Roundtable Discussion

On-Farm Energy Production and Rural Economic Development

In times of low commodity prices, finding alternative farm income streams is more important than ever. One of the opportunities for farmers to save on input costs and diversify revenue streams is to produce their own energy.

On-farm energy production is already widespread practice for farmers in Germany. For example, Jochen Oestmann, a German hog and crop farmer, operates a biogas plant and solar panels to heat and power his farm and close-by businesses.

When farmers like Jochen talk about their ideas, policy makers listen: On-farm energy production has proven to be an excellent tool for rural economic development, job creation and environmental stewardship.

Grow your bottom line

Join this roundtable about renewable energy as a rural economic development tool and learn what this can mean for your farm’s bottom line. Discuss how agricultural organizations and policy makers can work together to help producers increase profitability while bringing more jobs to rural areas. Together with German and U.S. guest speakers we will exchange ideas on how farmers win in the new energy economy.

Date, Venue and Registration

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
11:30am – 4:00pm

Illinois Farm Bureau
IAA Boardroom 
1701 Towanda Avenue
Bloomington, IL 61701

German-style lunch will be served. This event is free to attend but we ask that you register in advance for catering purposes.

Roundtable Agenda





Lunch (German fall festival-themed)


Words of Welcome

Representative of Illinois Farm Bureau

Corinna Jess, Director, Consulting and Trade Missions, German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest

Panel 1: Rural energy production – Idea exchange on setting the right incentives


Legal Framework of the German Energy Transition
– Opportunities for Energy Farming
Harald Wedemeyer, Lawyer, Consultant for Law, Renewable Energies and Forestry, Lower-Saxony Farmers Association (Landvolk Niedersachsen – Landesbauernverband e.V.), Germany


Rural Energy for America Program
Mary Warren
, Business Programs Director, Rural Energy Coordinator, Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture


Panel Discussion and Q&A
Moderation by Mike Doherty, Senior Economist and Policy Analyst, Governmental Affairs and Commodities Division, Illinois Farm Bureau


Networking Break

Panel 2: How do farmers win in the new energy economy?


What It Takes To Be An Energy Farmer – How To Turn Crap Into Gold
Jochen Oestmann
, Energy Farmer, Chairman of the Farmers Association for the County Lüneburger Heide & Chairman of the Committee for Renewable Energies, Lower-Saxony Farmers Association (Landvolk Niedersachsen - Landesbauernverband e.V., Germany)


Renewable "Cow Power" Energy
Doug Block
, Farmer and Dairy Producer, Hunter Haven Farms


Corn, Soybeans and …..Biomass – Your Third Crop
Eric Rund
, Farmer and Owner of Green Flame Energy


Panel Discussion and Q&A
Moderation by Rae Payne, Senior Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, Governmental Affairs and Commodities Division, Illinois Farm Bureau


End of Roundtable


Corinna Jess
Director, Consulting Services & Trade Missions
Tel.: +1 (312) 665-0976
Email: jess(at)

Dr. Sabine Engel
Director of International Partnerships
Institute on the Environment
University of Minnesota

Tel.: +1 (612) 624-3939

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