Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sunbelt Expo is a showcase for alternative fuel sources

As funny as it sounds, growing up in south Georgia, the Sunbelt Expo was a treat to look forward to. It used to be held during school and was something that you could be excused for to particpate in. Moultrie's been the host for a long time now. And despite the stereotypes that might creep into your head about an agricultural show, the Sunbelt Expo has always been a place for farmers (and those of us interested in eating what farmers produce) a peek into the future.

As Lori Glenn of the Moultrie Observer reports, this year, by products of crops and alternative fuel sources was a hot topic:

When a peanut is crushed, 50 percent of that is oil. The remaining meal could be used for feed for calves, hogs and fish. The challenge will be to find more of a use for that byproduct, Faircloth admitted, but posed that the hulls could go to the production of ethanol or, as is the case more commonly now, to line the floor of chicken houses.

Faircloth, optimistic that the next federal farm bill would promote alternative fuel sources, sees a grassroots effort under way. One peanut sheller wants to build a streamlined roaster and crusher to make biodiesel from oil stock to fuel his truck fleet, he said.

“I think it could be as far off as five years. It can be here in two years if some key people get involved and push it. The technology is nothing new,” he said. “... It’s going to take a whole new mindset to growing peanuts. Why not grow peanuts like soybeans?”

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