Skip to main content

C-CHANGE Conference: Why are we missing the boat on biogas?

Oct 19, 2020 - 12:00 AM
to , -
"Why are we missing the boat on biogas?"

This inaugural C-CHANGE conference was held on October 19, 2020 and was focused on expanding the value chain for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) from mixed agricultural feedstocks.  This conference was free thanks to our supporting sponsors. The full list of sponsors and conference agenda are available at the following links.



What we learned about

The renewable natural gas (RNG) component of biogas is the best-incentivized, fastest growing product in today’s bioeconomy. A value chain based on RNG, if done right, could foster new economic development in rural America while also alleviating concerns for energy security, greenhouse-gas emissions, soil health, climate resilience, water quality, flooding, and wildlife habitat in the Midwestern U.S. and beyond.

This conference focused on expanding the value chain for RNG by bringing together experts from agriculture, energy, government, science, and society to share knowledge and embark on an ambitious plan to remove barriers impeding the growth of this value chain.

We learned about agricultural feedstocks, anaerobic digestion processes, coproduct valorization, distribution and markets, financing, policy, and societal value.

The conference was covered in a news release from Iowa State University and by Successful Farming.

Who attended?

Ag business personnel
College students and graduate students
Energy industry representatives
Farmers and farmland owners
Government officials
Representatives of agricultural, energy, and environmental NGOs

What people said about this conference?

“Developing a biogas industry centered around our agricultural resources is a key strategy of both Iowa’s Energy and Biomass Conversion Action Plans. Biogas projects simultaneously give rise to renewable energy, food production and water management accomplishments through a single investment, and this level of economic development in our state cannot be overlooked. The C-CHANGE Biogas Conference provides an opportunity to bring stakeholders together to build partnerships that can move the industry forward.”

– Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Finance Authority

“As the nation’s leader in pork production, Iowa pig farmers take their responsibility of caring for Iowa’s natural resources seriously. The Iowa Pork Producers Association has been engaged with our partners at the Iowa Economic Development Authority to explore alternative energy sources that support nutrient retention, reducing our carbon footprint, and enabling our farmers to continuously improve their sustainability commitments. We hope participants at this year’s C-CHANGE conference find value that they can take home and apply to their businesses.”

– Pat McGonegle, CEO of Iowa Pork Producers Association

“Penn State and Iowa State University scientists are collaborating with agricultural and industry partners to bring cutting edge research to bear on expanding the biogas value chain. The C-CHANGE conference will provide the first look at exciting new results, and also to help set the agenda for the next phase of innovation.”

– Tom Richard, Director of Penn State University Institutes of Energy and the Environment 

“With renewable natural gas, we can create substantial new economic opportunity for
rural America, clean our air and water, and provide habitat for our native wildlife.”

– Rudi Roeslein, Founder and CEO of Roeslein Alternative Energy

“As a lifelong Iowan, I care deeply about soil health, clean water, and economic opportunity in rural Iowa. By growing a vibrant biogas market through good policy, we can meet all three goals.”

– Bryan Sievers, Owner and Operator of Sievers Family Farms
and Founder, AgriReNew

“Meeting the food and nutrition needs of a world population of 10 billion people while maintaining and enhancing our natural resources is one of the single greatest challenges facing our global society in the 21st century. The work that C-CHANGE is spearheading – including the upcoming Conference on Agriculture, Technology and Innovation – is a shining example of the positive impacts Iowa State can make when the university brings together diverse disciplines and perspectives for a shared purpose of innovating better solutions to significant challenges.”

– Wendy Wintersteen, President, Iowa State University

About C-CHANGE Conferences

This conference was first in a series hosted by C-CHANGE, the Consortium for Cultivating Human And Naturally reGenerative Enterprises, a multisector partnership led by Iowa State University.

2020 C-CHANGE Conference Planning Team


  • Lisa Schulte Moore, Iowa State University — Conference Chair
  • Bob Riley, Riley Resources Group
  • Bryan Sievers, AgriReNew, Glenora Feed Yard, and Sievers Family Farms
  • Emily Heaton, Iowa State University
  • Rudi Roeslein, Roeslein and Associates and Roeslein Alternative Energy
  • Sean McMahon, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance
  • Shelly Peterson, Iowa Economic Development Authority
  • Tom Richard, Penn State University


  • Ali Kraber, Iowa State University, Bioeconomy Institute
  • Bob Mills, Iowa State University, Bioeconomy Institute
  • Aubrey Robertson, Iowa State University, Conference Planning and Management