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Bio-Fuels and Renewable Energy Technology Emphasis Approved by University of Minnesota Board of Regents for Crookston Campus
February 15, 2008

Contact: Paul Aakre, assistant professor in agriculture, 218-281-8104 (paakre@umn.edu), Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director of communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)


Crookston, Minn. (February 15, 2008) – Growing interest in bio-fuels and renewable energy are the focus of a new option for students majoring in agriculture at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. An emphasis in bio-fuels and renewable energy technology was approved by the University of Minnesota  Board of Regents during their February meeting.

With the trend toward alternative sources for energy and a strong industry demand, students interested in the field will be prepared for a variety of career paths including design, sales and management. Renewable energy refers to using resources that are naturally replenished; growing plants, sunlight, wind and geothermal heat, as energy sources. With the challenges facing the consumer and the global demand for energy increasing, this degree option will provide students with a unique opportunity to meet a need that exists worldwide.

“Renewable energy and bio-fuels are an important concern for today’s consumer,” said Paul Aakre, assistant professor in agriculture. “Students interested in the bio-fuels and renewable energy technology emphasis are given another great option for a career that will be increasingly in demand as we face the challenges of protecting our environment and meeting the energy needs of the future.”

Always innovative, the Crookston campus has recently been involved in an ongoing project led by Aakre examining opportunities for individual farmers or farm groups to produce their own biodiesel from crops like canola, sunflowers and soybeans. Aakre also has a student involved in a project using solar energy to pump water for 160 head of beef cattle.

Agricultural systems management (ASM) is designed for students interested in new technologies in agriculture. This additional focus will offer students a fourth emphasis area in the ASM program joining precision agriculture, farm and ranch management along with power and machinery.

For more information on agricultural systems management, contact Aakre at 218-281-8104 (paakre@umn.edu).

The University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs and 50 concentrations, including several online degrees, in agriculture; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; math, science and technology; and natural resources. Invent yourself at the University of Minnesota, Crookston – become a leader, innovate through technology and research and secure the career you want. To learn more, visit www.UMCrookston.edu.