Assessing the Future of the Bioeconomy in Greene County, Iowa
AbstractThe bioeconomy is changing the landscape of some U.S. Corn Belt states. Not surprisingly, Iowans are experiencing significant effects from the developing ethanol industry, and many, including Greene County residents, are becoming more aware of bioeconomic trends. Knowing that positive and negative impacts arise as bioeconomic initiatives evolve in Iowa, this case study addresses the following central question: What should Greene County do to minimize the potentially negative impacts and maximize the positive prospects of the bioeconomy? The phases of the study were: (1) analyze current conditions with respect to feedstock potential and transportation; (2) determine residents’ opinions about topics related to the bioeconomy, such as environment, water resources, and livestock; and (3) assess potential impacts and make recommendations. Geographic information systems (GIS) technology was used in part to address these phases. This study represents a replicable first step for analyzing growth of the bioeconomy in a rural Midwest county.