Discuss the Food vs. Fuel Bioenergy Debate Friday

Daniel De La Torre UgarteThe Southeastern Sun Grant Center invites everyone to an upcoming Brown Bag Seminar with Daniel De La Torre Ugarte, associate professor in agricultural economics at UT.

De La Torre Ugarte will present a seminar titled "Biofuels, Food Security and Environmental Sustainability: Global Challenges and Opportunities," noon Friday, April 25, in 113 Plant Biotechnology Building on the agriculture campus.

Recently the expansion of biofuels production has increased the utilization of grains, oilseed byproducts and sugar. Simultaneously, prices of agricultural commodities have increased as well. Changes in land use driven by high prices are pressuring the expansion of agriculture into environmentally sensitive areas. Such expansion is leading some to question the sustainability of biofuels as a desirable source of energy.

According to Dr. De La Torre Ugarte, the increased utilization of agricultural commodities for biofuels cannot completely explain the higher prices, indicating that other structural forces in agriculture need to be included in the debate. This presentation will situate biofuels within the context of what is happening in agriculture, as well as discuss avenues to enhance the sustainability of agriculture and biofuels.

De La Torre Ugarte works as associate director of the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, and his primary areas of research concentrate on commodity and energy policy. Recently, De La Torre Ugarte has focused on the price and income impacts of increased use of various types of biomass for energy production.

The Southeastern Sun Grant Center Brown Bag Seminar Series provides a forum to discuss ideas for cooperative and collaborative research on renewable energy and products. For each one-hour seminar, students, faculty, staff and peers are encouraged to bring their lunch and to participate in the discussion.

To learn more about the series, and about other Sun Grant or Office of Bioenergy Programs projects and events, call 974-5807 or visit their Web site.