Schoharie Valley project announced to benefit manufacturing and agriculture | News
COBLESKILL - There's plenty of available farm land in Schoharie, Greene and Delaware counties.
A company called Aloterra Energy wants to use techniques it has handled successfully in the midwest to plant and process a grass that grows 15 feet high.
"Most people have never heard of miscanthus," said Matt Griswold of Aloterra Energy LLC. "Farmers are very skeptical of new crops."
Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R - Schoharie ) said "one thing we can do in New York is grow grass. We're very effective. I can't keep up with it at my house."
Aloterra will either rent land for farming or pay farmers who grow the Miscanthus, starting next year.
Initially they project 35 to 40 full time jobs at a processing facility where the giant grass can be turned into molded pulp that would replace styrofoam and other plastics, as well as construction material and energy pellets that can be burned.
If all goes according to plan, Aloterra contemplates 800 to one thousand jobs by 2020, in addition to the revenue that farmers would be making.
"New York is in need of new manufacturing," said Senator James Seward (R - Oneonta). "When you stop and think about it, New York State has lost 500,000 manufacturing jobs in the last two decades."