Back in my school years, I learned that agriculture involved production of food, feed and fiber. These days of course, we’ve added production of energy to the list. And according to a recent study from the University of Montana, without significant policy change, food, feed and fiber could nearly drop off the list entirely.

The study, titled “Bioenergy Potential of the United States Constrained by Satellite Observations of Existing Productivity,” was published recently in Environmental Science & Technology, a journal of the American Chemical Society. Results of the study illustrate the need to develop alternative raw materials for biofuel production, rather than grain which is today’s primary feedstock, and to adjust our expectations.