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Cow Manure --> Electricity 519

Posted by michael
from the cow-power dept.
jmtpi writes "ABCNews has a story about a dairy farm in Minnesota that uses its cow manure to generate enough electricity to power the farm plus 80 homes and create fertilizer. There's also a more detailed story."
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Cow Manure --> Electricity

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  • Re:Hmmm burn coal? (Score:5, Informative)

    by cascino (454769) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @05:10PM (#5472676) Homepage
    If you read the article, you'll see that they're not burning the manure, they're simply expiditing the anaerobic processes of bacteria that consume it. In fact, the farmer touts "odor reduction" as a benefit of the process.
  • Re:pollution? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kris Warkentin (15136) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @05:11PM (#5472692) Homepage
    > I'm sure burning this stuff will be creating
    > lots of pollution, oh well earth has to end
    > some day

    No, this is BURNING the pollution. Methane is the pollution produced from rotting cow manure. Burning it reduces it to heat, water and carbon dioxide. Much less harmful to the environment.
  • Here it is (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2003 @05:11PM (#5472694)
    By E. M. Morrison
    Photos by Rolf Hagberg

    Princeton, Minn. -- For a time last winter, Dennis Haubenschild's dairy cows were earning him 40 cents a day from their milk and 30 cents a day from their electricity.

    Electricity from cows? That's right.

    Haubenschild Farms is the first Minnesota farm to produce "cow power." The 760-cow family farm uses anaerobic manure digestion to produce methane for electricity. The waste digester supplies enough power to run the entire farm, plus 78 average homes.

    Farm digesters are attracting widespread interest. State experts say these manure treatment systems could bring important economic and environmental benefits to Minnesota agriculture. The technology lets farmers make a valuable new ag product -- electricity -- while reducing odor and creating high-quality fertilizer.

    Manure to methane

    The dairy cows at Haubenschild Farms produce 22,000 gallons of manure a day. That manure, in turn, yields about 80,000 cubic feet of "biogas" a day -- enough to generate 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. How does it happen? It is microbe magic.

    Cow manure, together with recycled newspaper bedding, is scraped from the freestall barn three times a day, mixed to a smooth consistency, then pumped into a 350,000-gallon covered digester tank, which looks like a long white sausage.

    There, the manure is heated to about 100 degrees F, speeding the action of beneficial bacteria in the tank. As bacteria break the manure down, they give off gas -- mostly methane, which collects under the tank cover. After three weeks in the digester, the manure -- now a lot less smelly -- empties into a storage lagoon for later application to the farm's 1,000 acres of cropland.

    Juice to run the farm

    Captured methane is burned in a retrofitted natural gas engine, which drives a 150-kilowatt electrical generator. Recovered heat from the engine warms the digester and the barn floors.

    About 45 percent of the Haubenschilds' electrical output is distributed on the farm, offsetting $700 a week of electricity expense, Dennis Haubenschild says.

    The rest of the electricity is sold to a local power cooperative, East Central Energy, which markets it as renewable energy. An enthusiastic partner in the project, East Central Energy pays 7.25 cents per kilowatt hour for the Haubenschilds' excess electricity -- the full retail rate.

    Farm sales of electricity average $900 a week, Haubenschild says. When milk prices fell to all-time lows last year, his net returns from energy approached those from milk.

    Smell begone

    The Haubenschild digester, called a plug-flow, has been operating since September 1999, generating electricity with 98.6 percent reliability, Haubenschild says. But the system delivers other benefits besides electricity.

    One of the most significant is odor reduction. "Odor is an important social issue," one that often hamstrings livestock expansion, Haubenschild says. It's also an issue that touches him where he lives: "I don't like to smell manure any more than anyone else. We put in our first lagoon in 1978, right next door to our home. The smell! I thought, there has to be a better way."

    Even more important, he says, digestion creates a high-quality fertilizer, converting the nutrients in manure into a more usable form and destroying weed seeds. "That's the biggest reason to work with digesters; manure is your true renewable resource," says Haubenschild, who carries the value of stored manure on his farm balance sheet at $5 per thousand gallons.

    The University of Minnesota is conducting a three-year field study to compare the performance of digested manure with raw manure and commercial fertilizers. But Haubenschild is already sold: "It's saving our farm fertility."

    Committed over time

    Three generations earn their living from the sandy soil of Haubenschild Farms.

    In 1952, Dennis' parents, Donald and Myrtle, began farming in Isanti County, running a diversified crop and livestock operation that included ten dairy cows. Over the years, they expanded the dairy herd to 24 head, then 44, installed a freestall barn, then doubled the herd again when Dennis and his wife Marsha joined the business in 1975.

    By 1998, the family was milking 150 cows. When Dennis and Marsha's sons, Tom and Bryan, wanted to start farming, too, "that meant we had to expand," Dennis says.

    The family planned a 1,000-head dairy. Dennis, a member of the Minnesota Feedlot and Manure Management Advisory Committee, was well aware of the manure and odor problems associated with a dairy feedlot of that size. Installing a digester was a way to expand "in an environmentally sound way."

    Digesting in the basement

    Dennis, 53, has been interested in waste digesters since college. "I had a little digester in the basement. Instead of brewing wine, like other college kids, I was brewing methane. So I knew it worked."

    In fact, small anaerobic digesters have been used in China and India for decades, and more than 450 farm digesters generate fuel in Europe. In this country, dozens of manure digesters were built in the 1970s and '80s, says Jack Johnson, AURI engineering services director in Waseca. Many of those failed, he says, because of high capital costs and a low return on investment. Now, he estimates, fewer than 45 manure digesters exist on U.S. farms.

    Interest surges

    But recently there has been renewed interest in the technology. Several states are supporting farm demonstrations of dairy and swine manure digesters, Johnson says. AgSTAR, a federal waste management program, sponsored 13 digester projects around the country, including the Haubenschilds' digester.

    Larger feedlots, new environmental regulations and public outcry over manure odor and greenhouse gases are all influencing the resurgence of digesters, Johnson says. Energy deregulation, rising fuel costs, and growing demand for green power have also spurred interest. In addition, digesters are better designed and more efficient now, he says.

    The Haubenschilds have been swamped with inquiries about their system, especially as the energy crisis in California intensifies. In the past 18 months, Dennis says, several thousand people have toured the farm, "and we've had hundreds of calls and e-mails from all over the country.

    "Interest in digesters is really growing."
  • by vortmax(OU) (445229) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `repardj'> on Sunday March 09, 2003 @05:20PM (#5472725) Homepage
    Not to mention Heifer Project International [heifer.org] has been teaching folks in the Third World(tm) how to do this for years on a small scale, mostly for cooking and heating fuel. Some livestock manure, a metal barrel with a lid, some water, and a rubber hose to siphon off the gas. Cheap, and efficient!
  • Re:pollution? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2003 @05:21PM (#5472732)
    "Not the cleanest stuff ever"

    What's cleaner? Hydrogen. Solar/geothermal/wind/hydropower. That's it. It's probaby one of the cleanest energy sources out there.
  • China and India have been at the forefront of biogas power production for decades.

    In 1979, China had an estimated 7.2 million biogas plants, fueled primarily by pig manure.

    In the same year, India had 80,000 of its own biogas plants fueled by the defecation of the sacred cow. (Holy Shit!)

    They've even been doing this in the US for quite some time. Here is another article [riverdeep.net] that provides an excellent explanation of the process, costs, and capabilities of such a system.
  • Re:pollution? (Score:5, Informative)

    by s20451 (410424) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @05:26PM (#5472761) Journal
    Nope. Think of it this way:

    1. Cow eats grass.
    2. Cow produces waste.
    3. Bacteria degrades waste to methane.
    4. Digester burns methane, produces CO2.
    5. Grass absorbs CO2.
    6. Go to 1.

    Ideally, no more CO2 is produced than was in the grass anyway, so this process adds no more CO2 to the atmosphere. Furthermore, methane is very clean-burning, producing very little in the way of noxious by-products. In fact, since the grass produces energy from sunlight, you could think of this as a type of solar power!
  • Re:Hmmm burn trolls? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @05:30PM (#5472785) Homepage Journal
    Why not just burn coal?

    Because farms don't produce coal. Farms produce manure (as waste), and the manure produces methane, wich is a smelly pollutant.
    What these farmers can do is turn that smelly waste into a profitable ressource.

    coal?
    It's just as bad for the environment


    No, its much much worse for the environment to dig out buried carbon and release it into the atmosphere than to prevent the release of methane in the atmosphere.

    I don't really want to smell the fumes of burning shit, thank you!

    Yes, you should thank them, since they are saving you from having to smell those fumes by transforming the manure in a closed system and then burning the methane quite thoroughly. Methane then ends up as water vapor, CO2 and energy.
    Wich is much better smelling than raw manure.

    Now, had you read the article before trolling about coal, you'd have known all that.
  • Re:Human waste (Score:5, Informative)

    by ax_johnson (261223) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @05:33PM (#5472801)
    Well, IAARCE (I am a Registered Civil Engineer), and yes, this does work with human waste. In fact, it's probably being used at your local wastewater treatment plant now to power their pumps and such. It's as very common way to reduce -or eliminate - electricity costs at treatment plants.

    It also works at landfills. Methane is extracted from the landfill, and used to turn generators. The electricity is fed into the power grid, and the power company pays the landfill operator (usually the county) for the juice. Here in Northern California, the power company (Pacific Graft & Extortion - AKA PG&E) is legally required to purchase the power.

    -Ax
  • Re:Human waste (Score:2, Informative)

    by Omega Leader-(P12) (240225) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @05:49PM (#5472865)
    As an Environmental Engineer many WWTPs use this technology. The largest problem with it however is hard water (calcium) or silica in the effluent often deposit on the turbine blades of the generator and greatly reduce life. (A pilot scale test I know of ran for about a week then died). And they are not cheap, we are talking about $12M for a small city, it was a pilot, so full scale would probably be about the same cost.

    It never pays for the entire process, but it can help to offset costs.
  • by kfg (145172) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @05:51PM (#5472875)
    We *did* do this 20 years ago. It *is* old news.

    Sheesh. Doesn't anybody read Mother Earth News anymore? Are we so focused on what might be coming out tomorrow that we've completely forgoten what we did yesterday?

    Farmers have been doing this for over 100 years. Henry Ford promoted it as the ideal way to provide for our energy needs before WW1.

    During WWII you could buy units on trailers to pull around behind your car, pile the shit in,a nd get a few miles of driving out of the resultant outgassing.

    The only "conspiracy" here is that people no longer want to acknowledge that shit even exists and would rather go to war and die over a bit of oil than shovel a bit of their own shit.

    Napoleon considered the most valuable men in his army the people who cleaned the latrines. They didn't *bury* the shit, they collected it for use.

    Napleon's army made much of its own gunpowder while, ummmmmmmmmmm, "on the run," as it were.

    Cows aren't the only biological device which can serve as a very efficient refinery of raw materials.

    KFG
  • Re:pollution? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jeremiah Blatz (173527) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @05:56PM (#5472898) Homepage
    EllisDees writes:

    The methane is being generated no matter how you look at it. So the question is do we just let it escape into the atmosphere or do we burn it, producing energy + H2O + CO2.
    The argument for the digestors is actually a bit stringer than that. When dealing with manure, you pretty much have 3 options:
    1. Dump in in a big pile/bury it/etc.
      This results in anerobic decomposition, which produces methane. In additon to being a very effictive (bad) greenhouse gas, methane is smelly. Also, the resulting composte can have weeds and pathogens in it.
    2. "Properly" (aerobically) compost it.
      This results in carbon dioxide and high-quality compost. CO2 is a much less effective greenhouse gas than methane, so this is a pretty good choice. There was a recent /. article [slashdot.org] about this.
    3. Compost it at a high temperature in an oxygen-free environment, collect the methane, and feed it into a generator.
      This is the most complicated method, but it's pretty rockin'. You end up wth the CO2 and high quality maure, but also with a bunch of electricity. Basically, it's a short-cycle renewable loop. Grass takes energy from the sun, CO2 from the air, and nutrients from the soil, and makes more grass. Cows eat the grass and make more cow, milk, and cow poop. You sell the milk, and turn the poop into CO2, soil nutrients, and electricity. Lather, rinse, repeat. The only significant input is sunlight, the only significants outputs are milk and electricity.
  • by nomadicGeek (453231) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @06:29PM (#5473055)
    It is actually very common to burn these waste products to create electricity. I've been involved in several of these projects myself.

    One project involved modified diesel engines that burned landfill gas to make electricity. The other involved piping landfill gas to an existing power plant to burn in the boiler.

    In both cases these projects would not have been economically viable except for govt incentives, tax credits, and environmental regulations.

    While it may sound appealling to use this free energy source, it is actually pretty expensive to make it all work. The electricity produced ends up costing more in the long run than regular old power from coal or natural gas.

    The landfill gas is usually pretty nasty and it is difficult to keep things running. Everything corrodes quickly. These facilities also produce very little power, on the order of 10's of MW whereas a large coal unit is usually 500MW or more. Diverting your maintenance people to the little installation to keep it running is very inefficient. It is much better to keep them working on the large units.

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Informative)

    by /Wegge (2960) <awegge@gmail.com> on Sunday March 09, 2003 @06:35PM (#5473087) Homepage
    Not at all. A typical dairy cow consumes upwards of 200l (45 gal?) of water per day.
  • Re:Inefficient (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2@NOspaM.anthonymclin.com> on Sunday March 09, 2003 @06:51PM (#5473158) Homepage
    coming from a long line of dairymen...

    if you have a dairy, it is not called a dairy ranch, it is called a dairy farm. BTW, the "dairy" itself is only the building where the cows are actually milked, not the whole farm.
  • Re:a positive trend (Score:4, Informative)

    by dizgusted (133850) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @07:07PM (#5473237)
    use 4x75 A/C in the car (4 windows down at 75mph). Similar for the household.

    Windows down in the car is great around town for saving fuel. On the highway the increased aerodynamic drag reduces fuel consumption to a degree comparable to running the a/c compressor. If you're already hauling around the a/c, you might as well be comfortable on the highway.
  • by whazzy (620752) <whazzy&sulekha,com> on Sunday March 09, 2003 @07:53PM (#5473465)
    ...at all...More than 2 million biogas plants have been built in India so far.This was more in line with Mahatma Gandhi's vision of self sufficient communities,sustaining their needs from the local environment.

    You can learn more about it here: BioGas in India [ganesha.co.uk]

  • Re:pollution? (Score:5, Informative)

    by haedesch (247543) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @07:56PM (#5473483) Homepage
    that would probably be degrees fahrenheit, as at 100 Celcius the bacteria that help create the methane would simply die, while 100 F is near the the body temperature of a warm blooded animal (like a cow)
  • by GrimReality (634168) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @07:56PM (#5473484) Homepage Journal

    I am not sure if using farm byproducts to produce electricity is new, since I have heard of similar ones before (in documentaries).

    • There have been projects in the third world countries such as India, where many villages do not have electricity and are too far to get LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) supplied to them. They collect cow-dung or other manure in large tanks and then use the methane collected to fuel a generator or (more often for individul farms, use the methan directly for lighting lamps or stoves)
    • In the Netherlands (Holland) --or maybe it is another Scandinavian country, I saw this documentary more than 3 year ago-- they did something very similar except that it was with excess vegetable matter. And this powered a small town not just a farm (well, maybe this farm might be a really large one, in that case I disregard the comment).

    Please pardon my ignorance, if I have said something stupid above.

    Thank you.

    GrimReality
    2003-03-09 23:55:59 UTC (2003-03-09 18:55:59 EST)

  • Re:a positive trend (Score:3, Informative)

    by urbazewski (554143) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @08:06PM (#5473527) Homepage Journal
    A tremendous amount of energy goes into transporting food to your table --- try consuming locally grown produce and shopping at the farmer's market, if your town has has one.

    I agree with the poster who talked aout telecommuting --- shortening your commute to work by living closer to your workplace, telecommuting, or taking public transportation also reduces energy consumption day by day.

    More fun, less stuff!

  • Re:pollution? (Score:3, Informative)

    by DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @08:46PM (#5473662) Homepage
    Nitpick:
    I believe that methane isn't the smelly part - it's the sulphur. I don't think that methane has any noticable smell at all. That's why they have to add scents to natural gas lines. If they didn't no one would notice a gas leak.
  • Re:a positive trend (Score:2, Informative)

    by shadowbearer (554144) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @10:36PM (#5474137) Homepage Journal
    No, he's a *homesteader* and a geek. The hippie movement was mostly about living on nothing, not about self-sufficiency. There's a HUGE difference.

    Countryside magazines' (http://www.countrysidemag.com/) philosophy says it really well:

    "It's not a single idea, but many ideas and attitudes, including a reverence for nature and a preference for country life; a desire for maximum personal self-reliance and creative leisure; a concern for family nurture and community cohesion; a certain hostility toward luxury; a belief that the primary reward of work should be well-being rather than money; a certain nostalgia for the supposed simplicities of the past and an anxiety about the technological and bureaucratic complexities of the present and the future; and a taste for the plain and functional.

    COUNTRYSIDE reflects and supports the simple life, and calls its practitioners "homesteaders.""

    and note that there are many homesteaders who not only surf the internet, they use it to make a living! WISE use of technology.

    More reading, if you're serious and not trolling:

    http://www.backwoodshome.com/
    http://www.mother earthnews.com/

    and the books therein. For some starter philosophical background, I'd also recommend reading Barbara Kingsolvers' "A Small Wonder" and there's lots more books...it's a very fast growing movement. My gf and I are heading to W. South Dakota to buy land this year and start ourselves...we've been wanting to get beyond the sidewalks for nearly a decade.

    If you're trolling....well, too bad....you're missing out. ;-)

    SB
  • by zogger (617870) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @11:10PM (#5474268) Homepage Journal
    --not a lot. Our small personal rig on the RV we live in has some (3 panels currently)close to 60 watters at 2 amps a piece,run through a trace c40 charge controller to the batts. They are on a cart I modded out of one good handtruck and one junker, it allows 4 wheel stability with ease of set up and aiming, I move them by hand some times in a "bio-drive" tracker mode. the cabling was some scrounged welding like cable, works pretty well. heh. Low tech but it works and has proven useful dealing with winds and the small amount of panels. Suck down every photon I can. That runs the small stuff inside easily without having to use the gas genny. We have an additional feed via underground conduit/wire I put in from one circuit off a panel from the neighbors larger array, his is pretty nice, running almost 3 kw at over 60 amps in the middle of the day with good sunshine. That aray is a hybrid of three different types of PV panels, currently there are 31 of them, different sizes, I *think* the larger panels are 120 watts apiece IIRC. His are primarily unisolar on a large tilting array, two very small siemens put in just to fill a gap in the array because they fit and they were kicking around, then ten solarexs on separate pole mounts. Those are set for 24 VDC run to the batts and stuff, run into 3 4024 trace inverter/chargers, first running through trace c40 charge controllers. Two battery banks, one bank has 24 trojan T-105s, the other has 12 real decent rolls surrettes (dang nice batts, worth the loot if you go to get storage batts). I have onboard in my rig 4 diehard golfcart batts and two starter batts, and one loose 12v "anything" batt I keep charged to use as a mobile jump station or for use during storms, etc, when I want to drop most stuff off and run as self contained as possible, ie, single light and my ancient 12 volt only laptop. Live on the top of a big hill you learn to respect lightning, heh.

    All in all most decent, been running solar now 4 years this coming may, only regretis I wish I had started a lot sooner. I used 12 volt tech a long time camping,decades now, but always just spare batts charged off the vans alternator, adding the panels is *nice*.
    Back in the real olden daze we just swapped car batts and used things like junkyard backup lights for the cabin lights and car radios and car 8track players. You just keep 3 charged batts, one is ALWAYS charged for a backup to start your vehicle, one is in use inside the cabin (or tipi or yurt or tent or hovel whatever), the other is used in your vehicle, Just swap them out daily, rotate. That was our "alternate energy".

    Anyway, now with solar, it's slick. Quiet, smooth, works. I have a small wind genny but it isn't installed yet, I plan on building a tower the next place we move to. I don't own where we are now or it would be up already. That one is just a small aeromarine @ 300 watts, thing must only weigh like 10 lbs or something less, pretty small but still needs a tall tower to really be effective. wind and solar and backup fuel genny is a good combo for a decent hybrid system.
  • by zogger (617870) on Monday March 10, 2003 @04:12AM (#5475258) Homepage Journal
    --mine was literally as you put it, cobbled together with parts onsite, a proof of concept. I used a 55 gallon drum, a washtub, a used and stretched and discarded milking teat from the dairy, some hose, and collected the gas in bags. The batches lasted for several weeks once they had started cooking. They would easily fill up a garbage bag or two a day.

    Anyway, were it me, a few years ago a literal goldmine in huge tanks hit the market as older gas tanks had to be pulled from underground and scrapped. You can get these cheap if you look around. large steel tanks, weldable. I'd start with something like that for the slurry tank. Maybe anyway. We got one here on the estate I caretake that got skids welded to it, added some flanges and now it's the diesel tank. Only about 1/10th even with the welding that a similar size "new" fuel tank would run. That's an example of out of the box thinking, and every situation is unique. If you got a dairy I will assume you got a gutter system in the freestall barn, so there's your initial collection point. Then it really depends where it's more cost effective, use it for heating, or use it for electrical generation? You probably already got a farm sized genny, most likely a PTO model, so there ya go, adapting that will require a donkey engine of some kind, probably something like a small 4 cylinder jap truck motor be the ticket. Need reduction gearing, they got the torgue if ya gear it right and you need to hit your sweet spot on the genny RPMs. That's something you'll need to tinker with. the propane carbs will work, they are in your area I'm sure. Storable pressure I'm of two minds, I like solid stuff, but the bladder concept is sound, maybe a army surplus fuel bladder or water buffalo might work. that's your collection and dispersal container for the gas, and it should stand up to the corrosion. Smaller scale they use the float method, the drum inside a drum with water as the seal, but you'll need "more". I wouldn't try to compress it unless you can get guidance from some pro propane guys on this, I think it's too dangerous and requires too much equipment and you'll lose efficiency, that's why I like a flexible bladder.

    Commercial designs exist for various operations, and you certainly sound familiar enough with the processes to have found them. maybe find some guys who have done it, like these guys in the article, give ema call on yor nickle and some emails, see what they ran into and what they would do different now. Yes, probably expensive to start, but your alternative is? Keep doing what you are doing, slowly go broke, wait until federal price supports evaporate? You know they stopped and slowed down stockpiling. Well,maybe it'll get worse, maybe it won't, I'll admit I don't know, but tell ya, according to the TV talking heads everyone in the US should be multimillionaires by now if you believed them 4 or 5 years ago. Hmm, didn't happen, so maybe their ideas suck too. Just a thought.

    Hey, as an aside, some guys with enough total windy days have found a couple/few of the commercial sized large wind gennys are actually pretty decent. Might be something there as well, 'farm" the wind blowing by, sell into the grid or maybe direct to as local manufacturing plant, after you use what you need? that would require VC but 'energy" is sexy now, might be possible.

    It's funny but that was one of the few honest efforts that enron did, that division, their large wind turbines. GE bought them at pennies on the buck I think. google will find that info. There's even better designs out there now, a company outside cheyenne wyoming has one I've seen, forgotten the name now though.

    Anyway, keep following their lead on the TV and in the industry rags, or do something different. That's the question. That's the question for all US ag. rural america really, because "rural ethnic cleansing" is a reality. Grain exporters are even seeing it, traditionally our number one ag export, that ratio is shrinking, foreign growers can beat the prices now, just like in manufacturing.

    Cheap dollar will help a smidgen there, but hurt the rest of the economy so I don't see the FED or gov wanting that too much, not right now anyway.

    I think it's short sighted,dangerous for our national security,I think that the US needs to be a diversified economy, full manufacturing, vertically, full agriculture, mining, energy development, etc. Deal is, we are being forced into competing when there's little more to be done to be "more efficient" following the approved models. If you are following a more restrictive model than the foreign trading nations follow, but they can use the same tech and reduced labor, makes it kinda hard to do. We can watch as family farms disappear within one more generation for all practical purposes, or go for it, do something different. manufacturing is poofing daily, I mean daily you can read yet another big company, layoffs, move to china.

    Anyway, me, grew up working on farms locally but my father didn't own one, but that was it around where I lived. He drove into town and was a mainframe computer guy. Worked on them off and on into my 30's, now in my 50's I find myself back living rural, back to work on farms, they (farmers I see) are mostly older now, just a general impression,but nothing much has changed near as I can see. Locally I'm trying to push(casually, this is just fun for me really, and I would like to help people) sprouted grains as an alternative to milled feed, or at least partially. Basically I am not going to push it much longer, they read my lit, look at the batches I make for comparison,get impressed, then walk away saying "the co op" won't allow it " or "why aren't THEY doing it?" I had one guy just with a few stock critters interested, but he couldn't be bothered to follow up on it past just talk, and I sure as heck ain't gonna buy the gear and the grains and build it for him for free!

    I can't answer those questions other than some "they" people are doing these things, but mostly like a lot of things in society, money controls what happens and what people are TOLD to do. Ha! I remember my dad being the electronics guy, we had the FIRST tv in the neighborhood. he was that "they" guy who was "doing it" when it came to something new. Someone has to be the "they" guy in every area, or it just don't get done. I have seen a LOT of complaining, but the nanosecond you SUGGEST something else, you can't hardly finish your sentence and they tell you it won't work, can't be done, impossible, etc, every negative you can think of. It's an immediate reaction, like preprogrammed. Plus the "us" versus "them" deal, rural america versus the "enviros". No one can see the other guys point of view, both sides make some points, but extremism on BOTH sides has been the norm forever. the globalist goons love it, it's the classic divide and conquer routine, get people faked out who their 'enemeies" are, get them to stop looking further at that man behind the curtain. Pretty funy if it wasn't so serious. Lately the "enviros" are winning, but if you look w-a-a-a-ay to the tippy top of that "movement" above the grassroots folks who just like the "idea" level, at the true stratosphere of it, you'll see guess who?

    archerdanielmonsantoexxonbank bigco inc funding them.

    Same guys making all their money off the true wealth creation that agriculture is and farmers are. Now gee, wonder why this is happening? Long range strategic planning to eventually OWN quadzillions of square miles of prime real estate? Combos of nutso laws passed by bribed politicos and economic manipulation? Anyway, I call that a clue. I also call it mass brainwashing because it's happened. That's an OPINION, and I do NOT care who's feelings get hurt, either side of the issue.

    For what it's worth I feel the same away about manufacturing jobs, shipping them offshore only accomplished-what? Several million middle class guys with families out of work with little replacement jobs or income? Same with IT work now, you can see that starting to go buh bye. Jobs they can't ship offshore they ship in serf labor. That's a biggee for me, because I can SEE how fast a local area can change, and tell ya, it ain't looking good. The proof is in the auctions and bankruptcies and for sale signs and rising property taxes and governments locally going broke despite it, with a few local fatcats making all the cream. Same guys I see in the paper listed as the largest campaign donors to these various pol weasels. Amazing coincidence I guess you'd call it. And if THAT ain't enough nothing else I can say will offer much. Fug it. I'm buying my own land shortly,been looking for a couple months now for the best deals, something I should have done years ago but got trapped into urban living. Finally broke myself of that,girlfriend conming home telling me she couldn't fill up the tank on her car from dodging the crack heads and winos hanging around the quick store stations was about it for me, that and losing contracts steadily until I bidded myself so low I couldn't afford replacement tools anymore. Fug it. O I remember the stories my grandmas and great aunts told me about the depression, I REMEMBER them stories and they made an impression on me. they told about how all the people got tricked, then they lost their money, all that money moved upstram several levels. the goons are doing it again, it worked so good last time for them.

    Our "leaders" insist on it, it's happening. So, moved back rural, got two jobs, both of which are phasing out soon, one ended today actually, but I'll go full self employed then, and here I stay. Small, cheap, but what profits I make will be mine, and I'll have food onsite, water, fuel, and etc. Won't be forced back into the approved mega cities so we can have "wildlands corridors and heritage sites", and sure as heck not going to any of this new global deal fascist camps they are talking about. That's another subject but it ties in. These globalists are some scary insane people, but oh well.

    Small scale farming, a little of this, a little of that, I'll work on my own markets. Already talked to two of four local grocery stores, they'll take all the organic produce I can show up with in crates, no one will supply them even though they get asked for it by customers all the time. Another clue. And I WON'T botrrow money from the bank to do it. For the land, sure, got to live someplace, but for the rest, nope, I'll pay cash as you go or just not do it. I am king of the scroungers and cob jobbers, I take pride in few things but that is one of them, if I need a tool I'll make it just as fast as buying it. I just have that sort of philosphy. I detest the "system" because I think it's corrupt,our government is corrupt, the money/banking system is corrupt, the stock market is corrupt, and the fatcats at the top destroying the US middle class on purpose so they can become larger fatcats and create a two class master/serf modern technofuedalistic system is insane. Just check out their golden boy poster child nation red china. That's their little darling. Look CLOSE at the chinese model because that is what's coming here soon. They want that setup HERE and all these large corporations are going along with it, so that's clue #4.

    And rather than just complain I offer solutions and do solutions myself, at the scale I can afford. That's the best I can do.

    Hope you enjoyed the rant, and best of luck to you and if you detail whatever rig you build I'd like to see the specs. And we share something, when it gets late my fingers hurt, too. I want one of them startrek talking computers, much more nifty.
  • Electrifying Shit!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sayan (653024) on Monday March 10, 2003 @04:58AM (#5475349) Homepage
    India has one of largest populations of both people and cattle in the world. So it is not a surprise that bio-gas is being extensively used as a fuel for cooking, lighting and electricity. [teriin.org] This technology has a tremendous potential for the third world and India has been exporting [namibian.com.na] its know-how to others.

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