By JACK NISSEN
Capital News Service
LANSING — When Scott Swinton, an agriculture, food and resource economics professor at Michigan State University, asked landowners if they’d be interested in renting their land for bioenergy crops, the initial response was unexpected. “The first thing we found was that a number of people that we sent questionnaires to were hoping MSU was secretly trying to find people they could rent land from to grow bioenergy crops,” Swinton said. “I got scores of phone calls from people telling me they would love to rent their land to MSU if we were interested.”
But that wasn’t what Swinton was looking for. Instead, he was trying to study the willingness of farmers to rent land that isn’t used for crops. Turns out, farmers weren’t so interested in the prospect of renting out their land.