Local News

Bio-diesel Interest Revs Up Farmers' Economic Engines

Posted February 28, 2007

— Gas prices have been rising of late, and the resulting interest in non-traditional energy is a win-win for North Carolina farmers.

It wasn't long ago that you'd never hear anyone mention bio-diesel, or any other alternative fuel, down on the farm. That's changing in a big way nationwide, and it’s changed in Wilson County at Rock Ridge Farms.

“It means less dependence on foreign oil. It's an energy source we can grow right here. It's a renewable source. It's good for the environment, good for the economy, good for farmers,” says farmer Michael Boyette.

In some cases, it means crops are bringing twice the price they did a year ago because alternative fuel manufacturers need massive amounts of corn and soybeans.

One year ago, North Carolina farmers were getting $1.80 a bushel for corn. It now goes for $4 a bushel. Soybeans last year were at $5 a bushel. This year, it’s just over $8.

Sam Brake of Grain Growers Cooperative represents 250 North Carolina grain growers. He travels the circuit, doing a demonstration of how they can turn crops to cash by helping in the production of an amber liquid that fuels vehicles and smells like vegetable bio-diesel.

A lot of North Carolina farmers are way ahead of the curve on alternative fuel use. At Rock Ridge Farms, the fertilizer truck, the sprayer and the combine all run on bio-diesel.

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  • Subdivisions Feb 28, 2007

    jasttn - How does increased demand lower prices? The same article you're commenting on points out how corn prices have more than doubled in a year, and hardly anybody used the stuff.

    And I don't see how it can be cleaner if you have to burn almost 30% more to get the same mileage. Of course there's the pesticides and fertilizer too, can't forget those.

    Personally I can't wait till people start complaining about being held hostage by Big Corn.

  • El Doggo Feb 28, 2007

    If the government would drop the tax rate some it would offset the additional cost to the consumer and maybe it would become competitive...

  • kcfoxie Feb 28, 2007

    You need to act now and stop talking about it. There are 3 B20 pumps easy to get to in RDU: 55/Sedwick in RTP, the BP on 64 by the Leith Automall in Cary, And an Exxon on Hillsborough in Durham... NO PUMPS IN RALEIGH. I do not know why. www.biodiesel.coop -- get the 411 on B99 pumps available in raleigh cary and durham with a co-op membership! Leith and Southern States VW have deals on VW Jetta and Beetle TDI Diesels -- buy now while the price is low and start using Biodiesel today. I've already saved $150 in fuel alone after 5000 miles with mine, and I can smile about the green aspect along with the fuel savings (the car has more power than one would expect too -- more than a 4cyl Ford Ranger from the factory and tunable to be as powerful as a Ford V6 or more with just software).

  • Deep thoughts Feb 28, 2007

    Good for the farmers. If bio-diesel shows up at the pump perhaps it will give the oil barons a run for their money. Wouldn't it be nice to turn the tables on them. I can remember saying I wouldn't pay $2.00 for a gallon of gas. Now I am hoping I won't have to pay $3.00...again.

  • jasttn Feb 28, 2007

    The more people we can get on board buying this stuff and using it, the lower the prices will get.

  • lwoods Feb 28, 2007

    I agree with hound and pickle. The key is not that the fuel is necessarily cheaper, but it is renewable, cleaner, and will reduce our dependency on "foreign" oil. Plus, the "extra" money spent stays in the local/US economy vs. going to some ultra rich oil sheik in the Middle East. The alternative fuels could be the answer to a more stable environemnt and economy.

  • Newshound Feb 28, 2007

    if the research was done into it as has been done on making oil more effecient then i am sure it could be made into an equivalent fuel in all areas including price.

  • mchlpickle Feb 28, 2007

    Some savings yea. If I get a chance to burn it in my car i will just to keep from buying gas from the gas company's who have held us hostage for all these years.

  • Panther Feb 28, 2007

    I have found that Bio-diesel cost 40 to 60 cents per gallon more and I get less MPG. Some savings hu?