By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
The North American Rural Futures Institute at Montana State University-Northern is looking for two people to study the benefits of alternative energy.
Montana Secretary of State Bob Brown is sponsoring a three-day tour of facilities involved with researching, producing and using biodiesel and other alternative fuels and wind energy.
NARFI is an applied-research institute begun last year to find ways to use modern technology and trends to create brighter futures for rural areas. It will sponsor two people to attend the tour.
Timlynn Babitsky, director of NARFI, said the people who go will have to present a written report to her, and she will interview them and take their picture to use in an article on NARFI's Web site.
The focus of the tour will be to explore the benefits alternative energy production can offer to national security and the economic well-being of Montana farmers and ranchers.
The program includes tours of refueling stations and maintenance facilities at Yellowstone National Park, which uses biodiesel to fuel its buses.
Another stop is at Bozeman for a presentation on oilseed research, growth and yields.
The tour also will go to the Foot Creek Wind Production Facility in southeastern Wyoming.
The program will include discussion of provisions in the 2002 Farm Bill for on-farm energy production.
The tour, which runs next Thursday through May 3, starts and ends at the state Capitol in Helena.
NARFI will pay the fee for the program, which is $100 for each person and includes transportation and housing during the tour. NARFI also will pay mileage to go to Helena, and $23 a day for meals and other expenses.
Babitsky said NARFI will provide grants from time to time for people in the area to learn more about issues that impact the future of north-central Montana. The format will be the same, she said, requiring the person to write a report and be interviewed and photographed.
For more information about the bus tour, call NARFI at 265-6354.