious of Miscanthus Giganteus because other varieties of Miscanthus can become invasive. Miscanthus Giganteus is a hybrid of Miscanthus sinensis and Miscanthus sacchariflorus, which are native to Japan and can be invasive. Long noted that regulators need to make sure the hybrid Miscanthus is planted and not the others. This forewarning regarding a hybrid species should make the ears of Arkansas rice farmers perk up as many of them are still dealing with the fallout of Bayer’s genetically altered Liberty Link rice. Here’s to hoping that the hybrid Miscanthus gets planted and that Arkansas rice and soybean farmers do not have potentially devastating situation on their hands in the years to come. Carter Stein

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