New Voice on the Biomass Block

Those of you who read this column on a regular basis will probably be surprised to see a new author. Biomass Magazine Editorial Director Tom Bryan thought it would be appropriate for the features editor to write a monthly column, and I agreed. So here it goes.

When I was first thinking about what to write in this space, I thought about telling you that I am relatively new to the business of biomass, but that's not exactly true. I grew up on a sheep farm in northeast North Dakota where slinging bales of straw and hay, and stepping around sheep manure was the norm. After earning a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of North Dakota, I landed a job as a clerk for Agweek Magazine. I later became a staff writer and eventually editor. In the weekly agriculture publication distributed in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and parts of Canada, we dealt with issues such as manure management and crop residue. We were always on the lookout for projects that turned agricultural residue into valuable products that could potentially create more income for our farmer-readers.

Then BBI International hired me as the features editor for Ethanol Producer Magazine, Biodiesel Magazine and Biomass Magazine. The rest, as they say, is history.

As you can see, I am familiar with biomass. What wasn't as familiar to me when this magazine was first created were some of the processes being used to add value to biomass.

After reading all of the features that have appeared in this magazine from its inception in June, however, I have learned a lot. Those of you involved in the industry should give yourselves a much-deserved pat on the back for the work you're doing, which is keeping our staff writers on their toes. From producing renewable fuel for jet engines to turning poultry litter into a power source to plasma gasification of municipal solid waste to sourcing and transporting biomass, there is no shortage of technologies and topics that need to be covered.

I wrote this column as somewhat of an introduction because I'm hoping you will feel comfortable enough to let me know what interests you about the magazine, if you think there's something we should be covering that we're not or if you have an idea for a feature. Just drop me an e-mail or give me a call at (701) 738-4962.

Rona Johnson
Features Editor