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Needs Assessment

Preparing the Northwest for Hardwood Biofuels: The Challenges and Needs of Extension Professionals


Growers of poplar for biofuels are expected to seek information from their local Extension office. There has not yet been a significant effort to determine what technical assistance or information Extension professionals should have to assist growers in making decisions about hybrid poplar. We seek to understand Extension professionals’ perceptions of opportunities for and challenges of biofuels in their communities, as well as gauge their interest in incorporating woody biofuels into their programs.


Based on this research, we will be able to provide timely and relevant resources for Extension professionals so they can assist growers and other stakeholders with information for making decisions about poplars for biofuels.


To start, we have focused on Extension professionals who will likely assist future growers of poplar for bioenergy. We have identified and surveyed 140 Extension professionals in Washington, Oregon, Northern Idaho, and Northern California. Our questions have centered on their experience with bioenergy and their interest and perceived challenges in incorporating biofuels into their Extension program.

Graph showing what percentage of Extension professionals surveyed felt they had high, moderate, some, very little, or no experience with bioenergy.
Majority of Extension professionals indicated little to no experience with bioenergy.

Bar graph showing the percentage of Extension professionals who felt they had high, moderate, low, or weren't sure of how much interest they had in incorporating biofuels into their programs.
Less than 40% had moderate to high interest in incorporating biofuels into their Extension programs.