While research into the sustainability and income potential of switchgrass started in the mid-1980s, the awareness of this plant as a high-yielding, perennial source of biomass has increased over the decades.

Companies that value sustainability have focused on the plant’s resiliency as a renewable, tree-free source of material for producing ag-fiber products.

As a result, Genera is encouraging East Tennessee farmers who are looking for an innovative solution to diversify their farm income and create a steady cash flow to consider planting it in partnership with us.

Here are four reasons to plant this reliable crop:

  1. Soil erosion control. Planting switchgrass on lands susceptible to erosion or soil loss dramatically reduces soil erosion when compared to other crops. The perennial nature of switchgrass provides year-round protection of the soil surface.
  2. Encouraging wildlife habitat. Switchgrass allows farmers to plant a profitable crop in areas that may otherwise sit idle, like those buffer areas along streamside, drainages, and other sensitive areas. The crop provides food for many species of wildlife and can be a wonderful nesting place for wild birds and mammals, such as the Northern Bobwhite, turkey, and rabbit. It also provides cover for a variety of songbirds, many of which have been on the decline.
  3. Ease of growth. Switchgrass is hardy. It can grow in stubborn soil, is drought tolerant, and can produce income for farmers on land that might not otherwise do so. Once established, it is easy to grow and annually renewable.
  4. Profitability. Biotech companies like Genera are actively seeking local farmers to provide feedstock crops for their production of ag-fiber materials such as paper, towels, tissue, packaging and disposable foodservice products.

By partnering with local farmers, Genera, located in Vonore, Tenn., can offer a market for these crops and give East Tennessee farmers an opportunity to take advantage of a stable source of new income. Local sourcing also allows Genera to live up to its sustainability standards through a simplified supply chain. Drawing on local feedstocks translates into reduced cost and emissions by not having to rely on imported material.

If you’re a local farmer interested in our feedstock partnering program, contact us to explore growth opportunities.