Horizon II seeks 39,000 acres in northern Missouri, southern Iowa for prairie-to-energy initiative

Prairie in northern Missouri
Share To Your Social Network

In a groundbreaking initiative near Princeton, Missouri, the first 1,000 acres of the Horizon II pilot project are being transformed into native prairie. This innovative project opens new avenues for landowners to generate income while enhancing environmental sustainability.

An additional 39,000 acres of highly erodible land across northern Missouri and southern Iowa are set to benefit from this project, which aims to create wildlife habitats, improve environmental conditions, and utilize sustainably harvested native prairie feedstock for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) production. Moreover, Horizon II encourages the cultivation of 40,000 acres of winter-hardy cereal rye cover crops, also destined for RNG production.

Empowering Owners of Marginal Farmland with Significant Incentives

Funded by an $80 million USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant to a coalition of 13 entities led by Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE), Horizon II offers substantial financial benefits to landowners with highly erodible land. The program provides:

  • Rent: $160 per acre annually.
  • Turnkey Approach: Coverage of all costs associated with prairie seed, installation, and the first two years of maintenance.
  • Renewable Energy Revenue: From the third year, $37 per ton of prairie biomass is offered, with a $1 per ton option if RAE manages the harvest and delivery.
  • Environmental Credit Compensation: Landowners can earn additional income from carbon sequestration and ecological services, receiving 75% of the proceeds.

The project utilizes dormant seeding, or frost seeding, to optimize the germination of native prairie seeds during spring, following their winter ground exposure. A locally sourced seed mix ensures the adaptation and success of the project in the target regions.

Beyond RNG production, Horizon II contributes significantly to ecological services and wildlife habitat creation, enhancing soil health, water infiltration, carbon sequestration, and reducing soil erosion.

Landowners within the Grand River Basin are encouraged to join Horizon II, contributing to sustainable agriculture’s future and positively impacting the environment. The next Horizon II RNG facility will be located at Smithfield Foods Ruckman Farm near Albany, Missouri.

An information session is scheduled for March 1, 2024, at 10:30 a.m., featuring a catered lunch at noon. Interested parties are invited to RSVP by contacting Steve Mowry, Director of Land Development and Prairie Establishment, at [email protected] or by calling 816-830-6900.

Share To Your Social Network