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Agricultural Marketing Resource Center

Alternate Energy Production

By Gary Brester, Joel Schumacher and Cole Arthun; Montana State University; 2008; gbrester@montana.edu.


Biodiesel

Case Studies
Lesson #1: Growing a Career on a Small Family Farm: Supplying biodiesel producers in Montana's Flathead Valley case study; Gary Brester, Joel Schumacher and Cole Arthun; Montana State University; 2008 - This case study considers an individual who attempted to capture profits from a renewable and environmentally friendly vegetable oil, camelina, which is used to make biodiesel. The study describes oilseed processing operations and business in some detail.

Lesson #2: Sustaining A  Home on the Range: Alternative fuel usage on the Rocking Z Ranch case study; Gary Brester, Joel Schumacher and Cole Arthun; Montana State University; 2008 - This case study describes a rancher who attempted to reduce fuel costs for his ranching operation by using biodiesel in his tractors and in an irrigation power unit.

Business Plan
Technical/Business Planning: For small-scale oilseed processing and biodiesel production; Gary Brester, Joel Schumacher and Cole Arthun; Montana State University; 2008 - This report describes the major incentives and policies implemented by the federal government and the State of Montana with respect to biodiesel production and consumption. It summarizes each program but does not provide comprehensive details about the management of each program.

Excel Spreadsheets
OIlseed Cash Flow, Gary Brester, Montana State University, 2008 - This Excel-based software program allows small-scale oilseed processors to input data related to their current or potential operation. The software generates cash flow and income statements based on the inputs provided by the user. While the software is populated with data from the case study, users are encouraged to make changes to reflect individual circumstances and changing market conditions. Instructions for the program are also included.

Biodiesel Cash Flow, Gary Brester, Montana State University, 2008 - This Excel-based software program generates cash flow and income statements based on user input for small-scale biodiesel production. The software will allow students to investigate small-scale oilseed processing and biodiesel production beyond the information provided in the two case studies. This program is populated with data from the case study, but users are encouraged to make changes to reflect individual circumstances and changing market conditions. Instructions are provided for the program.

Presentation
Small-Scale Biodiesel Production, Gary Brester, Montana State University, 2008 - After providing an overview of energy, this PowerPoint slide presentation discusses diesel fuel and biodiesel in some detail. The other four main topics are Oilseeds and Oilseed Processing, Biodiesel Production Technology, Government Involvement and the Economics of Biodiesel Production.

Lessons
Lesson Plan #1: Growing a Career on a Small Family Farm: Supplying biodiesel producers in Montana's Flathead Valley; Martin Frick, Gary Brester, Joel Schumacher and Cole Arthun; Montana State University; 2008 - In this lesson, high school students can learn about oilseed (camelia) processing through an individual who attempted to capture profits from a renewable and environmentally friendly vegetable oil sold for biodiesel.

After completion of this lesson, the students will be able to:

  • Describe the biodiesel topics of this lesson by business structure, business origin and business profile: customers, competitors and the business’ market share or niche.
  • Describe how biodiesel enterprises have overcome the challenges they faced when seeking to become a profitable enterprise.
  • Identify and describe opportunities that exist for biodiesel businesses in the future.

The plan also provides four visual masters, suggests helpful materials and references, and concludes with a set of 16 questions and answers.

Lesson Plan #2: Sustaining A “Home” on the Range: Alternative fuel usage on the Rocking Z Ranch; Martin Frick, Gary Brester, Joel Schumacher and Cole Arthun; Montana State University; 2008 - In this lesson, high school students learn about biodiesel processing from a rancher who attempted to reduce fuel costs for his ranching operation by using biodiesel in his tractors and in an irrigation power unit.

After completion of this lesson, the students will be able to:

  • Describe the biodiesel topics of this lesson by business strategy, business supply, substitution of resources and market.
  • Describe why ranchers would establish a biodiesel enterprises for their own use.
  • Identify and describe opportunities that exist for biodiesel processing on future production operations.

The plan also provides four visual masters, suggests helpful materials and references, and concludes with a set of 15 questions and answers.
 

Wind Energy

Case Study
Small Farm Profitability Case Study: Is the answer blowing in the wind?; Gary Brester, Joel Schumacher and Cole Arthun; Montana State University; 2008 - This case study presents the economic factors surrounding small-scale wind energy production from the perspective of Gordon Brittan, a professor at Montana State University. Over two decades ago, Brittan decided to test the idea that locally owned wind projects could be used to generate electricity for rural communities. The study also examines decision processes for small-scale wind energy development under current economic and regulatory policies.

Business Plan
Technical/Business Planning: Small wind energy projects; Gary Brester, Joel Schumacher and Cole Arthun; Montana State University; 2008 - This report describes the major policies, programs and incentives implemented by the U.S. Federal government, the State of Montana and Montana utility companies to support wind energy production. Some incentives are based on energy production, while others are based on investment in infrastructure and equipment.

Excel Spreadsheet
Wind Cash Flow, Gary Brester, Montana State University, 2008 - This Excel spreadsheet enables students to investigate wind energy projects in more depth than in the case study. The spreadsheet, a sample cash flow worksheet, allows the sample data to be modified and the outcome to be evaluated. Notes and instructions are provided.

Presentation
Small Farm Profitability: Is wind energy the answer, Gary Brester, Montana State University, 2008 - This PowerPoint slide presentation is geared toward landowners and investors who might be interested in pursuing wind energy production. The presentation thoroughly explains the benefits of wind power and the steps involved in developing a wind project.

Lesson
Lesson Plan #1: Is there profit blowing in the wind?; Martin Frick, Gary Brester, Joel Schumacher and Cole Arthun; Montana State University; 2008 - This lesson plan, intended for high school ag instructors, examines case studies of wind power operations and businesses. The plan lists the lesson objectives, provides three visual masters, suggests helpful materials and references, and concludes with a set of 20 questions and answers.

 

 

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