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Ag & Energy Expo in Staples Feb. 24

Mike Reese

The Staples campus of Central Lakes College will host the second Ag & Energy Expo from 9:30 a.m. to 3:25 p.m., Friday, Feb. 24, a free event featuring Michael Reese the Renewable Energy Director at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center at Morris.

The day-long event that includes breakfast and lunch is co-sponsored by CLC and Mid-Central Federal Savings Bank of Wadena, Staples, and Long Prairie.

Reese has participated as project manager or coordinator on several renewable energy research and demonstration projects including large scale wind energy, biomass gasification, renewable hydrogen, and other renewable energy systems.

He has spoken at regional, state, and national conferences on the topic of renewable energy. He maintains a strong focus in agriculture, rural economic and business development, and community vitality.

Julia Palmer, public relations and event coordinator for Mid-Central, said exhibitors registered for this annual event include several companies emphasizing conservation and natural resource stewardship with wind energy and solar power technological advancements and considerations for both home and commercial utilization, soil and water, and energy project funding.

"We have many exhibitors registering from many regions who will promote a variety of products and solutions," Palmer said. "Interests include wind towers and turbines, solar heat, and energy efficiency equipment, grain-drying crop demonstrations, home energy and gasification boilers and bio equipment."

Break-out sessions and a webinar will provide a large array of opportunities and will address energy crop opportunities and developments, on-farm use of straight vegetable oil, silent power projects, energy project funding, and wind energy considerations at the CLC Agriculture and Energy Center near Staples.

One afternoon program, "Assistance to Pay for Renewable Energy," will be presented by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Another is by John Ihle of Local BIG Wind, who will speak on experiences in local energy production from wind.

Break-out session presenters include Tom Schultz, David Winkelman, and Reese. Participants from Central Lakes College include Robert Schafer, Del Lecy, Bob Rick, Keith Olander, and Nathan Converse.

"We had a phenomenal response and attendance for our first Expo," said Palmer. "Last year was a huge success. We had embraced a topic that is pertinent to the well-being of our local communities with future thoughts on energy conservation and natural resource, and financial opportunities."

Palmer said those attending do not need to be a member of the bank or affiliated with the college to attend or be an exhibitor.

For information or to register, contact Palmer at 218-639-7615 or 218-640-0193 or Mid-Central Federal Savings Bank staff at 1-877-631-1414