Welcoming and encouraging messages were offered during the opening ceremony for the 26th annual Agricultural Machinery Conference (AMC), held this year for the first time in Waterloo, IA. The ceremony took place at Cedar Valley TechWorks, a center for bio-based technologies, research and programs located in Waterloo.
Steven Dust, president at Cedar Valley TechWorks campus as well as president and CEO for the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance spoke on the natural fit of AMC with the TechWorks. "We're in the center of biomass and we plan to use it to boost our economy," he said. Iowa has the highest concentration of agricultural product, or biomass, anywhere.
Dust also hinted at things yet-to-come in the next year from the facility. The campus has been under construction with renovations, achieving around 90% recycled materials from demolition. The goal was for the campus to be a truly green project, not only producing and researching green product, but also recycling the land and buildings. Concrete and other materials were used on local commercial roads.
The focus of the TechWorks facilities are on processes and products that befit the John Deere customer. "We focus on biomass, not bio-pharmaceuticals, for example," said one TechWorks employee. The facilities numerous buildings will house focuses on soy- and corn-based plastics, composites and fuels, along with complimentary green energy sources like wind and solar.
Following Dust was ASABE Executive Director Darrin Drollinger. "It's an absolutely great time to be in agriculture," he says. But, there are infrastructure shortcomings that need to be addressed in order for agriculture to continue to progress and meet growing demands for food and fuel.
"Problems will arise when we can no longer move product when demand is increasing. Our competitive advantage is delivering product to market faster," says Drollinger. If effort and funding are given to improve the roads, rail and river shipping, the agricultural industry will continue to evolve and develop.